Junipero Serra—the Man and his Work - A. H. Fitch

Youth and Early Manhood

There still clings to the name of California a pleasant halo of romance, although the mystery which some two hundred odd years ago lent a subtle charm to that name has long since departed, together with those dauntless Spanish spirits who sailed the seas, to plant the emblem of the church and Spain on Californian soil.

The names of Cortes, of Cabrillo, and Vizcaino, those intrepid discoverers and explorers of the Pacific by the coast of California, are familiar to all. But how many of us, beyond the boundaries of that western state, have heard the name of Fray Junipero Serra? And yet, had it not been for this Franciscan friar, the history of these United States of ours might have been strangely altered. The Russians—the ever-present bugbear of Spain and her American colonies in the Eighteenth century—might finally have swooped down from the far North and raised the standard of the Czar in Alta California. Or England, incited thereto by reports from her many sailor adventurers, might have sent forth to that land of sunshine and flowers the nucleus of a thriving English colony.

In their isolated state, it is doubtful if the people of such a colony would have dreamed of claiming independent sovereignty. The surrounding country was filled with savages, while on beyond stretched eastward for thousands of miles a continent unknown, unexplored, and full of fearful mystery. By sea, too, the Californian colonies were not much nearer the Atlantic coast, for the voyage around the Horn, which in our time can be made in sixty days, could not then be made under one hundred and fifty or two hundred days. It is safe to say that England would have been sure of her Californian possessions and so would have retained, perhaps permanently, her foothold in these states.

But a brown-frocked friar from the terraced island of Majorca has made of such possibilities idle, fruitless conjectures. It was because of his daring determination and intrepid spirit that California was not abandoned by the Spaniards. And it was owing to his ceaseless toil that later the long chain of missions was laid which carried civilization from the wilds of San Diego to the oft fog-enshrouded sand dunes of San Francisco harbor. Spain took possession of California, but it was Fray Junipero Serra who retained it for her, and the history of California offers us no more interesting picture than that of this Franciscan friar.

Francisco Palou, the faithful friend, pupil, and biographer of Fray Junipero, tells us quaintly that this "indefatigable servant in the vineyard of our Saviour began his laborious life the twenty-fourth day of November in the year 1713, at one o'clock in the morning, in the town of Petra in the Island of Majorca."

There are probably no more beautiful islands in the world than the Balearic Islands. The ancients gave to them the name of Aphrodisiades, or Islands of Love. Majorca is the largest and loveliest of them all. It was counted at one time the great market of Europe. In the eighteenth century, as far as commercial importance was concerned, the islands could be numbered among the "forgotten isles." In this fair land of the orange and the ruby muscatel, the inhabitants were industrious, extremely hospitable, and of an orthodoxy that even the rationalizing spirit of eighteenth-century Europe could not disturb.

Such was the birthplace of Fray Junipero Serra. His parents were Antonio Serra and Margarita Ferrer, pious, honest peasants of exemplary habits. They named their infant son Miguel Joseph. He was baptized the day of his birth. The child was early instructed in the Catholic faith, as soon as he began to walk his parents taking him regularly to the church and convent of San Bernadino in Petra. He gained the affections of the good fathers in the convent, who taught the boy to sing, and he served as chorister and acolyte in the parish church, to the great delight of his parents. He was small is stature and not so robust as little peasant boys are generally conceived to be; but if he was constitutionally frail, he was also constitutionally intrepid. He had an ardent temperament and possessed a strength of will and intellect which would have made him an important factor in any walk of life he might have chosen.

His purpose to become a Franciscan was formed in early childhood, just as later his purpose to become a missionary was formed in early manhood. There were, therefore, in Junipero's life no wasted years in which the mind struggled blindly in a career not suited to it till it finally threw off its yoke and found its proper sphere. In another respect he was also peculiarly noteworthy. His life can be searched in vain for a single record of sin, or frivolity, or dreary waste places. He was not converted after years spent in dissipation. His soul from childhood to the hour of his death remained ever exquisitely clean and fresh.

While yet a boy, his parents, observing his extraordinary abilities, took him to Palma to pursue his studies. He became in a short time conspicuous among his fellow students for his proficiency in learning. In the evenings when other youths were dreamily tinkling their guitars in dim flower-scented patios, or gayly roaming Palma's narrow streets to serenade dark-eyed maidens with some Majorcan lyric of love, the young peasant from Petra was absorbed in his books.

His intellectual attainments made him the pride and delight of his teachers. Yet in the midst of the distraction of studies his mind harked back continually to his longing to become a monk. One day he asked the consent of the Provincial to enter the Franciscan order. His small stature, his delicate appearance caused the church dignitary to pronounce him too young to take monastic vows. As a matter of fact he was in his seventeenth year, and the Provincial, being informed of this, withdrew his objection. Young Serra took his first vows September 14, 1730. In this year of his novitiate the principal convent in Palma gave a signal proof of the high appreciation accorded him by electing him professor of philosophy, a position in which he appears to have distinguished himself markedly.

At his ordination he took the name of Junipero. The first Junipero was one of the disciples of St. Francis, who besides being distinguished for his humility was the jolliest of the "joyous penitents." His pious capers smack of a lively sense of humor. On one occasion, when forbidden to give away his cloak, (for by so doing he would have left himself naked) he said to the next beggar, "If you tear it off my back I will not resist you," and afterward cheerfully explained to St. Francis that "a worthy person took it from me and went away with it." All are familiar with the story of how he avoided a triumphant entry into Rome, prepared for him by an enthusiastic crowd, by the simple expedient of making a fool of himself on a seesaw, until, deeply offended, his admirers turned away and left him to enter the city alone. That the serious young Majorcan professor chose to call himself after this merry Franciscan throws an interesting sidelight on his character.

While still a young man, Fray Junipero, as we must now call him, obtained a degree of S.T.D. from the famous Lullian University, with an appointment to the John Scotus chair of Philosophy. He held the appointment with distinguished success until he left Spain. His doctrinal learning brought him fame, but it was his eloquence as a preacher which dominated the people, who flocked in large crowds to hear his sermons. He had a sonorous voice and a fervent delivery. A man at once so learned, so eloquent, and so possessed of the faith of a child, could not fail to stir his listeners in every fiber of their being.

He was selected by the university to deliver the panegyric on the occasion of a festival in honor of their patron and compatriot, the eminent Dr. Raymond Lully. This famous mystic and theologian had led a wild life in his youth. It is said that he once scandalized the people by entering the church on horseback to see a lady of whom he was enamored. Years afterward he was stoned to death by Mussulmans in Africa, where he had gone to obtain converts to Christianity through his peculiar system of logic.

Fray Junipero's address on the life of this acute theologian and prolific writer was so scholarly that the learned men of Palma and the university were equally amazed and delighted, and an eminent critic pronounced the discourse "worthy of being printed in letters of gold." It was at this time, when Junipero had obtained his highest renown, that he determined to devote the remainder of his life to his fellowmen in the wilderness.

Long before the Reformation, the activity of the Catholic church in every country save Spain had almost entirely ceased. Popes and princes were more absorbed in temporal affairs than in spiritual conquests. But in the Spanish peninsula missionary ardor had never abated. Spain's proximity to the Moslems, her prolonged and constant struggle with the infidels, kept the missionary spirit alive in the hearts of her people. The great maritime discoveries of the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries added fuel to their ardor. To traverse dangerous seas, to penetrate unknown lands for the purpose of carrying Christianity to the heathen was to Spanish cavalier, and Spanish priest, one of the leading motives of their exploring expeditions.

Down to the latter end of the eighteenth century, the love of proselytizing may be said to have been one of the prominent characteristics of the Spaniard. The Franciscans were the first religious order to send missionaries to Mexico. Twelve Franciscan friars undertook the perilous task of introducing Christianity to the natives of the conquered country. In fact, from the time of the second voyage of Columbus, which several Franciscans accompanied, members of the order shared in every expedition to New Spain and established their missions. So powerful an organization did they become in Mexico, that in the eighteenth century their convents were to be found in every pueblo of importance in the country. In consequence, their influence was vast; frequently the king himself would request them to support the administration of his viceroy. By royal command the authorities in New Spain were not permitted in any way to interfere with the internal government of their order. The missionaries were wretchedly paid. The stipend allowed by the crown for carrying Christianity into remote wildernesses, for braving dangers, enduring untold hardships, was three hundred pesos  (about $150) a year to each missionary. This pittance was often grudgingly paid and sometimes not at all, according to the state of the royal exchequer.

But to poverty Junipero was as indifferent as he was resolutely blind to the allurements of ambition, fame, and power. When he determined to employ his marked abilities, his vigorous mind, to the conversion of the heathen, to give up his splendid career in Majorca for this purpose, he told no one of his resolve for he feared his plans would be frustrated. Notwithstanding that he guarded his secret jealously, a certain professor in the convent, Fray Rafael Verger, heard it rumored that one of the brotherhood was about to embark for the New World as a missionary. He repeated the rumor to his friend, Francisco Palou, and confessed that he was sorely prompted to turn missionary himself, but that the duties of his professorship made such a step impracticable. The two friends made many efforts to discover the identity of the unknown friar. Their inquiries were futile, nor were they even successful in learning whether the vague rumors which had reached them contained an element of truth. Palou's mind dwelt incessantly on the subject; it held a fascination for him. He wished to consecrate his years to missionary labor. He determined to ask counsel of Fray Junipero, his professor, whom he greatly esteemed and loved. One day when the two were alone together Palou told him his secret aspirations. As Junipero listened, his eyes overflowed with tears. They were tears of intense relief and joy. It appears that, though his own resolve had never wavered, he had not been without a great dread of future loneliness, of separation from the companions of his young manhood. He had passed long hours in prayer. He had completed two novenas to the Virgin and San Francisco Solano, in which he implored them to inspire in the heart of a friend the same ardor which burned within his own. He now felt that his prayers had been answered. He in turn unburdened himself to Palou. Before teacher and pupil separated, their plans had taken definite shape. Junipero enjoined upon the younger man the strictest secrecy. It was necessary for the friars to obtain the consent of the comisario general  of foreign missions. Junipero accordingly wrote to this functionary. In his reply the comisario  gave him small encouragement. It was difficult, he said, to arrange the matter; the two applicants were not on the mainland, moreover the complete quota of friars for the missions had already been chosen from Andalusia and would soon embark for the New World.

Though bitterly disappointed, Junipero did' not lose courage. He wrote again, asking permission to join a college on the mainland, in order to remove one of the objections mentioned by the comisario. While affairs were at this juncture, the Lenten season of 1749 was approaching, and Fray Junipero was sent to preach in the parish church of his native town, Petra. Before leaving Palma, he again cautioned Palou to guard well their secret.

Now it happened that among the friars who had volunteered and had been selected by the comisario  to go to America, were five who had never seen a larger expanse of water than the rivers flowing past their inland homes. When they gazed for the first time upon the great, turbulent ocean and heard the roar of the raging surf, they were terror stricken. Their fear overcame their zeal. They repented of their offer to Christianize benighted heathen and returned hurriedly to the safety of their homes. The comisario general  knew where he could supply the places of at least two of these timid ones, and he dispatched immediately the necessary licenses to Fray Junipero and Palou. What happened to these licenses or patentes  as they were called, is not known, but Palou intimated that they arrived safely at the monastery, then were strangely lost between the entrance door of that establishment and his cell. Whether or not the convent authorities deliberately confiscated the letters, is not known, but it is certain that they were strongly averse to losing so brilliant a member of their faculty as Fray Junipero Serra. His reputation as an acute theologian, distinguished scholar, and eloquent preacher had added in no small degree to the renown of their convent, both at home and abroad. To lose so valuable a servant in the great mission fields of the American wilderness was not to be tolerated without a struggle. It was doubtless this opposition that Junipero anticipated when he impressed upon Palou the necessity of secrecy.

Once in receipt of his patente  he well knew that his departure could not be hindered, but until then he would not be free to follow his pious inclinations if these took him from Majorca. The comisario, hearing nothing further from either Fray Junipero or Palou, and perhaps suspecting the cause, again dispatched two patentes. On this occasion he took the precaution of sending the papers by a special courier. They did not miscarry a second time, and Palou received them as he was entering the refectory. It was the last day of March. Palou lost no time. With the precious patentes  tucked carefully inside his frock, he took the road to Petra. He arrived that night. Seeking Junipero, he delivered the letter and license. His happiness, said Palou artlessly, could not have been greater had he received a mitre and been promoted to the dignity of a bishop.

It was near the end of Lent. Junipero decided to wait until after Easter before leaving Majorca. Possibly the knowledge that it was the last festival he would ever celebrate with his old parents had something to do with this decision. Palou returned to Palma to arrange for their embarkation. He seems to have had difficulty in finding a ship, but finally engaged their passage on an English packet boat soon to sail for Malaga.

Fray Junipero in the meantime preached his last sermon in the little town where he was born. He bade his friends farewell. He asked and received the blessing of his old father and mother. He did not tell them his destination. The third day after Easter he set out for Palma. When he arrived at the convent, seductive overtures were made to him by his superiors, to induce him to abandon his plans. They would make him guardian, they said, although he was young for that honor, and they would cause the appointment to be ratified at the next meeting of the prelates, which was close at hand. But neither this flattering offer nor others equally or more tempting were sufficient to induce him to give up his missionary project.

Junipero finally left the city with Palou and boarded the English packet boat, which was to carry them to Malaga. Before a fair wind the little sailing craft flew swiftly out to sea. From its deck the two friars gazed upon Majorca's lovely vine-terraced shores, which one of them at least was destined never to see again. The voyage lasted fifteen days. It proved unexpectedly exciting, though far from agreeable. Palou's account of this voyage is graphic, interesting and naive:

The captain of the vessel was a stubborn, cross-grained heretic, and so quarrelsome, that during the fifteen days of our passage to Malaga, he gave us not a moment's peace. We scarce had time to read our office because of his everlasting desire to argue and wrangle over doctrinal points. He understood no language save English and a little Portuguese, and in this latter he conducted his disputations. Holding the English translation of the Bible in his hand, he would read a text of the Holy Scriptures and proceed to interpret it according to his own whim. But our Fray Junipero was so thoroughly instructed and versed in dogmatic theology and in the Holy Scriptures, that he could in an instant point out the error and the misinterpretation and quote another text to clearly confirm this. The captain would then search in his greasy old Bible and not being able to find anything to prove his point would declare the leaf torn or that he could not find the particular verse he wanted. If another verse was quoted he would make the same excuse and although confuted and put to shame over and over again, he remained obstinately unconvinced to the last. As a result of his constant defeat he became so enraged with us, especially with my reverend brother Junipero, for it was he who had confounded him, that he frequently threatened to pitch us overboard and sail for London. Undoubtedly he would have done so but for fear of the consequences, for in one of these outbursts I told him frankly that I was not in the least afraid, for I had the security of a passport, signed by himself, and if he failed to deliver us in safety at Malaga, our king would surely demand satisfaction from the English government and he would have to pay the penalty with his head. Notwithstanding this threat, he became one night so enraged, because of a dispute which he had with our Fray Junipero about some point of doctrine, that he clapped a dagger to his throat with the evident intention of killing him, and if he did not do so, it was only because our Lord had reserved His servant for a more protracted martyrdom, and for the conversion of so many souls, as we shall see hereafter. [Palou, Vida, pp. 11-12]

In these controversies Junipero had the advantage of a temper perfectly controlled, and of an extraordinary memory. With imperturbable calm he could quote text after text from the Scriptures, while the irascible English "heretic" was rummaging in his Bible for a verse he couldn't find. That the friar had some twinges regarding his share in these fiery encounters is probable, for after the captain's last fit of anger, and when he had shut himself in his cabin for a cooling lapse of hours, Junipero said to Palou,

It consoles me that I have never started these disputes—for I consider them time lost—but it seemed to me that I had to reply to him for the credit of our Catholic religion. [Palou, Vida, pp. 12]

There were no further controversies; the captain's wrath abated, and a few days later they reached Malaga in safety. After a short stay in the convent of San Francisco the friars went to Cadiz. Here the comisario  received them with great friendliness. He expressed regret that there were hot more applicants to replace the five friars whose fear of the great, unknown ocean had so over-powered their missionary zeal as to cause them to withdraw at the last moment. Fray Junipero whereupon told him he was confident that among the brotherhood in Majorca were several who would gladly join the expedition. At the request of the comisario  he wrote to his friends, Fray Rafael Verger, Fray Guillermo Vicens, and Fray Juan Crespi, the last a school-friend of Palou's. The names of two of these friars figure prominently in the annals of New Spain. Crespi became the well known keeper of diaries of early Alta California days as Palou was her first historian, while Verger became the "Father Guardian "of San Fernando College in Mexico, a position which Palou, later, also occupied. Junipero therefore sailed for the New World accompanied by three friends whose sympathy, confidence, and hearty co-operation probably helped to make his Californian career so singularly successful. The expedition left in two detachments. The first carried among twenty other priests, Junipero, and Francisca Palou.

Their voyage to Vera Cruz lasted ninety-nine days. Before they made their first port, which was Porto Rico, they had to endure much suffering because of the scarcity of food and water. For two weeks, a scant supply of water was doled out once in twenty-four hours to every man on board. There was a great deal of murmuring, both among the priests and the laymen. Fray Junipero alone was never heard to complain. His companions inquired one day whether he, too, did not suffer from thirst. "My thirst causes me no trouble," he replied serenely.

When pressed for an explanation he said, "I have found a remedy for this thirst, it is to eat very little and to talk less—it does not waste the saliva."

We can imagine a sly twinkle in his kindly eye, as he gave this reply. The ship left Porto Rico on the second of November and a month later sighted Vera Cruz, but a furious norther came up and drove it towards Campeche.

The tempest lasted two days. On the night of the second day, the fourth of December, the friars gave themselves up for lost, and waited the end. Their situation was indeed perilous. The crew had mutinied; the ship was leaking; the pumps were inadequate; the winds and the waves thundered ceaselessly around and above them.

The tempest was at its height when the morning of the third day broke. It was a saint's day, "the martyred Santa Barbara." The little band of missionaries, Dominicans and Franciscans, gathered in the cabin. They were to cast their votes and determine which saint they should appeal to in this hour of peril. They were not long in deciding. With one accord they shouted, "Viva Santa Barbara!" It is recorded by Palou that simultaneously with the shout, the storm abated, the wind became gentle and benign and blew the ship without further mishap into the harbor of Vera Cruz, where they arrived on the sixth of December.

Mexico City and Sierra Gorda

The port of Vera Cruz was the key to New Spain. It was guarded by the fortress island, San Juan de Ulua, one mile distant from the mainland. San Juan was at this period of history the strongest fort in the New World. It had become so through dire necessity. Little more than half a century had elapsed since the famous attack on Vera Cruz by eight hundred buccaneers, led by the handsome, fair-haired devil, Lorencillo. His name was still remembered with terror in the town. Strangers were told the tale of his landing at dead of night and driving from their homes six thousand panic-stricken inhabitants, imprisoning them for three days in the churches, where the least of their sufferings was being deprived of food, water, and sufficient air, while the pirates plundered the city.

With a record like this to Lorencillo's credit, it is interesting to read the eulogy left him by one of his admiring fraternity: "his only fault was his impatience and a habit of swearing a little too frequently!"

Since the sacking of the city, San Juan de Ulua protected itself more formidably with one hundred twenty mounted guns and three mortars. Vera Cruz itself was also strongly fortified. Its walls were built of hewn stone and were six feet high, surmounted by strong double stockades. Thus safe-guarded Vera Cruz continued to thrive, though it was the most unhealthful city in New Spain. Water was scant and poor in quality. The practice of burying the dead in church vaults caused a periodical pestilence to ravage the city, while the exhalations from stagnant swamps in the neighborhood produced a malaria called by the inhabitants vomito. In the winter it was visited by a violent northwest wind, which, though it often blew the sand in such clouds as to render breathing difficult, was yet of immense sanitary benefit to the city. When the ship that carried our voyagers lowered her sails under the shadow of the great stone walls of the island fort, and was securely fastened by cable ropes attached to bolts and rings in the masonry, the passengers were transferred in small boats to the mainland.

The missionaries were hospitably received in the convents of their respective orders. Their first act on arriving was to hold a solemn fiesta  in honor of Santa Barbara, after which they sought the seclusion of the convents for a few days of much needed rest.

But not Junipero. He preached the sermon at the fiesta—amazing everyone, Palou declared, by his eloquence—and then prepared to push on to the City of Mexico without delay.

It was customary to send missionaries forward to their various destinations in some kind of vehicle or on horseback, and with the necessary commodities for the journey. Of this custom Junipero chose not to avail himself. He begged permission to travel on foot and to start immediately. He was quite able, he said, to walk the hundred leagues which lay between Vera Cruz and the capital of New Spain. There was small chance that such a request would meet with a refusal; to grant it was to save money furnished from the King's exchequer and money from that source was by no means easy to procure. Moreover the years of 1749-50 had not been prosperous ones to the inhabitants of New Spain. Unusually heavy frosts had destroyed the crops, resulting in a famine which spread throughout the country. In some of the provinces the famine had been followed by an epidemic. Nor was this all. There had been earthquakes, destructive ones, and many lives had been lost and entire towns destroyed. The religious orders in New Spain must have felt severely the effects of these calamities in the depleted state of their treasuries. When therefore Junipero expressed not only a willingness, but a desire, to travel as did St. Francis of old, without carriage, horse, or provisions, his convent in Vera Cruz made no attempt to dissuade him. He was accompanied by a friar from the province of Andalusia. Palou did not go with his friend. He was probably already feeling that insurmountable lassitude which later developed into the malignant fever of the country, and brought him close to death's door.

The two friars started forth on their journey, their sole provisions their breviary and an unlimited faith in Divine Providence. Could St. Francis himself have done better than this? In the populous European countries it required small courage for a traveling friar to depend for his sustenance on the mensa domini, or table of the Lord, as St. Francis loved to call the bread of charity. But in this New World it was an entirely different affair. The country was sparsely settled, the pueblos were long distances apart and chance travelers few. But these difficulties were as nothing to Fray Junipero's vehement will and courage. He went on his way joyfully. The roads were rough, the weather at times bitterly cold or intensely hot. Without proper preparations to meet these climatic variations, without sufficient food, and quite as often without water to quench their thirst, the friars plodded doggedly on.

They endured great fatigue and suffered many hardships. Junipero's confidence and courage sustained the drooping spirits of his companion. All through his career this is a phase of Junipero's character which stands out most prominently. Modest in his scholarly attainments, humble almost to excess in his estimate of his character, he yet possessed in an extraordinary degree a confidence, nay, an iron belief, in his ability to accomplish successfully whatever task he undertook. Without this belief, no man, it matters not what his inborn capacities or opportunities, will attain success; while with this belief, even though he be but indifferently gifted by nature, he will rarely fail in accomplishing what he has set out to do. In Junipero this confidence took the form most natural to a man of his character, training, and fanatical religious convictions. He believed in the special intercession of Divine Providence in his behalf.

On his journey to the City of Mexico he was three times in imminent danger of perishing from excessive fatigue, starvation, and the inclemency of the weather, and was three times relieved by the charitable acts of a stranger whom he unhesitatingly believed to be St. Joseph descended from heaven to succor him and his companion. Some years later St. Joseph returned with all the members of the Holy Family, for the express purpose of procuring the weary friar a good night's lodging!

Before he reached the City of Mexico Junipero's strength failed him completely. His legs became swollen from fatigue and sore from innumerable mosquito bites. It was with the utmost difficulty that he continued his wearisome limping over rough roads, under the blazing sun of low lying valleys, in the chill of steep and sometimes perilous heights. One morning after a heavy, unrefreshing sleep, he awakened to find he could not continue his journey. His foot and ankle had become grievously inflamed and ulcerated. He chafed under the enforced delay when almost in sight of his destination, but gave himself one day of rest, then set out again upon his road. During the remainder of his life Junipero was never free from wounds on his foot and leg brought on by the hardships of this journey.

It was New Year's morning, 1750, when he limped wearily into the City of Mexico, just eight months and a half from the day he left Majorca.

The capital of New Spain was at this time the largest and finest city on the American continent. It was encircled by a navigable canal which answered the twofold purpose of a drain and a military defense. The buildings were handsome, the architecture peculiarly refined. A certain kind of porphyry was employed in the structure which imparted an air of solidity and splendor to the city. The palace of the viceroy approached in size the royal edifices in Madrid, while within the palace, more often than not, prevailed a magnificence that would not have discredited a European monarch. Attached to the palace gardens was a botanical garden famous for the variety and rarity of its plants.

The residence of the archbishop was a stately pile of which an old chronicler said, "It expressed the Luster and the Quality of him that inhabits the same." The paseos, or public promenades, were the pride and delight of the people. In no part of Spain could their equal in beauty be found. Among the most famous was the paseo  of Atzcapotzaleo.

It stretched along the banks of the canal, the high road for the fruit, flower, and vegetable venders of the city. Little canoes filled with brilliant colored flowers, with luscious fruits embedded in bowers of green leaves and blossoms, floated daily down the canal and gave the scene the effect of a perpetual water carnival. In the afternoon, when the capital awoke from its siesta and went abroad the paseos  were at their brightest. A carnival of gaiety reigned. Hundreds of coaches, springless, but richly decorated, drawn by two or four horses and attended by servants in gorgeous livery, passed one another in stately procession. Here all the fashion and beauty could be seen. Dark-eyed senoras and senoritas, clad in evening gowns glittering with jewels, leaned in graceful indolence against the cushioned seats of their coaches, or sat erect, vivacious, ever ready to be amused, to gossip, to laugh at everything, at nothing, to coquette. Magnificently attired cavaliers on prancing steeds, their "saddles embossed in massive gold or silver and fringed with dangling pieces of precious metal, which jingle at every step," threw bold, admiring glances into the passing coaches, or with silver spur and dainty inlaid whip, made opportunity to display their fine horsemanship. It was the joy of a fete, a fete recurring daily, always the same, yet never palling on those limpid-eyed, luxurious women, with slender hands and little feet, and on those gaily enamored cavaliers.

Even in the preceding century the capital of New Spain was known in Europe for its habits of gaiety and luxury. The accounts of its wealth and extravagance were scarcely exaggerated and applied with equal truth to the days when Fray Junipero came to Mexico.

At present Mexico is thought to be one of the richest Cities of the World, abounding (if reports be true), in all kinds of voluptuous gallantry and bravery, even to excess. It is supposed to contain about 6 or 7 miles in compass and to consist of above one hundred thousand Houses or Families, whereof not the loth part are Spaniards, but those that are, all Gentlemen, at least as to their garb and manner of living, for they live most splendidly in all respects both for Diet and Apparel. It is no extraordinary matter to see an Hat-band or Role all of Diamonds, in some ordinary Gentleman's Hat, and of Pearl among the common Citizens and Tradesmen. The Coaches (which most Gentlemen keep) almost all covered with Gold & Silver; richly beset with Precious Stones and within lined with Cloth of Gold, or the best China Silk that can be gotten, of which Coaches, in time of year, at the Alameda, as they call it, which is, as it were, The Hide-Park of Mexico, and a place made of purpose for recreation and delight, a Man shall observe not seldom, above a thousand or two thousand Coaches full of Ladies and Gallants coming thither only to take the Air, and their Pleasure, both the one end and the other attended with a numerous Train of Servants and Mulatoes of both sexes. [America, from the Royal Copy of Charles II.]

The capital presented the two extremes of society somewhat markedly, in fact, it bristled with sharp contrasts. There were lazy, improvident natives who, when not begging or lounging around shops, where pulque was sold, were lying in the pleasant warmth of the sun, their only, garment a square blanket scarcely sufficient to cover their nakedness. There were also the indigent sick, lured often from long distances to the capital, in quest of aid from the many hospitals, which the liberality of the rich supported. And there were the half-naked hucksters swarming around wretched booths of cane and rushes, shouting out their wares or exchanging jocose greetings with one another. All these served as a striking contrast to the luxurious display of the upper classes.

We do not know what effect the splendor of this New World capital had on Fray Junipero, but it seems improbable that he was not impressed with the number and grandeur of the churches in the city. The great cathedral occupying the same site where some two hundred fifty odd years before stood the sinister temple of the Aztec war god, was then, as now, the most magnificent structure in Mexico. Here was placed the wonderful image of "Our Lady of the Assumption," wrought of gold and supported by four golden angels, and the image of "Our Lady of Conception," made of pure silver which had been presented to the cathedral by the rich silversmiths of Mexico. Junipero had at an early hour that morning said his prayers in the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He may have lingered afterwards to gaze about in the vaulted twilight of the interior; for this was the church the haughty viceroy Montanez, had been so zealous to complete that he had, himself, solicited alms in the streets of the capital—a spectacle rendered particularly edifying from his lordship's regal habit of driving in a carriage drawn by six magnificent horses. Had it been the hour of mass, Fray Junipero might have seen well-fed, or over-fed women leisurely sipping chocolate, for even in church they would not abstain from indulging themselves in their favorite beverage. A certain bold bishop in Chiapas, it is said, attempted to stop this singular custom. He was poisoned for his pains. This is the origin of the saying, "Beware of Chiapas chocolate."

When Junipero reached the college of San Fernando, all the friars were at prayers in the church. He appears to have been struck with the fervor of their devotions, for he afterward exclaimed to his companion, the monk from Andalusia, "To become a member of such a pious community is alone worth all the pain and fatigue I have suffered."

The guardian of the college received Fray Junipero with marked distinction. The monks were eager to show their regard for one whose reputation for piety, scholarship, and eloquence had already preceded his arrival in their midst. One of the older monks exclaimed as he embraced him, "Oh, for a forest of Juniperos!"

"Not of my kind, reverend brother," returned Junipero; "rather beg for a forest of a very different variety."

This humility was not a cloak to cover deep seated pride, for neither guile nor hypocrisy lodged under Fray Junipero's cowl. The mental attitude of those who have penetrated farthest into the kingdom of knowledge is invariably one of deep humility at the littleness of their advance into the vast realm lying unexplored before them, and the moral attitude of those whose ideals are the noblest, whose spiritual aims are the highest, is one of profound humility of heart that they are so far from attaining the gospel perfection for which they strive.

Fray Junipero was at this time about thirty-seven years old. In stature he was of medium height; his features were small and delicate; his figure slender; it did not suggest great muscular strength, nor that extraordinary power of endurance which distinguished him in his missionary career. He was very diffident when in the company of strangers. His manners were simple and uniformly kind, his bearing humble; yet there was an air of resolution about him which inspired confidence. He was always serious, so much so, that he appeared stern, even gloomy. But when he spoke his expression became gentle, sweet, and so attractive that all hearts warmed towards him. Such a character was calculated to gain the trust and devotion of his brethren in the distant missions where he later labored.

Junipero spent five months in the college of San Fernando. They were quiet, restful months, occupied with the performance of his religious duties. Yet he was not altogether happy. He had taken the long journey to Mexico to labor among the Indians, not to remain in safe tranquility in the luxurious capital of New Spain. One holiday evening when the friars were strolling in the pleasant paths of the monastery orchard, accompanied by the Father Guardian, the latter let it be known that he was seeking missionaries for the remote and craggy regions of the Sierra Gordas. Instantly Junipero turned to him.

Ecce ego, mitte me, he exclaimed with ardor.

Inspired by his enthusiasm, many others offered their services. It was soon apparent that the Sierra Gorda missions would no longer lack for ministers, as had hitherto been the case. The aw did note require a friar to serve as missionary against his will, and the Sierra Gordas had never been a favorite mission field. The Pames Indians in this mountainous region had been difficult to conquer. They were a bold, belligerent people, long a terror to the colonists in that part of the country. They made marauding raids into the very streets of the Spanish settlements; they burnt the churches and destroyed the missions. The long-continued efforts of the militia to subdue these savages were only in part successful. Finally Jose de Escandon, an officer in the Queretaro militia, was commissioned with the difficult task of pacification. A man of great nobility and integrity of character, Escandon was also a man of wealth and maintained his troops at his own expense. He was a strict disciplinarian and never permitted excesses. He appears to have accomplished the subjugation of the Sierra Gorda Indians successfully and in so humane a spirit that the vanquished savages gave him their confidence and friendship. After this wild region was brought, at last, under Spanish control, one would naturally suppose that missionary labors would make favorable progress. But this was far from true. The climate of the Sierra Gorda was humid and unhealthful. Devices to preserve health were unknown or not practicable. After short services the missionaries sickened and were obliged to retire to the hospital of their college in Queretaro. It became customary later to recall the missionaries every six months and send others in their places.

This method was not successful, for the friars, because of their short stay among the Indians, had no time to learn the native language, which was a great hindrance to spiritual conquest. In temporal matters they were equally unsuccessful. The missions, far from being self-supporting were unable to furnish maintenance sufficient even for the missionaries. It was necessary to forward provision regularly to keep the neophytes from deserting. This was particularly true of the missions Santiago de Xalpan, Purisima Concepcion, and two or three others.

Such was the condition of affairs there when Junipero offered his services. Palou had arrived in the capital, recuperated from the fever that had so nearly cost him his life. He volunteered with his friend to labor among the Pames Indians. Accordingly, the two set out one morning in early June from San Fernando College for the mission of Santiago de Xalpan, situated in a remote spot among the crags of the Sierra Gordas. They made the journey on foot, although Junipero was suffering from the condition of his foot and ankle, and although saddle mules had been provided for them. The rule prohibiting riding had long been obsolete in the order, while even in the early days of the Friars Minor, the brethren were permitted to ride on occasions of manifest necessity or under stress of infirmity. But Junipero outdid the "penitents "themselves who gathered around St. Francis at Portiuncola, in the severity of his deprivations. He had a fanatical contempt for his body, which was more than medieval, and which later in his career had, we suspect, something to do with the antagonism he encountered among the military officials in California.

On the 16th of June the friars arrived at Santiago 'de Xalpan, and were received, said Palou, with gratifying rejoicings by the neophytes. Junipero promptly set to work to learn the language of the Pames Indians. Having accomplished this, he translated into Pames

the prayers and doctrines of the Catholic church. He acquired the Indian tongue only after great perseverance and hard work. He did not possess the faculty of learning easily strange languages. In later years his linguistic troubles increased, and he spent many hours in the effort to overcome them.

He was indefatigable in temporal affairs as in spiritual matters; he appears to have managed the former so well that, under his administration, the mission became not only self-supporting but extremely prosperous. He possessed an executive ability of high order, was full of resource, of prudence, of acumen. The value of his services were soon recognized, and the Guardian of San Fernando offered him the presidency of the Sierra Gorda missions. Junipero, who all during his long life remained perfectly indifferent to worldly honors, declined the appointment. A year and a half later, the Guardian again sent him a Patente de las Missiones  and on this occasion insisted so strongly upon an acceptance that Junipero could not refuse. He retained the position, however, for three years only, then resigned.

"If this office is an honor," he said, "then let the others share in the honor also—likewise if it is a burden," he added with that touch of dry humor which he occasionally displayed.

His life in the Sierra Gordas covered a period of nine arduous years of unremitting labor. His abilities finally caused him to be recalled by the Guardian of San Fernando College, to Mexico, in order to take charge of some missions of the Rio Saba in Texas, among the warlike Apache nation. He obeyed with alacrity, although knowing the fate which had overtaken the last president of the missions. The acceptance of a charge of this nature remained always voluntary even after the appointment was made by the Guardian. But Fray Junipero was not the man to shrink from such a trust. He hastened to Mexico to receive his instructions. Before he arrived however, the Government had decided to send out a punitive expedition, and instead of going to Texas, Junipero was retained in the college. He remained there seven years, preaching in the capital, holding missions in the surrounding bishoprics, and performing the duties of his office of comisario  of the Inquisition, to which he was appointed in 1752. Of his connection with the Inquisition little is known besides the bare fact itself. It is probable that his duties of comisario  were not of great importance. The privileges of the Inquisition had been so curtailed by the reigning monarch, Carlos III, that it not only was no longer the dreaded power of former days, but, like a mortally wounded giant, was gasping for life.

It was during this period that we first hear of Fray Junipero as a sensational preacher. His sermons were now fervent exhortations to repentance. He scourged himself in the pulpit on his bared shoulders with an iron chain. He besought his auditors to examine into their own consciences and repent their sins. Every cut of the chain on his quivering flesh was a cry to repent. The emotional power of the masses is always great. Junipero's auditors were thrilled to the depths of their hearts; they sobbed and cried aloud. One day a man among them, unable longer to endure the sight of the cruel whipping Fray Junipero was giving himself, rushed to the pulpit, seized the chain from the friar's hand, and taking his stand in the chancel, stripped himself to the waist and, while unmercifully applying the chain to his own shoulders, exclaimed, "I am the ungrateful sinner, who should do penance for my many sins, and not the padre who is a saint."

So great was the force of the blows he dealt himself that he fell exhausted. He lived only long enough to receive the sacrament, and then expired. Among other methods of self-chastisement that Junipero employed was beating his bared breast with a stone, while holding aloft in his left hand a crucifix. This was called "the act of contrition." The severity of the blows he dealt himself caused many to fear he would fall dead in the pulpit. Often when he spoke of purgatory and the pains of hell, he would light a large taper having four wicks and place the burning wax next to his skin, holding it there until the smell of the scorched flesh reached his terror stricken audience.

It was not only in public that Junipero chastised himself. In the still hours of night, he often slipped from his cell and sought a remote corner in the choir gallery where he scourged himself with his chain. Sometimes the sound of the blows penetrated to the cells of the slumbering monks and awakened them. The most curious of their number then would creep to the gallery to discover the penitent, and, recognizing Junipero, would steal softly back again, filled with wonder. Not satisfied with these self-inflicted chastisements, Junipero habitually wore under his friar's frock a rough haircloth tunic, upon which were fastened small pieces of copper.

This scourging, chain-lashing, and self-torturing to which he resorted, partly to impress his hearers, partly to crush what he calls the "beast" in his own frail body, is repulsive to contemplate, and seems to smack more of the thirteenth century than the eighteenth.

It is a relief to turn from these harsh pictures to the charming one Palou gives us of the vigils Junipero kept, even in his sleep.

In leisure hours when he rested and slept his heart seemed to remain awake to glorify God and to pray, for frequently when we slept together in camp or hut I would be awakened by hearing him repeat the sweet words: Gloria Patri Filio Spiritui Sancto, and I would ask, Padre, tiene alguna novedad? (Father, is anything the matter?) and receiving no reply, I knew well that he slept. [Palou, Vida, p. 313]

His intercourse with the outside world was strictly confined to his duties as priest and missionary. During his long residence in the capital, he. ' was never known to make a social visit. This was not because worldly life was irksome to him, for he was totally unfamiliar with it, but because he moved and dwelt on a different plane from most men. His religion was alive, a glowing spark burning in the depths of his soul; it was his one great passion in life. A certain sweetness in his character, combined with his integrity, secured him the stanch friendship of many men. But women never saw the warmer, more gracious side of his character. In his intercourse with them he remained habitually unsmiling, even stern, restricting his conversation to recounting edifying incidents in the lives of saints, which were intended to inculcate lessons of sobriety, a trait the worthy friar seems to have considered absent from the average feminine bosom.

His habits were well known in the capital. When those who sought him failed to find him behind the monastery walls, they knew without making inquiry that he had left the city to preach in the bishoprics.

His journeys were not always easy or devoid of an element of danger, as when, on his way to Oaxaca, he and his companions traveled eight days in a canoe on the River Miges. They dared not venture on shore to stretch their cramped limbs or to escape the terrible heat of the sun in the shade of dense and perfumed forests, because of the "lions and tigers," (probably the puma and jaguar) which could be seen lurking near the banks. These trials were accentuated by the bites of venomous insects to which they were exposed. When they reached the first inhabited portion of that wild region, they were in a state bordering on complete exhaustion.

Many stories are told of Junipero in the various provinces where he held his missions. These stories are interesting in so far as they serve to throw additional light on the character of a man destined to occupy the most prominent place in California history.

On one occasion he had a narrow escape from death while in church. The communion wine had in some inexplicable manner been poisoned and Junipero became violently ill. He was carried to the sacristy, placed on a couch, and his vestments hurriedly removed. All who saw him believed he would die. When his condition became known, a certain caballero  of the parish hastily brought an antidote. Junipero, turning his head aside, resolutely refused to swallow the antidote. Later, when' he recovered, he explained apologetically to the well-intentioned caballero  the reason of his refusal:

In truth, senor brother, it was not because I doubted the efficacy of your medicine, nor because it was nauseous, for under other circumstances I would have swallowed it; but because I had just taken holy communion; and how could you desire that after such divine food I could take a drink so vile? I knew immediately of what it was composed, because you brought it in a crystal goblet. [Palou, Vida, pp. 50-51.]

While these missions were in progress there occurred one of those events which mark a strange epoch in the history of the Roman Catholic church, namely, the total temporary extinction of the most powerful, most influential of its organizations. As this extraordinary event had a direct bearing on Fray Junipero's future career, it will not be out of place to devote a little attention to it.

The Expulsion of the Jesuits

In the middle of the eighteenth century the famous Society of Jesus comprised about twenty thousand members. They could be found in all parts of the world. There was not a country, no matter how remote, or difficult of access, where the silent-footed Jesuit was not busily at work. The society possessed immense wealth; it controlled to a large extent the education of youths in many countries; among its members were the confessors of kings and princes; it exerted a powerful political influence in the civil administration of Catholic countries. The Jesuits were, in fact, at the height of their power and their fame when their downfall was decreed. The causes that brought this about were many and varied, but among them may be mentioned the accusation that the Jesuits converted their missionary stations into commercial centers and conducted bold speculations, more lucrative to their order than to their country. They were also accused of avoiding the payment of tithes by false representations of the conditions of their missions—a fact which the Franciscan friars first brought to the attention of Spanish royalty. The storm was long in brewing.

In France Madame de Pompadour assisted materially to expedite their downfall. She was their bitter enemy, a fact which, it has been observed, was perhaps more creditable to them than otherwise. Her hatred of them was no doubt due to the firmness with which the Jesuit confessor of Louis XV. refused the king absolution unless the Pompadour were dismissed from court. Nor did the society find so stanch an ally in Marie Therese as it might well have expected, for she had been educated by Jesuits and was one of their ardent admirers. Yet we find the Austrian empress writing to the youthful Marie Antoinette, her daughter, this cautious advice:

There is one thing more I would mention and this concerns the Jesuits. Do not engage in conversation either for or against them. You may quote me as saying that I did not wish you to speak of them either favorably or unfavorably; that you know and esteem them, that they have done much good in my countries that I should be sorry to lose them but if the court of Rome thinks it right to abolish this order I should make no objection. [Correspondence Secrete entre Marie Therese et le Cte De Mercy-Argenteau. Vol. I, pp. 5-6.]

As a matter of fact, the sagacity of the queen could not but recognize the menace to the states in the Jesuits' thirst for power, and in the manifold strifes and disturbances of which they were the cause.

But strangely enough, it was in the Spanish Peninsula, where their dominion seemed too firmly established ever to be uprooted, that the most powerful blow was dealt the order. Carlos III. of Spain issued a mandate for the expulsion from his dominions in Europe, Asia, and America, of all the members of the Society of Jesus. It was further decreed that any Jesuit who should, without the king's express leave, return to Spanish dominions under any pretext whatever, even that of having resigned from the society and being absolved from the vows, would be treated as a proscript, incurring, if a layman, the penalty of death, and, if a priest, that of confinement at the option of the ordinaries.

It was in the summer of 1767 that the Jesuits in New Spain learned of the calamity that had overtaken their order. They numbered in the provinces 678 members, of whom over half were natives of America, who had never been beyond the confines of their country. To be suddenly driven into exile, and without adequate means of support, to be deserted in this extremity by the Pope himself, who, fearing the burden of maintaining so many poverty stricken priests, forbade them to seek shelter in his dominions, was, indeed, a bitter hardship.

The carrying out of the king's mandate in the provinces of New Spain fell to the lot of the Marquis de Croix, who had been appointed viceroy the previous year. He was reputed an upright, able man, with a pronounced liking for the delicacies of the table and good wine, of which latter there was a remarkably fine supply in the viceregal cellar. That he was bold and swift of resource in emergencies, the following anecdote related of him, while he was still in Spain, will show. He had incurred the disapproval of the Inquisition and was summoned suddenly to appear before that dreaded tribunal. He obeyed the summons, but, as he was holding command at the time, he took the precaution of bringing with him a squad of soldiers and fourteen cannon. He stationed his men around the inquisitorial building, and gave orders that if more than fifteen minutes elapsed from the time he entered the building until he reappeared again, they were to fire upon and demolish the entire structure. The Inquisitors evidently deemed it prudent not to detain the doughty soldier. He was dismissed "con muchas zalemas y carabanas."

It may be that he was not averse to complying to the letter with his royal master's commands in regard to the expulsion of the Jesuits from New Spain, for he appears to have done so in a most thorough manner. He invited the audencia  to come to the palace for the purpose of conferring on confidential state matters of importance. It was an evening late in June when the meeting took place. The scene was not without a touch of the dramatic. Facing the audencia, De Croix produced a sealed package. He opened it; within was a second package, also sealed. Upon this was written, "Under penalty of death you will not open this despatch till the 24th of June at nightfall." Within the package was the royal order for the expulsion of the Jesuits from the provinces, together with minute instructions concerning the methods to be employed in their arrest, even naming the men to whom this task should be given. A third envelope contained the following:

I invest you with my whole authority and royal power that you shall forthwith repair with an armed force to the houses of the Jesuits. You will seize the persons of all of them and despatch them within twenty-four hours as prisoners to the port of Vera Cruz, where they will be embarked on vessels provided for that purpose. At the very moment of such arrest you will cause to be sealed the records of said houses and the papers of such persons, without allowing them to remove anything but their prayer books and such garments as are absolutely necessary for the journey. If after the embarkation there should be found in that district a single Jesuit even if ill or dying you shall suffer the penalty of death. Yo el Rey.  [Bancroft, History of Mexico, Vol. III. p. 439]

If the viceroy required an incentive to do his work thoroughly, he undoubtedly received it in the last clause of this royal mandate. De Croix decided to act at daybreak the following morning. Rumors of what was to occur reached the populace. Great indignation was everywhere expressed. The masses were disposed actively to assist the padres in fighting arrest. Whatever may have been the reputation of the Jesuits in Europe, or the dislike and distrust entertained for them there, in New Spain they appeared to have possessed the sympathy of the people. But the viceroy was prepared to meet any outbreak on the part of the populace. He stationed soldiers at street corners where the arrests had been made. The Jesuits were kept imprisoned in their houses until preparations were completed for their deportation. The people were told to disperse quietly and "that they were born to obey and hold their peace," a piece of information that had the effect of exasperating them to the extent of secretly planning a revolt against Spain, but its premature disclosure caused the revolt to be crushed before it was fully ripe.

June 28, the Jesuits were placed in coaches and with a strong guard to accompany them sent to Vera Cruz. The people flocked, weeping, around their carriages to say farewell. In some of the towns through which they passed their entry resembled a triumphant procession. The crowds that gathered to do them honor were so dense that the soldiers were frequently obliged to use the butt end of their muskets to force an opening for the coaches. When they finally arrived in Vera Cruz they had to wait before embarking until their Jesuit brothers from more distant lying provinces joined them. While they were detained here, thirty-two of their number died.

But it was in Baja California, that the order of expulsion occasioned the greatest hardship and sorrow among the Jesuits, and excited the greatest interest among the officials in Spain. In 1697 the Jesuits had received the royal consent to enter that country at their own risk and expense; the king was not disposed to lend financial assistance to the occupation of a barren, unattractive peninsula. Yet the necessity of establishing a post in California for the protection of the Manila trade had always been apparent to the government. The plundering cruises of the English were of alarming frequency. The Jesuits therefore, in undertaking the occupancy of the country and the subjugation of the natives, rendered a great service to the Spanish government, whose own attempts in this direction had invariably resulted in failures. Under the direction of the celebrated Father Kino, the Jesuits went enthusiastically to work to raise money to enter and establish themselves in the peninsula. The first recorded contribution was $20,000 from Don Juan Caballero y Ozio, and enormous sums from the Marquis de Villa Puente, one of Spain's great philanthropists, who, during his lifetime, gave away unostentatiously his entire wealth in the cause of his country, Christianity, and charity. From these and other private sources the Society of Jesus received such generous contributions that the famous fondo piadoso de California  was established. This fund was of great service in later years to the Franciscans in Upper California.

The policy of the Jesuits in Baja California, had always been a more or less exclusive one. This gave rise to fantastic stories of immense wealth found in the peninsula and jealously guarded by the fathers. Exaggerated reports of the extent and richness of the pearl fisheries on the coast were freely circulated. The fact that California had supplied the Spanish crown with its richest pearls lent credence to the reports. Indeed, from the first settlement of Baja California, to the time of the expulsion of the fathers, the greatest troubles the Jesuits had to contend with were primarily due to the finding of pearls on the coast of the barren peninsula, and the subsequent traffic in them. Adventurers flocked over from the mainland in quest of these greatly prized gems; they had the Indians dive for them, voluntarily if they would, if not, under compulsion. The Indians waxed angry at this treatment, then belligerent. All this gave the padres unending trouble, even frequently endangering their lives. On the other hand, the adventurers carried away complaints against the Jesuits because of the obstacles they put in the way of the pearl traffic.

Father Venegas long ago wrote:

The many violences committed by the adventurers to satiate if possible their covetous temper have occasioned reciprocal complaints; nor will they ever cease while the desire of riches, that bane of society, predominates in the human breast.

The Spaniards' greed of gain in the New World had not materially changed since the days when Cortes told the Aztec chief that "the Spaniards were troubled with a disease of the heart for which gold was a specific remedy."

The disinterested motives of these Jesuit missionaries is fully shown by a law, which, after great difficulty, they succeeded in having passed. It prohibited inhabitants of California, including themselves and those under their control, not only from diving for pearls but from trafficking in them. While the law did not interfere with the rights of those who came over from the mainland to fish for pearls, it served as an excellent object lesson to the Indians, and taught them that the padres were not amongst them for reasons covetous or selfish. The conduct of the Jesuit missionaries in Baja California, was, throughout, worthy of deepest admiration.

While they bent all their energies towards Christianizing the natives and teaching them the useful arts of civilization, they did not forget the interests of science and learning. Whatever would further human knowledge in their observation, they noted and chronicled. One hundred years after their expulsion, all that was accurately known of the geography, natural history, geology, and climatic conditions of the barren land was gathered from the documents of these scholarly and industrious men.

Nevertheless their rule in California was based on principles which can be regarded only as pernicious in the extreme. It was not beneficial for any society, not even the most barbaric, to be subject to the rule of a class of men who have despotic power over life and liberty and who are responsible to no one for their actions. Yet such was the character of the Jesuit sway in Baja California. The Indians in the missions had no rights, privileges, or justice, save such as the fathers chose to give them. Their condition differed in no respect from that of African slaves, except that their Jesuit masters were, in the main, conscientious, pure minded, pious men. To realize more fully the extent of the Jesuit power in California, it is only necessary to add that the soldiers forming the mission guards were enlisted at the expense of the fathers. To be sure, the enlistment was in the king's name, and the soldiers were considered to be in the royal army, but as they were dependent upon the Jesuits for their pay and could be discharged by them for disobedience of orders and also were under command of an officer chosen by the fathers, it may be said that the little army in the peninsula was entirely controlled by the missionaries, who practically owned the barren country and its miserable natives.

When the Jesuits were expelled from California it was believed that they had discovered rich mines from which they derived immense wealth. The king, it was said, expected to amass four millions of dollars from the spoliation of the padres. Instead of four millions, however, less than one hundred was found in their coffers. This fact caused not a little spicy amusement to some of the worthy fathers when they left California. As a matter of fact, the country's resources in every particular were slight. The soil was so poor the fathers had trouble raising crops sufficient for the needs of their neophytes and themselves. In many of the missions the little garden patches on rocky hillsides had been made only after infinite toil, the earth having been transported by hand from places where there was soil but no water.

Don Gaspar de Portola was appointed to the newly made office of governor of California in order that he should personally superintend the expulsion.

Retaining undoubtedly a vivid remembrance of Jesuit conduct in Paraguay in 1753, the Spanish government took precautions, the extent of which would otherwise appear not only excessive but even ludicrous. Portola was given command of fifty soldiers to expel fifteen Jesuit missionaries. He was ordered to observe the greatest secrecy regarding his movements, to effect a speedy and stealthy landing in the peninsula, and, by taking the Jesuits unawares, take them unprepared. It was feared by the authorities that the fathers would offer resistance and arm their neophytes. But the greatest fear was lest the Jesuits, receiving timely warning of the fate in store for them, would hide the treasures they were confidently believed to possess.

Portola reached Loreto in December, 1768. He was amazed to find so barren a country—a country which has been aptly described as "a mountain chain, the bald, rocky, barren ridges of which alone have risen above or are not yet sunken beneath the waters of the ocean and gulf."

In this peninsula, extending about seven hundred miles from its southern extremity to the point where it joins upper California, there was not a river, unless the few small rivulets, flushed in the rainy seasons, could be so called. "Nothing was so common in (Baja) California, as rocks and thorn bushes, nothing so rare as moisture, wood and cool shade."

After examining the reported wealthy mines in the peninsula and discovering that they were not worth the working, Portola became not only convinced of the absurdity of the romantic tales of hidden wealth, but also of the disinterested motives which had actuated the Jesuit fathers in this land.

He addressed a letter to the president of the missions, inclosing the order of expulsion. No resistance was offered. At each mission the Jesuits bade farewell to their neophytes, and with heavy hearts departed for Loreto. They were often accompanied long distances on their way by the weeping Indians. One of the fathers who had spent seventeen years of his life in mission work in the peninsula wrote afterwards, "Not only did I weep then, but throughout the journey, and even now as I write the tears stand in my eyes."

The affection of the padres and neophytes for one another was doubtless perfectly sincere. The Indians were fed, cared for, and protected by a little band of men whose sole desire was to bring them into the fold of the church and keep them there for their souls' salvation. For over half a century they had labored faithfully in this dreary land. Many of them had grown old in their missions, and when they left, they experienced the heartaches of those who leave their homes forever.

When the fathers arrived at Loreto, the order of expulsion was read to them. They said a farewell prayer for their Indians and for themselves; then under cover of the night, to avoid a demonstration, they marched with bowed heads and heavy hearts to the beach. But in spite of this precaution, a crowd of neophytes had assembled. With cries and lamentations they kissed the friendly hands that had toiled for them so many years. They besought the padres not to desert them. The scene was a touching one. Even the governor shed tears. The exiled missionaries stepped into the boat and, standing erect, chanted the litany of Our Lady. Their voices rang out through the night and reached the weeping neophytes on the beach. It was the Jesuit fathers' last farewell to California and her children.

Missions in Lower California

There can be little doubt that the Franciscans had information of the royal decree expelling the Jesuits, even before the society itself knew of its downfall. The feeling between the two orders was not a friendly one. The Franciscans had been the first to accuse the Jesuits of obtaining partial immunity from taxation by false representations and had carried their accusation to Madrid. When the scheme of destruction of the society was being formulated, the Franciscans in New Spain quietly made arrangements to fill the places of the Jesuits, and before Portola and his soldiers had embarked to cross the gulf to California, they were fully prepared to administer the missions there. Therefore as soon as they were officially invited to take charge of the peninsular establishments, they accepted, and promptly appointed sixteen friars from the San Fernando college to proceed to Loreto. Junipero was at this time holding a mission in the province of Mesquital, some thirty leagues from the capital. The Guardian summoned him to return. It was not until his arrival in the college that he learned of his appointment as president of the California missions. The coaches were in readiness for the long journey to the coast. To his great joy, he found that his two friends, Francisco Palou and Juan Crespi, had volunteered to serve with him in the distant mission field. After receiving the benediction of the Guardian and bidding farewell to all their brother friars, the travelers entered the coaches. A great crowd had assembled to see them off. In those days it was almost as much of an undertaking to go to California from Mexico as it was to go from Mexico to Spain.

After thirty-nine days of difficult traveling, part of the way under sweltering skies, through an unhealthful country, the friars arrived at Tepic. Here Junipero was told that the vessel on which they were to embark was not in readiness. Having ascertained that the delay would be a matter of months, he immediately determined that the interlude should not be passed in idleness by himself or his friars. He organized a series of missions to be held in the neighboring districts. This work occupied them until the following March, when they finally embarked from San Blas on a small transport with a long name, la Purisima Concepcion de Maria Santisima. It was night when the friars went on board, and it was night—the night of Good Friday—when they arrived in the road-stead off Loreto. It had taken them twenty days to cross the gulf.

Loreto in 1768 was a wretched, half-ruined little place, distinguished mainly for the poverty of its soil and the scarcity of water, and this in a country where soil and water were seldom found good and never abundant.

The presence of the new governor, Gaspar de Portola, and the commander of the presidio, Captain Fernando Javier Rivera y Moncada, and his company of soldiers alone showed that Loreto was the capital of the peninsula.

The governor came alongside the Purisima  in his boat, to take the friars ashore. Only Junipero and Palou availed themselves of this courtesy. Their companions remained on board to await the first faint streak of dawn, then with their modest personal possessions neatly packed, their beds rolled up and securely tied, they went ashore. As they trudged through the sands towards the white-washed adobe structure and the mud huts, called the capital of this bare, greenless, and almost treeless land, they were followed by a crowd of curious-eyed Indians. They had gathered on the beach to see the strangers who had come to take the place of their Jesuit rulers.

Since the expulsion of the fathers there had not been so much bustle and excitement in the sleepy little town. The next day was Easter Sunday. The entire population of Loreto flocked to the mission to participate in the services. There were the affable Governor Portola and Capt. Rivera y Moncada, who commanded the small garrison. The latter was a man of middle age, conscientious in the discharge of his duties and a favorite with his soldiers; there was also, it may be, his wife, Dona Teresa de' Davalos, who, it would appear, had passed eleven years of her life in the dreary California peninsula, where she had given her husband three sturdy sons, the last one yet a babe; there were the few colonists, all mechanics, or vaqueros;  the blustering, rough-tempered soldiery, and lastly, the mission Indians, outnumbering them all. After a Thanksgiving mass, Junipero preached to this mixed gathering. He told them that he and his brethren would take up the work left by the Jesuits and continue it to the best of their abilities.

The Easter ceremonies lasted three days. When they were finally concluded, Junipero read to the assembled friars the order of their distribution. Inasmuch as no two men were assigned to the same mission, even to those most remote and lonely, it is interesting to note Palou's brave assertion that they were "all very contented and gave thanks to God for the fate which had befallen us." Then, after deriving what comfort they could from Junipero's promise that if any one of them died at his post, the others would say twenty masses for his soul, the friars left Loreto to journey to their various missions. There was nothing that could properly be designated a road in the entire peninsula, the nearest approach to "the king's highways," were rough trails which led through thick, scrubby chaparral, thorny plants, or over rocky mountains.

The missionaries journeyed together as far as San Xavier, the mission Palou was to administer, then separated, eight friars traveling to the north and five to the south, each cheerfully seeking his lonely, desolate station.

Crespi was assigned to the mission Purisima, about a day's journey beyond San Xavier, while Junipero, as president of the establishments, remained in Loreto.

From the outset, the Franciscans found themselves hampered in their spiritual work. They did not hold the missions on the same basis as their predecessors. The temporalities had been intrusted by the government to military comisarios, upon whom the Franciscans were dependent even for their board.

While it was eminently desirable that missionary power should be curtailed, the reforms introduced were too drastic and were of a nature to seriously interfere with the work of conversion. The friars protested in vain. They were told that their work must be strictly confined to ministering to the heathen's spiritual welfare; his soul, not his stomach, was their charge. Junipero was disheartened. He argued that without the power of attracting Indians by means of food, clothing, and gifts, the padres would scarce see a savage, much less reach his soul. Moreover, their loss of power would cause the neophytes to respect the Franciscans less than the Jesuits, and the padres' influence over them would in consequence be lessened. The missions, declared Junipero, in his complaint to Portola, would rapidly decline, unless the temporal and spiritual control were again united. The good-natured governor, however, had not the power to alter the regulations, and although Junipero's predictions came true, and the missions rapidly deteriorated under the mismanagement and dishonesty of the comisarios, Portola could only offer the disappointed president the hope of a return to the old system. With this hope, vague though it was, Junipero was forced to be contented. But the man who possessed the authority to effect the desired change was soon to appear. Jose de Galvez had been appointed visitador general  by the crown, to administer the royal revenues in New Spain. His powers exceeded even those of the viceroy. He was now on his way to California, ostensibly to inspect the state of affairs there, but in verity on a matter of vastly greater importance.

Spain's fear of Russian encroachment on the Pacific coast had increased materially since 1765. She had become cognizant of certain Slavonic explorations on the Alaska coast. She had reasons to fear that these explorations would extend farther south and encroach on her own domain. This fear determined her finally to take steps for the protection of the peninsula; her precautions to consist, in part, in the establishment of two fortification in Alta California, namely at San Diego and at Monterey. A general knowledge of these ports Spain had long possessed from former explorations of the northwest coast, though no attempt had ever been made to occupy and fortify them. For more than a century and a half she had sent no exploring fleet up the California coast. She was more interested in obtaining money from the colonies she already possessed than in making expenditures for augmenting their number. More lucre, not more territory, was her cry. But the time had arrived when she recognized the necessity of abandoning this pleasant policy, in order to protect the very colonies from which she had so long replenished her exchequer. The order was given to occupy San Diego and Monterey. The latter port was to serve also as a relief station for the Manila galleon, which year after year,

Coming from the west by the northern route, sadly in need of a refitting and relief station, had borne her strained timbers and oriental treasure and scurvy-stricken crew down past the California ports. [Bancroft, History of California, Vol. I, p. 112]

These plans were left to Jose de Galvez. He was a man fertile in expedients, prompt in action and of indomitable will.

He set sail from San Blas, the government naval station, the latter part of May. Owing to contrary winds he did not arrive in Baja California before the sixth of July. He took up his headquarters at Santa Ana, in the house of a wealthy pearl speculator. There was a flutter of excitement in the peninsula over the arrival of the great man. In the bosoms of the comisarios  this flutter could scarcely have been an agreeable one. Galvez's first act on arriving was to inspect the condition of mission affairs under the new regulations. He subjected the comisarios  to a rigid examination and discovered both their inefficiency and cupidity. All this was a source of extreme vexation to him, necessitating the giving of time and attention which he was desirous of applying to the furtherance of his great Californian plan. He promptly ordered them to make an inventory of their possessions, to turn the papers over to be signed by the padres, who from this time on were to control the temporalities of their missions. In writing to Palou of this matter he said:

It has vexed me much to see the destruction that has taken place before my arrival in the cattle and properties of the poor missions—for all this has given me more work, but I have cut the root which caused the damage. [Palou's Noticias, I. p. 28]

The mission at Loreto however was, for a reason difficult to understand, permitted to remain under the same management as before the visitador's  advent.

However ignorant the general public may have been regarding the main object of Galvez's visit, it is unlikely that Fray Junipero was not fully instructed by the Guardian of San Fernando, inasmuch as the spiritual charge of the Alta California enterprise was, by royal command, to be confided to the Franciscans. Junipero however gave no sign of being better informed than were others in the peninsula. But when the visitador  finally wrote to him, communicating his instructions, the president replied with characteristic ardor that he would accompany the expedition in person. He also stated the number of missionaries he considered necessary for the new conquest. After dispatching this letter he set forth to visit the southern establishments.

In order that he might procure the requisite number of friars he was compelled to secularize some of the missions. On his return to Loreto, having walked over one hundred leagues on this business, he found a letter from the visitador, expressing approval and pleasure that he intended to accompany the expedition and requesting him to come to Santa Ana to discuss the necessary arrangements. So once again the energetic friar set forth under the hot, southern sun, to walk, with woefully sore and swollen feet, another hundred leagues. In this lame priest, no longer young, with wan, sunken cheeks, emaciated figure, and humble bearing, Galvez was probably far from suspecting the master spirit of the great enterprise. That these two men, at once so like and unlike, both possessed of great executive ability, both full of energy and zeal, both recognizing no obstacles in the accomplishment of their desires—that such men should successfully carry out the plans they formed together, is not surprising.

Besides the occupation of San Diego and Monterey they decided to found three missions, two to be in the vicinity of these ports, the third midway between the southern and northern settlements. The missions were to be called San Diego, San Carlos and San Buenaventura. Four expeditions were to be dispatched from Baja California, two by sea, and two by land. This plan was formulated to guard the enterprise against failure, as at least one of the four expeditions could reasonably be expected to prove successful. Junipero now returned to Loreto to continue his preparations, while Galvez concluded the necessary arrangements for transportation. Two packet boats, the San Carlos  and San Antonio, were brought into requisition for the sea trip. The vessels had previously served as transports for troops ordered to and from Sonora. Galvez also commanded the immediate construction of a third boat. This was the ill-fated San Jose.

Because the peninsula could not furnish sufficient soldiers for the expedition, an order was sent to Lieut. Pedro Fages, recently arrived from Spain, to report with his twenty-five Catalan Volunteers at Loreto with the least possible delay. This is our first introduction to the bluff Catalan officer who figures so prominently in early California history, not only as one of its pioneer governors, but less pleasantly as the bitter foe of Junipero Serra. The preparation for the new conquest occupied all Galvez's time and thought. Junipero was not behind the visitador  in tireless energy and work. He visited one mission after another to procure whatever could be spared to supply the needs of the new establishments. The list of the articles he took is an interesting one, showing, as it does, what was considered indispensable to the occupation and settlement of a new country. We find included in the long catalogue, seven large church bells, two heavy copper baptismal fonts, eleven pictures of the Virgin, and many images of Jesus, Joseph, and Mary. To these were added silver phials for sacred oil, silver censers and goblets and purificadores;  innumerable brass candlesticks and nineteen complete sets of vestments. Junipero had a rich assortment of church properties to choose from. The expelled Jesuits had prided themselves on the costliness of their sacred vessels. All this church paraphernalia Junipero forwarded to La Paz, the sea-port from which the expedition was to start. It was as impossible in those days for Spain to fit out an expedition of conquests without friars, and a vast amount of church paraphernalia, as it would be nowadays to equip and send out an exploring fleet without a doctor and a well-stocked medicine chest.

Large quantities of slaughtered wild cattle were sent to La Paz, to furnish meat for the explorers. So expeditiously did everyone work that all was in readiness for the San Carlos  when that vessel arrived early in December. She was a small packet boat of not more than two hundred tons burden. She had encountered stormy weather in the gulf and was in a leaky condition when she put into port. It was found necessary to unload the supplies she already carried, careen the ship, repair her, then load her again. All this took time and caused delay. Galvez's interest in the California expedition was so great that he superintended the work himself, and more than once assisted in stowing away unwieldy packages. Palou, who appears to have been greatly amazed and edified at this display of democratic energy, declared that the great senor worked like a peon, to get the ship in readiness for a speedy departure. The same chronicler also informs us, that the haughty nobleman condescended to joke with the friars as he worked. He assured them that he was a better sacristan than Fray Junipero, because he packed more expeditiously for his mission—which he claimed was San Buenaventura—than the president, who packed for San Carlos. Implements of agriculture were not forgotten, nor utensils for house and field. Many varieties of seeds, flowers, and vines were labeled and packed; these had been brought from Spain, Galvez having conceived the new country to be very fertile, as it lay in the same latitude as Spain, a conception which proved to be correct.

Among the ample food supplies the San Carlos  carried, red peppers and garlic were conspicuously present. The garlic alone amounted to 125 pounds, a quantity quite sufficient, one might suppose, to herald on the wings of the wind the coming of the conquerors to the savages of Alta California. The red peppers were equally plentiful; these and other spices which levantan las piedras, that is, "burn the intestines," have always occupied an important place in Spanish gastronomy. A generous supply of chocolate was also shipped, to be converted into that delicious and nutritious drink "thick as juniper berries and hot enough to burn the throat," which the sons and daughters of Spain alone know how to make in its perfection.

Finally, on the ninth day of February, 1769, the San Carlos  was ready to sail. She carried, besides her captain, D. Vincente Vila (who Fray Junipero assures us was "a pilot famed in the seas of Europe "), the young Lieutenant Don Pedro Fages and his twenty-five Catalan Volunteers, the engineer Constanza, the surgeon D. Pedro Pratt of the royal army, a baker, a cook, and two tortilla makers. These men, together with the crew and Padre Parron, constituted the ship's complement, numbering sixty-two persons. St. Joseph was chosen the patron saint of the expedition. All confessed, heard mass, and took communion. Galvez delivered a parting address, in which he told the men that theirs was a glorious mission, and charged them to respect their priest and to maintain peace and union among themselves. Junipero bestowed a blessing on the ship and all on board. Then the San Carlos  spread her white sails and put to sea. The visitador  embarked in a smaller packet boat to accompany the pilgrims a certain distance down the gulf. He wrote Palou that, as he could not go with the expedition to plant the holy cross in the port of Monterey, he desired at least to accompany it as far as possible.

Junipero in the meanwhile returned to Loreto to continue preparations for the second detachment. On his way he stopped at the mission San Francisco Xavier to see Palou and tell him of the successful departure of the San Carlos. "His face," said Palou, "reflected the rejoicing and content of his heart." It was not long before the transport San Antonio  arrived in port. She was to follow her flagship, the San Carlos. She also had been partially fitted out at San Blas, and like her capitana  proved leaky—apparently a chronic condition of the crude craft constructed in those days on the Pacific coast. The San Antonio  was therefore unloaded, careened, and repaired. Galvez and Junipero were on hand here also, to superintend and hasten her departure. On this ship embarked friars, Fray Juan Vizcaino and Fray Francisco Gomez, several carpenters, blacksmiths, and the crew. Juan Perez, a countryman of Junipero's who later did good service for California, was in command. The same ceremonies were performed as with the San Carlos  and on the fifteenth day of February the ship, with flowing sheets, sailed northward, before a high wind, to follow her capitana. This completed the maritime expedition. It now remained to start the land detachment. From Palou we learn that because this part of the enterprise was considered

not less arduous and dangerous than that by sea, owing to the many savages and depraved tribes through which they had to pass, it was resolved in imitation of the patriarch, Jacob, to divide it into two companies, in order that if one was unfortunate, the other might be saved. [Palou, Vida, p. 64]

Captain de Rivera y Moncada, who for twenty-five years had been in command of the presidio  at Loreto, had charge of the first land detachment. He was instructed to stop at each mission and take from each all the cattle, food supplies and beasts of burden that could be spared.

"This he did," said Junipero, "and although it was with a somewhat heavy hand, it was undergone for God and the king."

It was indeed with a heavy hand that the captain levied on the mission property. He collected 200 head of cattle, 140 horses, forty-six mules, and two asses. He laid in a supply of figs, sugar, dried meats, raisins, flour, wheat, and "two jugs and two bottles of wine." The last item shows that both Jesuits and Franciscans in California were sufficiently abstemious folk in their use of stimulants, for it is unlikely that the captain displayed a less "heavy hand" in supplying the expedition with this commodity than in other articles of provisions found in the missions. He journeyed slowly northward, increasing his escort as he went from the mission guards and neophytes. Fray Juan Crespi, the indefatigable keeper of diaries and the intimate friend of Junipero and Palou, accompanied him. The commander in chief of both the sea and land expedition was Governor Don Gaspar de Portola. He accompanied the second land division. It had been Junipero's intention to travel with this last detachment, which left the royal presidio  of Loreto on the ninth of March, but his work in the peninsula was not completed and he could only promise to follow with the utmost possible haste. Everyone doubted his ability to make the rough overland journey. Few are bold enough at the present time to undertake the trip, and in those days it was a far more difficult undertaking. Junipero was already greatly fatigued. He had worked indefatigably and he had walked many miles in the business of the expedition. His feet were in a distressingly painful condition and were scarcely able to support his slender weight. Portola endeavored to dissuade him from joining the expedition. He frankly told the enthusiastic padre that his presence would only result in retarding the travelers. Junipero's sole response was that he trusted in God to give him strength to reach San Diego an Monterey. He remained in Loreto to celebrate the Easter festivities and to preach his farewell sermon he having completed that day the ecclesiastical year of his arrival in the peninsula. Two days later he set forth, after mass, on his journey. He was accompanied by two soldiers and a boy (mozo). Thus within a period of four months, the entire little army of conquerors was on its way to the land of the "Northern Mystery." Galvez's work in the peninsula was done. He had completed his task successfully, thoroughly, and expeditiously. One historian indeed claims for him "the first place among the pioneers of California, although he never set foot in the country."

Serra's Long Land Journey

Let us now follow Fray Junipero on his long overland journey to California. He left Loreto immediately after Easter. His provisions were more than meager; they were supplied by the royal commissary who still retained charge of the mission. Junipero comments somewhat caustically on this official's display of generosity:

From my mission of Loreto I did not take more provisions for so long an excursion than one loaf of bread and a piece of cheese. For I was there all the year so far as temporal matters go, as the mere guest for the crumbs of the Royal Commissary, whose liberality at my departure did not extend further than the aforesaid. [Serra's Diary]

His first day's journey brought him to San Xavier, where he remained three days.

I tarried in this mission [he said in his journal] for many motives. Reason enough for said detention was the very especial and mutual love between myself and its minister, the Rev. Father Reader, Francisco Palou, my disciple, Commissary of the Holy Office and elected by our College to succeed me in the presidency of these missions in case of my death or long absence. This last circumstance was the principal motive of said detention to confer with him as to what was best with regard to what remained in his charge during my absence. [Serra's Diary]

When Palou met him, limping slowly, painfully into the mission, his eyes filled with tears. He was tortured with forebodings that the frail, footsore friar, his beloved friend and master, would not live to accomplish the task he had given himself. So great was this fear that he wrote to Galvez, and besought him to command Junipero to remain, while he, Palou, went in his stead. The reply he received to this letter shows another side to the practical and able visitador's  character:

I am very glad that the Rev. Father Junipero insists upon accompanying the expedition, and commend his faith and great confidence that he will improve in health and that God will permit him to reach San Diego. This same faith I share with him. [Palou, Vida, p. 68].

Finding that Galvez would not interfere, Palou, in his anxiety, appealed to Junipero himself. The older man listened without comment, till his friend had concluded, then he said quietly:

Do not let us speak of this. I have unlimited confidence in God, whose goodness will allow me not only to arrive in. San Diego to raise and fasten in that port the standard of the Holy Cross, but at Monterey as well. [Palou, Vida, p. 67].

Palou was forced to resign himself to the decision of his superior, though unable to stifle his fears lest Junipero die upon the road. He assiduously set about, however, to ameliorate as far as possible, the hardships of the journey. He supplied deficiencies in the provisions, he contributed clothing, and managed in manifold ways to provide for the traveler's well-being. Junipero said gratefully, concerning these arrangements, "Not even I myself could have managed to contrive them, though for my sins I do not cease to be fond of my convenience."

We can scarce refrain from smiling when we contrast the incongruity of this naive confession, with the rigorous, abstemious life he led. At daybreak of the third morning of his stay Junipero rose to continue his journey. He bade farewell to Palou, his "beloved since childhood." He was lifted bodily onto his mule by the two soldiers who accompanied him. His helpless condition increased Palou's grief at their parting. When Junipero turned to him for the last time and said with gentle cheerfulness, "A'dios  till Monterey, where I hope we will meet to work together in that vineyard of our Lord," he could only reply sorrowfully that he feared they were bidding one another an eternal farewell. The older man lingered long enough to reprimand Palou affectionately for his little faith, which he said, pierced him to the heart. And so the two friends parted.

As Junipero journeyed on, we hear of his stopping sometimes in missions on the way, where he lingered over night or longer, according as the business of the expedition necessitated or the great loneliness of the isolated padres moved him to bear them company for a time. Or again we find him sleeping on the ground under the bright southern stars, after a long and wearisome day during which he had halted only "at midday to take some rest or a mouthful."

On one such occasion he unexpectedly met with a sad little group of Indians. They were neophytes from a distant mission. Because of the dearth of provisions the padre had been compelled to send them forth into the mountains to seek their food. They had suffered many hardships. Their children were crying with hunger. Fray Junipero promptly appeased them with the pinole (a meal of parched corn) which he carried with him, and further consoled them with the promise that they should return to their homes, for already corn was on the way by sea, to relieve the distressed missions. The weary friar, in recounting this incident, said:

Then I took my rest and had them pray in concert, and they concluded by singing a very tender song of the love of God. And as they of that mission (Guadalupe) have with reason the fame of singing with especial sweetness, I had a good bit of consolation in hearing them. [Serra's Diary].

This picture in the wilds of Baja California, one hundred fifty years ago, is a pleasant, peaceful one to contemplate. We can see the little group of dusky natives squatting contentedly around their friar-friend, while floating skyward, through the stillness of the starlight rises a "tender song of the love of God." Apart from his religion and his work, music gave to Junipero one of the rare pleasures he had in life. Music is the revery of the soul. In the vast majority of mankind, blindly struggling, futilely striving for a happiness bounded by the life material, music—even sacred music—awakens a vague sense of sadness. It is the nostalgia of the heart for the unattainable. But to those who have trod—feebly perhaps, despairingly at times, but unwaveringly always—the sequestered paths of self-renunciation, of spiritual progress, music brings sweet solace, uplifting inspiration, and the promise of high hopes solidified into achievements.

After a restful night under the stars, Junipero set forth again, traveling "over those so painful hills," as he calls the rough mountainous trails. He met more hungry Indians. Again he furnished them with pinole  from his pack mules and encouraged them with the prospect of more food to come. Most of the missions of Baja California, were at this time in a sadly impoverished condition. Before Galvez commanded the royal commissaries to turn over the temporal arrangement of the establishments to the missionaries, the damage had been done. Fray Junipero had been justified in protesting against confining the friars strictly to the spiritual care of the neophytes. The comisarios, when not dishonestly using their power to benefit themselves, were indifferent to the needs of the Indians. So badly did they administer the finances and temporal concerns under their charge, that in many missions an actual famine existed. This condition the neophytes were pathetically unprepared to encounter. Brought under enforced civilization for many years, taught to depend upon the friars for their sustenance, these poor semi-civilized creatures Were no longer competent to provide for themselves after the manner of their untrammeled savage brethren. We read of more than one padre beseeching Junipero to permit him to withdraw from his mission, where, because he cannot furnish succor to his half-starved neophytes, he is too unhappy to remain. Even in times of plenty the padre's life in this dreary peninsula was anything but an attractive one. The missions were far apart in isolated places where the missionaries had often to endure a loneliness, a desolation which it is difficult to adequately conceive. They were men of education, some of them highly intellectual, and all possessing a mentality far from mediocre; they required the intelligent companionship of their fellowmen, as much as they required their daily food. Yet we find them stranded alone in distant frontier missions where their only associates were ignorant neophytes, or dirty, lazy, half-tamed savages. An eloquent appeal to Mexico was later made by Palou for more friars, because of this natural longing for companionship. The minister in charge of the Guadalupe mission, Junipero tells us, was "the Father Reader Fray Juan Sancho, Master of Arts, ex-professor of Philosophy and later Reader of Theology in his native land."

The arrival of Junipero at the mission caused great rejoicing in the heart of its lonely padre. He exerted himself to make the short sojourn of his superior as comfortable as possible.

Besides these favors [says Junipero with a certain childlike delight] he added the favor, by the most of esteem, which was a Spanish-speaking (ladino)  Indian of fifteen years, who knows how to assist at Mass, read and the other duties pertaining to the service. And he clothed him new for me, with his changes of clothing, leather jacket, boots, etc., and fitted him out with all the trappings to go horseback, and gave him a saddle-mule, whereat he was very contented. And thus not only the lad, but his parents took it for much good fortune, and it was agreeable to all. [Serra's Diary].

The next day a padre arrived from a distant-lying mission, situated on the coast of the Gulf of California. He came to bid Junipero God-speed on his journey, and to taste again, if but for a short time, the pleasant flavor of friendly, stimulating companionship.

If these older men required all the encouragement Junipero could give them to continue cheer fully their lonely task, far greater must have been the needs of those youthful friars, whose mad longing for companionship threatened at times to drown every other feeling within them. Junipero writes pityingly of one of these young friars, whose frontier mission was the Santa Gertrudis and who, because of his loneliness, had fallen into a deep melancholy. The mission was situated in a gloomy cañon, (cañada)  of such narrowness that in order to procure space for building the church and dwelling houses, it had been necessary to cut into the rocky sides of the canon. A few olive and peach trees had been planted in the scanty soil. In this bare, isolated spot, without a human being to talk to save half civilized savages, whose language he scarce understood, lived the young Fray Dionisio Basterra.

The Baja Californians possessed none of the more intelligent traits of the North American Indians. They were low in the scale of humanity. The Jesuit, Father Venegas, leaves the following terse description of them:

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, and excessive sloth and abhorrence of all work, incessant love of pleasure and amusement of every kind, however trifling and 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.

Among such people as these, Fray Dionisio was stranded without even an Indian interpreter to bear him company. To reach Santa Gertrudis early in the day Junipero had risen before dawn, having that night slept upon the ground. As he approached the mission, he was met by the Indians with "dancing and festive demonstrations," a greeting the good padre had received at many missions. At the door of the church stood the sad-eyed young friar, dressed in his pluvial and accompanied by acolytes bearing the cross, candlestick, incensory, and holy water. Fray Junipero silently entered the church, having first "adored the cross and sprinkled holy water on the Indians." Not until the religious services were over and Fray Dionisio had doffed his vestments, did the two priests—the one young, lonely, and utterly unhappy, the other older, wiser, yet full of tender sympathy—exchange their greeting.

The eyes of both [says Junipero] overflowed with tears, (the which even now come to me anew when I write this,) without our being able to speak a word until for a long time we had paid this permissible tribute to Nature. Many days before the Father had fallen into a profound sadness over his being alone among so many shut-in Indians, without a soldier or a servant—for both the one and the other the Captain (Rivera) had taken away from him for the expedition, nor even an interpreter of any use. He had communicated to me by various letters his disconsolateness, asking me for relief, which I could not give him, much as I desired to; I tried in various ways not only consoling him, but talking with the Most Illustrious Inspector-General (Galvez), writing to the Captain (Rivera) and talking to the Governor (Portola) all without fruit, since by no one means could I procure one soldier for his escort, whereby he could have had some relief and comfort. The Governor answered that he not only could not give him a soldier, but that he was minded to leave without one the next mission of San Borja, which has had three soldiers when fewest.[Serra's Diary].

Fray Junipero had known the young friar ever since the latter had taken orders. He had him as a companion in many of his long peregrinations on the coast of Oaxaca and when he navigated the river Miges, and had tramped with him the king's highway in Mexico, when holding mission meetings in the provinces. "All this," said Junipero, "caused that tenderness which culminated in the consolation of seeing one another now at the end of a little more than a year since our arrival and last parting at Loreto."

The affection he entertained for the young priest induced Junipero to comply with Fray Dionisio's entreaty to give him a few days of companionship. Junipero accordingly remained at the mission five days, and as he himself states, not idly.

We hear no more of the sorrowful Fray Dionisio until more than a year later. It is doubtful if in the interim either priest or soldier came to relieve his loneliness, to share his solitude; for we next learn of his having fallen ill and being sent back to his college in Mexico, where we must leave the melancholy young monk, as he does not appear again in the annals of California. In the meanwhile Junipero continued on his way, traveling over many a "grievous road "and rocky hill, stopping at missions to discuss and advise with the padres concerning the vital question of how best to supply sufficient food for the neophytes, and to wring from the barren soil provision for the future. Finally on the fifth of May, five weeks from the time he left Loreto, rising "good and early" (which in Junipero's vocabulary meant rising before the first faint streaks of dawn), he arrived at Santa Maria, where Governor Portola, with part of the second land expedition, was encamped.

We were mutually glad said Junipero] to see ourselves already joined, to begin anew our peregrination through a desert land populated with only Infidelity, with innumerable Gentiles. [Serra's Diary].

Five days were spent at Santa Maria, partly to await further supplies, which were expected, and partly to give Portola an opportunity to complete the last arrangements for their march. At the end of that time they set out to join the remainder of the retinue, which had gone on in advance to Velicata where better pasturage could be obtained for the beasts. They were three days on the journey.

All this stretch of country [writes Junipero] is even less supplied than the rest of California for the poor sustenance of its inhabitants; since from Santa Maria unto here (Velicata) inclusive, I did not see even a tree of pitahaias, neither the sweet nor the sour—but only now and then a cactus, and a rare garambullo. The most are candle cactus, a tree useless for everything, even for fire.[Serra's Diary].

He kept an eager watch for savages.

By the road we saw various little ranchos of Gentile Indians and recent tracks of them. But not one, little or big, let himself be seen; their retreat mortifying my desires to talk and caress them.

As yet Fray Junipero had seen only the Indians in the vicinity of the missions, all of whom had received baptism and were partially civilized. They were, therefore, the good friar believed, in less imminent danger of perdition than their savage brethren, called by the Spaniards "Gentiles."

At Velicata Junipero decided to found a mission, which should also serve to facilitate communications between the old establishments and those to be founded in Alta California. Ina little jacal  (a hut of palisades) which the first land expedition had hastily constructed and used as a chapel, the ceremonies were held. The soldiers in their leather jackets and shields were drawn up under arms, and Junipero celebrated the first mass of the new mission which was called San Fernando. The troops at intervals discharged their muskets, the fumes of the powder supplying the deficiency of incense, while the battery of sounds served as a harsh substitute for the measured music of the organ.

The region around Velicata was thickly populated with savages, but even curiosity did not induce them to come within sight of the Spaniards. Junipero was profoundly disappointed. He had ardently hoped that on such an auspicious occasion as the founding of a mission, a few at least of the Gentiles would have approached to watch the proceedings and so gradually be drawn into the protecting arms of the church. "Perhaps," he said sorrowfully, "they are scared by so many thunders." Father Miguel de la Campa, who traveled with the expedition, was appointed minister of the new mission and was, we are assured, "very joyous in this employment." He was given the fifth part of the cattle, four loads of biscuits, 162 pounds of flour, also maize, raisins, dried figs, and a supply of chocolate, without which no Spaniard, even though he be a pious priest, can subsist. To these stores Junipero added a certain quantity of soap which he was carrying for the expedition. The fact that he took personal charge of this commodity is another evidence of his liking for the "neatness of Holy Poverty." The next morning all was bustle and excitement in camp, preparatory to an immediate departure. Junipero had said mass and had retired to his jacal  (hut) when word was sent to him that the Gentiles were approaching and were, in fact, already near.

I praised the Lord [he said]. I kissed the earth, giving His Majesty thanks that after so many years of desiring them, He had granted me to see myself among them in their land. I sallied promptly and found myself with twelve of them, all males and grown, except two were boys, one about ten years and the other about fifteen. I saw that which I had hardly managed to believe when I used to read it or they told me of it—which was their going totally nude, as Adam in Paradise before his sin. [Serra's Diary]

The good friar was quite scandalized. We can scarce repress a smile on reading further,

And so they presented themselves to us and we conversed a long while, without there being perceptible in them in all that time, the least blush for being in that manner, though they saw us all clothed! With great gentleness he put his two hands in their heads, and blessed them all in turn.

. . . in token of affection I filled both their hands with dried figs, which they at once began to eat; and we received with signs of much appreciation the regalement which they presented to us—which was a net full of meseal and four fish—although as the poor fellows had not had the advertency to disembowel them and much less to salt them, the cook said that they were already of no account. The Father Campa also regaled them with some raisins, and the Senor Governor gave them tobacco in the leaf, all the soldiers treated them and gave them to eat. And I with the interpreter gave them to know that in that very spot a Father would remain constantly, namely this one, pointing him out, and that he was called Fray Miguel; that they should come as well as the other people of their acquaintance to visit him, and that they should tell the other Gentiles not to have fear or suspicion; that the Father would be their very friend; that those senores the soldiers who remained there with the Father would do them good and no harm, that they must not steal the cattle running loose, but that if they were in need they must come and tell the Father, and he would always give them what he could. [Serra's Diary]

The astonished savages appeared to listen attentively to these arguments, even to assent to them, so that Junipero was greatly pleased, and added, "it seemed to me that they would fall shortly into the apostolic and evangelic net." By this time the day was well advanced. Farewell was said to Fray Miguel Campa, and the expedition headed by the Governor departed from Velicata. Before noon of the next day the travelers reached a place called San Juan de Dios.

It is agreeable with plenty of water and pasture, willows, tule, and a glad sky. Here for some days had been the Sergeant Francisco Ortega and some soldiers with part of their beasts. It was a consoling day, because in it all of us were united who had to go together on the expedition. [Serra's Diary]

The entire party having finally met, there was a universal desire to push forward on the journey with as little delay as possible. To the soldiers this expedition into Upper California possessed the fascination of an unknown adventure, in which they staked all their hopes of fortune and fame. They expected in this mysterious northern land to line their pockets with gold, to festoon themselves with ropes of pearls, and return richly laden to their Spanish homes. The officers cherished hopes of fame, power, and honor. Junipero, alone of them all, was not concerned for either wealth or fame, and yet was more eager than the most adventurous among their number, to push onward with the utmost possible speed.

But now occurred a difficulty which even his stout spirit might have foreseen and feared. His foot and leg had become so distressingly inflamed and swollen that they were no longer able to bear the weight of his emaciated body. With difficulty he managed to say mass the following morning. It became apparent to all except himself that he could not follow the expedition. He could neither walk, nor stand, nor sit, and was forced to remain stretched upon his bed. Fortunately for the sufferer Portola was delayed in camp, three days. The packs required rearranging and the beasts that had arrived last were in need of recuperation. In the meantime the Governor expended all his powers of argument to induce Junipero to return to Velicata, from which place he could, when able, slowly make his way back to Loreto. Portola felt that the difficulty of the expedition would be greatly increased if he were hampered by the necessity of considering the condition of a sick man. It is probable, also, that he was averse to assume the responsibility of taking with him into an unknown country, to confront unknown dangers, one whose death could, he thought, be but a mere matter of time upon so arduous a journey. His pleading and arguments were, however, in vain. Junipero would not be moved from his resolution.

"If it is God's will that I die on the road, then bury me there," he said, "and I will remain contentedly among the Gentiles. But," he added with his characteristic hopefulness, "I have confidence that God will give me strength to reach San Diego, as he has given me strength to come this far."

Had he not all his life longed to illumine the dark places of the earth by turning upon them the great beneficent light of Christianity? Year by year, month by month, day by day, this desire had burned more fiercely within him, until by now it may be said to have reached white heat. Nothing short of death itself would cause him to abandon his purpose. If Portola had but faintly appreciated the indomitable will abiding in this worn, emaciated friar, he would not have expended time and eloquence in ineffective arguments. When he finally perceived the futility of endeavoring to change so firm a resolution, realizing that neither on foot nor on horseback could Junipero travel, he ordered a stretcher constructed in the form of a coffin (defunto)  in which the friar could lie and be carried on the backs of the neophytes. When Junipero heard of the order he was greatly dejected. He reflected on the additional fatigue the Indians would be subjected to if compelled to bear him over rough mountainous trails, and through long, sand-covered stretches of hot barren plains. This thought tormented him. He spent hours in prayer, seeking divine assistance in evolving a method by which he need not burden the Indians, and yet be enabled to follow the expedition. Having prayed he sent for a certain muleteer, Jean Antonio Coronel.

"Son," he said, "canst thou give me a remedy for the ulcers on my foot and leg?"

"Father," replied the muleteer, "what remedy should I know? Am I a surgeon? I am a muleteer and know only how to cure the sores of beasts."

"Then, son, suppose me one of your beasts and that this ulcer is a saddle-gall which has caused the swelling of the leg and the pains that I feel, and that gives me no rest or sleep, and make for me the same medicament that thou would'st apply to a beast."

The muleteer smiled broadly, as did all those who heard the good friar's request.

"To give you pleasure I will do it, father," Juan replied.

He prepared an ointment of tallow and herbs and applied it to the sufferer's foot and leg. It proved an efficacious remedy. Relieved of pain, Junipero slept peacefully for the first time in many nights. The following morning, to the surprise of all, he rose and celebrated mass according to his usual custom. It was not necessary to delay the expedition for even one hour on his account.

Experiences With the Indians

If Portola had felt exasperated at Junipero's obstinacy because of a natural apprehension of a catastrophe overtaking the priest and thereby retarding the expedition, he had too generous a disposition not to be pleased at his quick recovery.

But though everyone was now in readiness for an early start, the order to set forth was not given.

"The morning dawned raining and with the horizon very loaded, reason for which the march was deferred till the next day," which was Sunday. Junipero celebrated mass, then he made

. . . a brief exhortation concerning the good conduct we ought all to observe on a road whose principal end was the greater honor and glory of God. And in the name of God, Triune and One, our march was ordered and begun. We sallied from the place headed toward the west, but after a little stretch the turn of the high mountain which we had on our right forced us to the north. [Serra's Diary]

They traveled over toilsome, sandy dry ravines, then took to the sierra, in the direction of Contra Costa, climbing mountains, difficult of ascent and more difficult of descent, seeking at night the exiguous comforts of their hastily constructed camps. "All these nights," writes Junipero, "a lion has been roaring at us from round about. God deliver us from him as he has done thus far."

They halted wherever water could be found for beast and man, though such places were only too frequently mud-holes and the supply of water obtained but scant. When they came upon green grass, a few palms, or some ragged cottonwoods, Junipero comments upon the fact with a keen pleasure. He describes the first tree they saw in this bare, brown land.

It was very tall and leafy, a thing we had not seen till now outside the missions. And coming up to it, I saw it was an alamo [cottonwood] which gave me still greater cause to admire it; and we called the place Alamo Solo [Lone Cottonwood].[Serra's Diary]

Hereafter the country became "more smiling and gladsome with trees tall and tufted—and various little flowers, and in fine appeared a new country." They saw no Indians the first part of their journey, though they frequently passed small rancherias, which apparently had been hastily abandoned at the approach of the Spaniards. On one occasion, on a distant hillock, two savages were descried. Neophytes were promptly dispatched to invite them to the camp, but they fled precipitately. Junipero gives a detailed and, under the circumstances, amusing account of how they finally succeeded in capturing a "Gentile" for the purpose of assuring him of their friendship.

Two Gentiles were again visible on the same height, and our Indians—shrewder than yesterday—went to catch them with caution that they should not escape.; them. And although one fled from between their hands they caught the other. They tied him, and it was all necessary, for even bound he defended himself that they should not bring him and flung himself upon the ground with such violence that he scraped and bruised his thighs and knees. But at last they brought him. They set him before me.

Then the good padre tells us that he gently pushed the struggling Gentile upon his knees and, resting his two hands upon the man's head, proceeded to recite the gospel of St. John over him. The poor fellow probably regarded this procedure as some sort of evil incantation, for it had the effect of scaring him wellnigh out of his wits. After making the sign of the cross over him, Junipero untied him, still "most frightened and disturbed."

He describes the appearance of the savage in a few graphic words:

He went naked like all, with his bow and arrows, which were returned to him; his disheveled hair long and bound with a little cord of blue wool, very well made, the which we could not discover where he had got it. . . . He was taken to the tent of the senor governor; they tried to console him, assuring him no harm could be done him. He was a robust young person seemingly about twenty years. Asking him what his name was, he answered Axajui. These senores wished to know what the word meant in his language, but this was too much to ask this poor folk. We passed our Axajui some figs, meat and tortillas for him to eat. He ate some, but little, always with perturbation.[Serra's Diary]

It may have been his fear of the Spaniards, or their kind treatment of him, or both, which induced the young savage to disclose, before leaving, a plot formed by the captain of his rancheria  and four other captains with their rancherias, to hide behind some cliffs and when the Spaniards took up their march again "to sally forth and kill the Padre and his Retinue." Junipero gave scant attention to the tale. Axajui was dismissed and told to assure his people of the goodwill of the Spaniards towards them. The next morning they set out on their march again.. The road was the best they had yet followed; it stretched over pleasant, gently sloping hills, "all smiling," chronicles Junipero, "with many flowers of various hues."

Nothing worthy of note occurred during the march. Occasionally on a distant ridge, a dusky form would show itself, then suddenly disappear again. Thus far they had followed the same route taken by the Jesuit father, Linck, when he explored the country in 1766, whose journal Junipero had with him. Now however they took a northeasterly course instead of a northerly one, as Linck had done and which would have led them in the direction of the Colorado River, instead of the port of Monterey. Before the Spaniards set out that morning, four savages were discovered near the camp. They were promptly captured by the enterprising neophytes, although vigorously protesting and threatening instant vengeance if not released. It happened to be the hour of mass, a ceremony which was always held before the day's march was begun. The captives were made to sit in a ring formed by the soldiers. By this simple expedient the indignant savages were forced to attend the religious services of their pious captors, whether they would or no. After mass they were given to eat and set free. They availed themselves of their liberty to join a band of Indians numbering upwards of forty, which had appeared. They all began shouting vociferously and making demonstrations of great anger. Through an interpreter the Spaniards learned that the savages were commanding them to turn back, and not to pass further into their country.

Long and most troublesome time was spent in getting rid of them in a good way but all fruitlessly and not without fear that they would break out. By order of the Governor four soldiers, set on horses, put themselves in a row, forcing them to retire. They resisted even this, and one of the soldiers firing a musket shot in the air toward them and after a bit another, they went fleeing, and our men went on loading the beasts to pursue our march.[Serra's Diary]

This little incident delayed their starting so that it was ten before they set out on their day's journey. "The Sun was most painful withal," sighed Junipero. But they had not rid themselves of the savages. Great numbers followed them as they marched through the hills of Contra Costa. This gave the Spaniards no uneasiness as long as the valley was spacious, but when the hills closed in upon them, and they had to pass through the narrows, the soldiers donned their leather jackets, the arrieros  laid hands to their weapons, and all kept a sharp watch for the enemy. Junipero suspected that these Indians were from the Bay of San Quentin, referred to by Admiral Cabrera Bueno in his Speculative and Practical Navigation  as being the most bellicose and daring in the Contra Costa. The next Indians they encountered were of a very different disposition. The Spaniards were seeking a camping place for the night, when a dozen or more savages approached them, "very merry" and with offers to show them a good halting place. Of this visit Junipero writes:

When we arrived, they—as if not to embarrass us during the task of unloading—withdrew to a declivity in front of us, and there stayed without moving. As soon as we were disoccupied, I sent to them by my page and an Indian interpreter their treat of figs and meat, with the assurance that they could come to us securely, and that they should come to salute us all, that we were all their friends. They responded with signs of gratefulness, but that they could not come to see us until the treat they wished to give us should arrive; that they had sent for it to their rancheria, which was near. So it befell that after we had eaten and rested, they came down with their nets of cooked meseal, and with all their arms; and putting the latter on the ground, they began to explain to us the use of them, one by one, in their battles. They played all the roles, as well of him who gave the wound as of him that was wounded, with so much liveliness and grace that we had a good bit of recreation. For so much as they wished to tell us in this matter the interpreters were quite superfluous.

Histrionic art, it would seem, was not entirely unknown to those merry children of the wilderness. While they were enjoying the clever little pantomime, two women suddenly appeared. Until now, the Spaniards had encountered no women among the savages. Their absence had been to Fray Junipero something of a comfort. As the men went naked, the friar feared the women also would go abroad unclothed. The mere thought of this possibility scandalized him to such an extent that he greatly desired putting off the ordeal of meeting them. When therefore the women came modestly covered as to their persons, Junipero's relief was great. He even indulged himself in a sly little fling at feminine volubility.

"They talked," he declared, "as rapidly and efficaciously as this sex knows how and is accustomed to."

One of the women proved to be the girlish wife of the chief of the rancheria. She carried upon her head a portion of the "treat" intended for the Spaniards. This "treat "was a large pancake made of dough. Fray Junipero's mind was not upon food. He rose to welcome the young woman, placing both of his hands upon her head. The immediate result of the good friar's blessing was a sticky mass of soft dough adhering to his fingers. To add to his discomfiture both wife and husband began explaining to him the correct manner of eating this doubtful delicacy. "The older woman also talked, more than all and in yells," said the poor padre, a bit impatiently we suspect. It is trying to be considered merely hungry and greedy when engaged in the wholly meritorious act of blessing an infidel. The following morning when the Spaniards were breaking camp and preparing to leave, the savages announced their intention of accompanying them a certain distance on the way in token of their friendship. They added an exotic touch to the march far from pleasurable. They displayed symptoms of colossal mischievousness insistent to the point of enmity. When the expedition traversed narrow trails bordering steep precipices, the savages gleefully amused themselves sliding down the slopes above in great numbers, hurrahing lustily as they slid, and frightening the animals by their uproar, so that these latter were in imminent danger of falling over the cliffs. To quote from Junipero's journal again:

It was said to them that this was enough already, that we were very content and sure of their fine friendship. . . . . But since from the uproar they did not attend nor understand, we remained in the same fix, and the bad matter progressed because the way grew always worse. The chief of them was called and was charged concerning the matter and tried to compose and gather his people, in which he succeeded only in part. At last the Senor Governor, who had gone forward, turned back and reinforced the request. And seeing that it was not enough he ordered a musket shot into the air in their direction.[Serra's Diary].

They were astounded by the roar and flash of the firearms and fled like hinds. "And the trouble was ended," said Junipero, "although I already felt that with this demonstration we left them some doubt of our love toward them."

The Spaniards now continued their march unimpeded by further annoyances. They kept always in the direction of the coast, hoping with the ascent of every hill to see from its summit the broad Pacific glistening below them. The intolerable fervor of the sun, combined with the difficulty of the road they traversed, caused the daily march to be limited, seldom enduring more than three or four hours and only occasionally lasting five or six. During this journey, Fray Junipero was quick to examine the most advantageous points for future mission and pueblo sites. It was his desire to form a connecting line of missions from Velicata—now called San Fernando—to San Diego, thus materially facilitating intercourse with the proposed new establishments of Alta California, while at the same time providing for the spiritual needs of the hordes of savages populating this barren region. In all probability the energetic friar would have accomplished his plan, had the Franciscans retained the spiritual charge of Baja California.

The Indians still continued to be friendly, merry folk. They had their clown (chahuaco)  to amuse them, and dancing men who went about carrying rattles in their hands and fantastically frolicked for their food. They looked upon the Spaniards with the same degree of half-fearful, wholly gleeful interest that children nowadays accord an exhibition of trained lions. It may be that the constant meeting with these lively Indians caused the neophytes who accompanied the expedition to long also for freedom and jollity. But whatever the cause, they began to desert in ever increasing numbers, greatly to Fray Junipero's distress.

After noon and all having eaten, nine Indians of those who accompanied us deserted us at one blow. When in the middle of the afternoon they were missed, they were hunted for, but not even one track of them could be found, and inquiring of those that have been left to us what could have been the cause of this unlooked for news, as they were given food, were treated well, and always showed themselves content, they answer they do not know. God, our Lord, bless them as well for the well they have served us, as for the lack they will be to us in the future. [Serra's Diary]

But twelve neophytes remained with the expedition. As the journey continued, food became more and more scarce. To remedy this scarcity hunters were dispatched to provide the hungry travelers with some of the deer and antelope which were roaming the neighboring hills. Junipero has a good-natured laugh at the marksmanship displayed.

Our hunters have been unfortunate because all of those animals have mocked at their shots, and have remained walking about, and of fresh meat we have had but the desire.

The road now became more difficult. The hills were rough and steep to climb, the descents long and wearisome. "It seemed more like sliding than walking," sighs the friar, "and all the earth so movable that it seemed dust, in which the beasts stuck." And again he writes:

Now hills, slopes and barrancas  offered, and at the end of five hours we saw that we had to descend to a depth so great and precipitous that it gave one the horrors to look at it. Every one dismounted, and, half walking and half dragging, falling and getting up, we descended to the valley.

Water also became more scarce, more difficult to find. Frequently they had only a small quantity which they carried in bags of skin from preceding places. The faithful sergeant, Ortega, went two or three days' journey in advance, searching for water. Often after laboriously digging for the precious fluid, it was found brackish, tepid, or insufficient to supply the needs of either man or beast. The neophytes continued to desert, Junipero writes sorrowfully:

Thus little by little we go losing our companions, more necessary to us than some think, as only he who sees it from near could form a worthy conception of how they work, ill-fed and without salary.

In the midst of these troubles the travelers were cheered by a glimpse of the "sea of the Contra-costa," from the eminence of a high hill. Also, the discovery of a rich silver mine by one of the muleteers lent a pleasurable excitement to their toilsome journey. Fray Junipero's comment on this discovery is laconic enough. "Much good may it do them," he said with true Franciscan indifference to riches.

In strong contrast to this lack of interest, he displays a keen appreciation of the many natural beauties they now encountered on their journey. As they drew nearer the more fertile country of Alta California, he notes the many beautiful flowers.

And that there should be nothing lacking in this line [he says with a simple, charming delight] today, on arriving at the camping place we have met the queen of them all, which is the Rose of Castile. When I write this I have before me a branch of rose bush with three roses opened, others in bud, and more than six unpetaled. Blessed be He who created them.

He gives the place the poetical name of the "Arroyo of the Roses," and adds, "It is in so many places rank with Rosebushes full of flowers that well could an apothecary extract his profit."

The travelers resumed their laborious march over steep hills, through deep ravines, till one evening, worn and covered with the fine dust of the country, they descended into a well-watered plain, which spread out before them like a shining garden of Eden. Here they gladly rested for a day, that the animals might graze luxuriously on the green grass and have water sufficient to quench their thirst. "The men," said Junipero, "also thought to have their refreshment with fishing and hunting." Again they proved themselves indifferent sportsmen, for the friar assures us that" the fishers caught never a fish nor the hunters hit even one sure shot at the jack rabbit and cotton tails that were crossing the plain."

Portola and Junipero in the meantime had rather the best of it for they remained quietly in camp and were refreshed with "chia-water" which the natives brought them, "giving us with joviality, great pleasure and consolation such as we had not had till here."

After mass the next day a little market scene was enacted:

The soldiers and Gentiles were trading little white handkerchiefs, which they greatly crave, for various strings of fresh fish, in which they well showed themselves not to be a bit fools, because if the handkerchief was small, also the fish were less that they gave for it, without haggling or disputes doing any good.

Junipero describes these savages as having "beautiful figures."

The women go very honestly covered, but the men naked like the others in totum. They wear their quivers over the shoulder. As they are usually described they wear a kind of crown of Beaver Skin or of other fine fur on their head. They wear the hair cut, in a form of perruque and plastered with white clay with some cleanliness. May God give them that of the soul Amen.

A little later on the journey, after a two days' march we have a picture of the friar, seated on the ground, surrounded by a company of men, women, and children, teaching them to say "Jesus Maria" and holding the while, carefully, in his arms a little naked, nursing babe, which one of the women had thrust upon him. "I give them what I can, I caress them as best I can, and thus we are passing on, as now there is no way of doing better work." Junipero's feeling for the Californian Indians was one of extreme gentleness, kindliness, and sympathy. While other missionary fathers comment on their stupidity, their laziness, their treachery, their inordinate love of amusement, he speaks only of their "affability and joyousness." Of the coast Indians he writes, "All the Gentiles have pleased me, but these in especial have stolen my heart from me." They came near to stealing more than the good friar's heart. These naked children of the wilderness manifested a curious mania for clothing or for "any little trifle that they imagine conduces to their adornment." The Spaniards found themselves in the awkward position of having to exercise extreme vigilance to retain intact the very garments they were wearing. For food they cared but little, "because," declared Junipero, "they are stuffed, and accordingly are fat; and the Senor Governor would like most of them for grenadiers, on account of their lofty stature." They made repeated efforts to take Junipero's habit from him. They caught him by the sleeve and with signs indicated their desire that he remove his priestly frock and bestow it upon them. "If I had consented to all who proposed this to me," he said with quiet amusement, "there would be, quite a big enough community of gentile friars."

But the characters of the Indians changed, as the expedition drew nearer Alta California. They now combined a marked maliciousness with their many demonstrations. The Spaniards soon realized that these savages were neither so friendly or trustworthy as those they had previously encountered. They were within a few days' travel of San Diego. The march was often over a succession of difficult barrancas, with banks all soft and slippery and prickly pear abounding everywhere. Once the day's journey lasted more than six hours of such toilsome marching that Junipero declared it was for him "the most molestful day's journey that we have had." Besides the fatigue, the travelers had to endure the vexation of being followed by armed bands of Indians, who amused themselves darting with incredible swiftness in and out between the mules, the soldiers and the muleteers, impeding the march.

To all and repeated remonstrances the savages responded with derisive laughter and increased efforts to annoy. Sometimes they would withdraw, only to suddenly reappear and swoop down upon the little cavalcade with roars of laughter. They did not desist from this amusement until they themselves grew tired. When night fell camp was made in a valley on the banks of a little stream which tumbled joyously into the foam-flecked sea. But even here the weary Spaniards were not allowed to remain in unvexed tranquility. Hordes of men, women, and children surrounded them. The behavior of the savages resembled a conclave of jabbering, grinning monkeys. They imitated their unwilling hosts in every minute action; they pressed themselves close against them, the better to abstract bits of coveted clothing. The patience displayed by this little band of Spaniards is worthy of comment. They did not even resort to that effectual styptic to Indian intrusion, the firing in the air of musketry. The management of this second land expedition by Governor Portola bespeaks him a high-minded, large-hearted man, possessing a notable ascendency over the rough, reckless soldiers under him It was this which enabled him to march successfully through a long stretch of country densely populated with savages without an incident occurring derogatory to the name of Christianity.

Portola himself did not escape the importunities of the savages. They evinced an ardent desire for his leather jacket, his waistcoat, breeches, in fact, for every garment he wore. From Junipero they begged his habit and bothered him continually to give them his spectacles. The friar good-naturedly, but unwisely, took off his glasses to permit one of his tormentors to examine them. He writes:

God knows what it cost me to recover them again, because he fled with them. At last after a thousand difficulties I recovered them after they had been in the hands of the women who hankered after them.

Before the Spaniards left this camping place they were cheered by unexpected tidings from their countrymen in the port of San Diego:

Two Gentiles were seen coming anew in the distance, and one of them had on a blue cotton, as it was a new thing until here, because we had not seen even a thread of clothing, we waited his arrival with anxiety, as by the sign we all guessed he was the bearer of good tidings. So it was, because they told us that they came from San Diego, where that clothing had been given them, and that although they had spent two days on the road, it was because they had been detained by fishing. They gave us news of everything, although much of that which they told us seemed to us incredible, such as that there were two boats there and so many padres. And that which pleased us most was their saying that they had met the sergeant with his Companion on the road, who, as I have said, went on ahead exploring sites and watering places for the regulations of the Day's Journeys, and that since yesterday he would already be in San Diego.

This proved to be all true, for the next day Ortega appeared and with him were ten soldiers of the first land division. They had been sent by Captain Rivera y Moncada to escort Governor Portola and his expedition to San Diego. The new-comers were hailed with joy; their compatriots crowded about them, listening eagerly to the budget of news they had to tell.

Portola had halted one day in camp to refresh the beasts. He now determined to push on in; advance with his servant and eight soldiers. The remainder of the company were ordered to follow as expeditiously as the weary pack animals would enable them. Fray Junipero, if we read aright between the lines of his journal, was near the point of exhaustion during the last two days of this journey. Fearfully, painfully he worked his way over steep eminences and rough passes. There were many barrancas to cross which appeared to him more difficult and dangerous than any they had hitherto encountered.

Although I passed all of them praying and trying to do acts of conformity, my heart came to be compressed much, seeing danger in each one, and that when coming out of one, it was to cross soon without rest another. But like all things of this world, they came to an end and after a little more than three hours of walking we arrived at a rancheria very populous with Gentiles.

Here Junipero had hoped to rest, but Ortega, retaining a vivid recollection of his experience in that rancheria, urged the tired friar onward. After an hour's additional marching they halted for the night "by a beautiful brook of good water." On the morning of July t, 1769, a little before noon, Fray Junipero and the second land expedition arrived at San Diego, having traveled forty-six days from Velicata. When from the eminence of a hill they descried the port, the soldiers exultingly announced their arrival with volley after volley of musketry. Far below on the smiling shores of San Diego Bay came an answering salute, while the two ships riding in the harbor thundered forth deep salvos of welcome, which, reverberating against the hills, echoed far out over the tranquil sea. So were finally united in San Diego the four divisions of that great expedition organized by Galvez and Fray Junipero, which was to settle California and add a notable page to the long record Spain has established as one of the greatest colonizing forces in the world.

San Diego and Sailor Sorrows

Before continuing the narrative of Fray Junipero's arrival in Alta California, we will cast a glance over the events that occurred there a couple of months previous to his coming.

More than one hundred fifty years had elapsed since the blue waters of San Diego Bay had felt the keel of a foreign ship, or their shores had echoed to the masterful tread of the conquering white man. Since the autumn of 1603, when Sebastian Vizcaino, with his two hundred men, landed from the Tres Reyes  and for ten days startled out of their indolent lethargy the San Diegueno Indians, no European had disturbed the aboriginal solitude of these shores. The solitude was at last broken by the good ship San Antonio, when she dropped anchor in San Diego Bay in the month of April, 1769. The San Antonio, the reader may remember, had left the peninsula more than a month after her capitana, the San Carlos, had sailed northward, yet she was the first to arrive at San Diego. The natives beheld with admiration, mingled with awe, the swiftly advancing ship, tossing the billows from her bows with calm indifference, like some mighty monster of the sea. They did, indeed, mistake her for a Gigantic whale; then, as she swept into the harbor with snowy pinions, and proudly rode at anchor near their shores, they trembled with fear. She was, they thought, the supernatural agency of portentous happenings to themselves, for simultaneous with here arrival occurred an eclipse of the sun and an earthquake. To be sure, these phenomena were not remarked by the Spaniards, yet when the Indians later told the tale, it was given credence and Fray Junipero firmly believed that the padres' teachings were in this manner heralded by heaven to the savages.

The San Antonio  was, as we know, commanded by the Majorcan pilot, Juan Perez, the most skillful pilot who in those days saw service on the California coast. He was amazed to discover at San Diego no signs of the flagship, nor any indication that the first land expedition was near. He would have liked to continue the exploration up the coast, pending the arrival of the San Carlos. But Galvez's instructions had been explicit in this regard. Whichever vessel arrived first in port was ordered to wait for her companion vessel twenty days, after which lapse of time, she was to proceed up the coast and search for the harbor of Monterey. It was a tedious period of quiescence for those on board the San Antonio. They could make no attempt to land and explore the country for the temper of the natives was not known, and the San Antonio  carried no soldiers. Moreover, Galvez had expressly commanded that all unnecessary risks should be avoided. Finally, when eighteen dull, uneventful days had passed, and Perez had begun preparations for leaving port, the San Carlos  hove in sight.

The vessel had been one hundred ten days reaching her destination. She dropped anchor, but did not lower a boat. An ominous silence seemed to reign over the ship. That something was amiss was apparent. Perez rowed over to the vessel, on which the cheerful tumult of a late arrival in port was so conspicuously absent. His investigation soon revealed the fact that the captain and all on board were half dead with the scurvy. His own men went promptly to work, putting up sail tents on the beach and removing the sick from the stricken ship. The friars, assisted by all who were able and by Doctor Pratt, who, though himself smitten with the disease, continued to perform his duties, worked day and night caring for the sick. But their ceaseless efforts were futile. The pale phantom, Death, made his abode in the camp and summoned victim after victim to join his grim ranks. Perez's men now took the infection. Soon the canvas settlement on the beach was converted by the corruption of death into a charnel house. Soldiers, sailors, mechanics, succumbed with fearful rapidity to the dread enemy. Of the San Carlos'  crew scarcely one remained. For two wretched weeks those who were able to crawl about dug pits in the sand in which to bury the dead, and from this gloomy task returned only to resume their feeble care of the dying. Such was the grim situation that confronted Captain Rivera y Moncada when he reached San Diego with the first land expedition. He was greeted by a few hollow-eyed, anxious men, the pitiful remnant of the sturdy company, who daring, eager, and full of hope had sailed away from La Paz to conquer souls for heaven and land for the Spanish king.

Rivera's arrival brought relief to the survivors. He immediately set about to remove this plague-stricken canvas settlement among the sand dunes by the sea. At the foot of a hill a few miles to the north he selected a site for a new camp. Here, inside a hastily constructed fort, he had huts built for the men and corrals for the animals. Within three days after his arrival, the sick were transported from the desolate pest place on the beach to the clean, fresh camp. Whatever failings and weaknesses Rivera may have manifested later, on this occasion, at least, he proved himself a man of sound sense, of prompt action, and energy. For the next six weeks friars, officers, and soldiers were busily occupied in nursing the sick and in unloading the San Antonio. At the end of that time Governor Portola and Fray Junipero arrived with the second land expedition. The welcome accorded them was, as we have seen, a joyful one and indicated a vastly improved condition of affairs.

It was a picturesque assemblage that had gathered on the fair shores of San Diego Bay, that July day in the year of our Lord 1769. There were the military and naval officers of the expedition, their brilliant uniforms somewhat torn and tarnished from the rough usage on the journey; the five Franciscan friars, their long brown gowns tucked up under hempen girdles, their shaven heads ruthlessly exposed to the rays of the summer sun; there was the sorry remnant of Lieut. Fages' Catalan Volunteers, and Captain Rivera's soldatos de cuera  (leather jacket soldiers) in their sleeveless cuirasses, or jackets, made of half a dozen layers of deerskins which offered an almost impenetrable barrier to the arrows of the Indians. Suspended on the left arm of each soldier was a shield made of several thicknesses of oxhide. When mounted he had also

. . . a leather apron fastened to the pommel of his saddle and falling on both sides so as to cover his thighs and protect his legs as well against arrows as against thorns and branches in passing through thick underbrush and chaparral. His offensive arms were the lance, the broadsword and sabre and the carbine or short musket which when not in actual use were generally carried in a leather case.

Here also were the few Baja California neophytes who had not deserted the expedition en route; the crew of the San Antonio  and the sole survivors of the San Carlos  crew, namely, the cook and one seaman. To these we must add the weary animals bunched together in the corrals. This constituted the entire number of those who came to conquer California for Castile and Christianity in the year 1769.

Let us pause a moment and consider more closely the leaders of these early California pilgrims. The chief in command was, as we know, Don Caspar de Portola, captain of dragoons and governor of California. He was kind-hearted, affable, careful of the health of his subordinates, slow to quarrel, a man to like and admire for the qualities of his heart rather than for the brilliancy of his intellect, which was, indeed, of a somewhat mediocre order. Next in command came the young Lieutenant of the Catalan Volunteers, Don Pedro Fages. He was gifted with some wit and no tact, was blustering, high-tempered, unimpeachably brave, and heartily disliked by his soldiers. Though he was second in command, there was with the expedition another officer, his superior in point of rank and years. This was Don Fernando Rivera y Moncada, senor captain and former commandant of the royal presidio  at Loreto, an elderly man of trustful countenance, full of resentment at being supplanted from his rightful position. He was distinguished by a certain slowness of intellect, but as brave and honest, withal, as any officer to be found in his Majesty's service. Last of the military officials was the non-commissioned officer, Sergeant Jose Ortega. He was well liked by the friars, possessed a certain practical good sense, and could be relied upon to perform his duty to the best of his ability, which was, if not of a conspicuously high order, far from being despicable. The first in authority to represent the church in Alta California was Fray Junipero Serra. He was at this time about fifty-seven years old. We have but to look at the picture of his sensitive, delicate face to note the strong will, the sweet temper, and the intelligence therein. Of the four friars with Fray Junipero the best known is his friend, Fray Juan Crespi. His humility and piety earned for him in his college days in Palma the sobriquet, El Beato. He was a simple-hearted man, who found his happiness in following in the footsteps of a pious leader, blessed in that his leader was his lifelong friend.

The first Sunday in Alta California, which fell on the day following Junipero's arrival, was celebrated with all possible pomp. An altar was erected, and in the open air amid the scenic setting of beautiful hills and bay, the first pilgrims of Alta California, chanted a solemn thanksgiving mass. Their music was the thunder of exploding gun-powder, its smoke their incense offering to their patron saint, San Jose. Of the two hundred nineteen men who had left the peninsula, but one hundred twenty-six remained to take part in the celebration. We can readily imagine the emotion of these men—the memory of their dead comrades, so recently buried, still with them, the future with its unknown dangers vividly before them and the sustaining enthusiasm of the adventure, for most of them, already wholly gone., A conference was held after mass by the leaders of the expedition to deliberate on a new plan of action, as it was manifestly impossible to adhere to the original program. The scurvy had decimated their forces, destroyed their crew, thus rendering futile any attempt to explore by sea the port of Monterey. It was decided to send the San Antonio  manned by a few convalescent sailors back to San Blas, to recruit a fresh crew for herself and for the San Carlos. She was also to bring back additional supplies. Fray Junipero with the sick, a small guard, and Doctor Pratt, was to remain at San Diego while the main part of the expedition, with all the officers, pushed on to Monterey. These plans being formulated, preparations to carry them into effect were immediately begun. All this Junipero, three days after his arrival, wrote to Palou, giving at the same time the concatenation of causes which rendered so disastrous the voyage of the San Carlos.

Hail Jesus, Mary and Joseph—Rev. Father Reader and President Fr. Francisco Palou:

I hope your reverence is in good health and is working with much consolation and success in the establishment of the new mission of Loreto and of the others, and that soon the reinforcement of new ministers will arrive, that all the missions may remain in good order for the consolation of every one. I, thank God, arrived the day before yesterday, the first of the month, at this port of San Diego, truly a beautiful one and with reason famous. Here I found those who had set off before me both by sea and land, except those who died. The brethren, Fray Crespi, Vizcaino, Parron, Gomez, are here, and with myself all well, thank God, Here also are the two vessels, but the San Carlos  without sailors, all having died of scurvy except one and the cook. The' San Antonio, alias el Principe (whose captain is D Juan Perez, our countryman from the river Palma), arrived here twenty days before the other, although she sailed a month and a half later. When she was about to leave for Monterey the San Carlos  appeared, and in nursing her crew her own became infected with the scourge and eight died. The result is that it has been decided that the San Antonio  shall return to San Blas to fetch sailors for herself and for the San Carlos. Let us see how the San Joseph  arrives, and if she comes in good condition, then the last will be the first to so arrive. [The San Joseph  was never heard from; it was supposed she was lost at sea.]

The delay of the San Carlos  was due to two causes. The first was the lack of water owing to the leaking of the water tanks; of the four tanks, not one contained any, this together with the bad water obtained on the coast, occasioned sickness among the crew. The second was the error which all were in, respecting the situation of this port. It was supposed by everyone, even by his Excellency (Galvez) that it was in 33 or 34 degrees of north latitude, some authors saying the one and some the other. Strict orders were given, to Captain Vila—and to the other—to keep out in the open sea till they should arrive in 34 degrees and then make shore and search for the port. As, however, in rei veritate  the port is no higher than 32° 34', according to the observations which these gentlemen have now made, they went far beyond it, and when they searched for it could not find it. For these reasons the voyage was much longer than was necessary. As the sickness of the people became daily worse from cold and bad water, they must all have perished had they not soon discovered the port, for they were quite unable to launch the boat to procure more water or to do anything whatever for their preservation. The Father Fernando did everything in his power to assist the sick, and although he arrived much reduced in flesh, he had not the disease and is now well. . . .

As for myself the journey here has been a truly happy one, and without any special hardship to my health. I left the frontier infirm in foot and leg, but by God's help with each day I improved and continued my daily march as far as such injuries would permit. Now the foot is all well like the other; only from) the ankle to the middle of the leg it is as it was before, one sore, but without swelling, or more pain than it has always given me from time to time—in fine there is no cause for anxiety.

The remainder of Junipero's letter is given to a description of the country through which they traveled and the character and appearance of the Indians they encountered. He concludes with the assurance that the brethren with him are well and contented, and with sending cordial greetings to all his friends.

I pray God may preserve your life and health many years. From this port and intended mission of San Diego in California Septentrional, July 3rd, 1769. B. L. M. de V. R. (I kiss the hands of your reverence.) Your affectionate Brother and Servant Fr. Junipero Serra.

This letter was sent by the San Antonio, which sailed southward with her crew of convalescent mariners a few days later. Nine of the crew died at sea before the ship reached San Blas. Soon after the San Antonio  sailed, Portola with sixty-four men, including all of the officers, together with the friars, Crespi and Gomez, started overland to search for the port of Monterey. Only eight soldiers appear to have been left to guard the San Diego camp, where Fray Junipero, two friars, and Doctor Pratt watched over the convalescent. Captain Vila of the crewless San Carlos, remained to guard his ship. Junipero determined to lose no further time in founding the first mission in the new land. Where now stands the old town of San Diego, he raised the cross, blessed it, and dedicated the mission to the honored Franciscan, San Diego de Alcala.

[Illustration] from Junipero Serra by A. H. Fitch


It was the sixteenth day of July, the day of the "Triumph of the Holy Cross "celebrated by the Spanish church as the anniversary of the great victory won by the Christians over the Moors in 1212. Junipero felt that this was a good omen. He hoped, said Palou with artless piety, "to put to flight all the hosts of Hell and subject to the mild yoke of our holy faith the barbarity of the Gentile Dieguenos." So was formally founded not only the first mission, but the first settlement of civilized persons in the state of California. Little did the naked, curious savages realize as they watched with half-amused, half-scornful interest each movement of the white-faced strangers, and listened full of wonder to the pealing of the great, burnished bells, that the first blow had been struck depriving them forever of their land and their liberty.

Missionary Hardships

California is a country marvelously rich, beautiful, and fertile. It has little in common with her sister peninsula of the same name, unless it is that the sun shines with something of equal warmth and brilliancy in them both. In the newer California nature has been wonderfully prodigal in her gifts. This was particularly true at the time of the Spanish occupation. On the foothills, herds of mountain sheep grazed leisurely, and where pyramids of rock were piled high in naked grandeur, leaped swift-footed antelope or deer. Over the lakes circled immense flocks of wild fowl; the cool mountain streams and rivers were filled with trout and salmon, "of a flavor that takes from Lent half the merit of abstinence," declared an American divine, half a century later. Great fields of wild oats, where the tufted quail made their covert, ripened annually, ungarnered, in the sun. Innumerable berry-bearing bushes and grape-yielding vines furnished food for birds and man. The valleys were carpeted with flowers of gorgeous hue, and long stretches of magnificent live oaks, unobstructed by underbrush, formed natural parks in which to roam.

Yet in this fragrant, sun-kissed land, where winter is as spring, heavy with sweet blossoms, where the overflowing bounties of nature reduce man's struggle for a livelihood to a minimum, lived a people lower, more degraded, than can be found elsewhere in the whole North American continent. Barbarism was not without its grandeur among the Indians of the Atlantic slope. The Delawares, the Iroquois, the Hurons, the Cherokees were valiant, resolute of spirit, proud, nobly proportioned, and possessing an intellect which excited more often our admiration than our contempt. But on the other side of the great mountain ramparts, in the radiant land between the Sierra and the Pacific, the natives were sunk almost to the level of the brute creation. There is little to remind one of the other North American Indians in the character or appearance of the Californian. Some ethnologists even claim that the Californian Indians are descended from a totally different race. It is impossible to reach any definite conclusion regarding their origin. All such conclusions can be based only upon speculation. It would, however, seem unlikely that the Californians differed in their descent from other races living on the continent at the time of its discovery by Columbus. Though there may have been races extinct before the coming of the Indians as we know them, it is not impossible that the present North American Indian is of Asiatic stock. He bears in many respects a striking resemblance to the Chinese. This resemblance, while it is more marked in the tribes nearer the Atlantic coast, can still be traced in the Eskimos and Kamchatkans. That detached families of these peoples later left their bleak, northern home and wandered southward in quest of summer skies, finally reached the warm and fertile land of California and settled there, seems not improbable.

In this winterless climate, where the days were balmy and always young, the dewy nights cool and refreshing, where man's simple wants were supplied by nature's prodigality without the necessity of great exertion, the Indians soon developed a slothfulness of mind and body surpassing that of any other people. One historian claims for them, however, the possession of intellectual faculties capable of considerable development.

Their stupidity was the result rather of mental torpidity caused by idleness and the absence of those kinds of stimulus which in other lands have produced civilization than any absolute limitations of their natural forces.

The Californians were slothful, yet inordinately fond of amusement; good-natured, yet treacherous; in their habits and their persons inexpressibly filthy; fond of bathing, yet delighting after their bath to wallow in the dirt. The men went usually nude, often painting themselves in grotesque stripes of red and black. The women wore an apron-like garment of fringed tule grass; they were tatooed from childhood on the face, breast, and arms, using for this purpose a thorn of the cactus, and a kind of charcoal made from the century plant. The complexion of the Californian was nearer black than brown; his forehead low and, retreating; his mouth large, with thick lips and prominent cheek bones; his nose flat. He wore his long, straight hair twisted into a topknot, or loose and flowing. His dwelling was of the most primitive kind, consisting of an excavation some three or four feet deep and ten to thirty feet wide; around the brink willow poles were sunk and drawn together at the top, thus forming the conical shape of the tepee. Excessive indolence made the men indifferent hunters. Rather than chase the deer and antelope on the mountain slopes, they fed on grasshoppers, frogs, rats, mice, skunks, or larger game if it happened to come their way. On the coast, a stranded whale and fish formed their favorite diet. Their principal sustenance however was obtained from acorns, which they ground into a kind of flour and baked. It was declared by travelers to be not unpalatable.

They showed some ingenuity in their manufacture of baskets, in which they cooked their food. These baskets were made of fine grass, so closely woven as to be completely water-tight. They were frequently ornamented with bright feathers and bits of mother-of-pearl taken from the interior of shells. When the activity of their minds was quickened under the tutelage of the Franciscan Fathers, they wove delicate patterns into their baskets. A particularly pretty design was a butterfly with folded wings. The spotted snake, garter snake, water scorpion, and deer teeth were also skillfully represented. The baskets served them for a variety of purposes, but principally for water vessels, cooking vessels, and drinking cups. When a squaw desired to prepare a meal for her lord, she placed the raw food in a bowl-shaped basket, into which she had previously poured water; she then threw red hot stones into the receptacle in quick succession until its contents were deemed sufficiently boiled.

The Californians were divided into innumerable petty tribes, each one of which spoke a mutually unintelligible language, and this even when living within fifteen or twenty miles of each other. Their general characteristics varied but slightly. Polygamy prevailed in most of the tribes. It was not uncommon for a man to wed an entire family of sisters and even the mother if she chanced to be a widow. In this particular the Dieguenos and their near neighbors showed a slight improvement over the more northern tribes, for their chiefs only were permitted a plurality of women; though others of the community were privileged to change their wives as often as they desired. There is a belief among some writers on California that her people were cowardly, easily intimidated, and as easily subjugated. The Californian was not a coward. His understanding may have been naturally feeble, his disposition, naturally treacherous, but he was a brave fighter, though his extraordinary slothfulness not infrequently kept him from engaging in conflicts. The training a Dieguenos youth received before he was adjudged worthy to become a warrior was more than Spartan in its severity. He was whipped until he became unconscious; he was then placed upon a nest of virulent ants, which were roused to anger by constant stirring with sticks. The ants, infuriated by this treatment, swarmed from their nest and crawled over every portion of the youth's body, even into his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, causing the most excruciating suffering. If this ordeal was unflinchingly endured, the youth was pronounced worthy of becoming a warrior. His weapon, besides the invariable bow and arrow, was a javelin four or five feet in length, made of wood and sharply flint-tipped. The men displayed considerable skill in their manner of hurling this weapon. The arrows were sometimes poisoned with the venom of serpents or the juice of a poisonous plant. The custom of scalping was not universal, though a habit of amputating for trophies the hands, feet, or head of a fallen enemy prevailed. The French explorer, La Perouse, tells of another custom still more revolting.

When they had vanquished and killed on the battle field a chief or any warrior, renowned for his bravery, they would eat some portion of him, not from hatred or revenge, but rather as a homage which they rendered his courage and in the belief that such a nutrition would augment their own valor.

The manner of dealing with their own wounded or sick was sufficiently simple. In cases of fever or similar ailments, cold water or an emetic was used, or sometimes . . .

. . . the sufferer was placed naked upon dry sand or ashes with a fire close to his feet and a bowl of water or gruel at his head and then left for nature to take its course, while his friends and relatives sit around and howl him into life or into eternity.

Their medicine men were commonly sorcerers who held intercourse with supernatural beings and chanted incantations. They frequently extorted a kind of blackmail from their victims by threatening them with evil. They were, however, familiar with the benefits of certain herbs, which they crushed and applied as poultices to wounds, and they also understood the uses of the sweat bath. The Californians had no domestic animals. They had never seen a horse, mule, or cow until the Spaniards entered their country; even dogs, cats, and the ordinary barnyard fowl were unknown to them. In regard to their religion they can scarcely be said to have formulated a system or anything approaching to one. The majority of the tribes venerated the coyote. An unroofed enclosure was their place of worship. Here they placed an image of the god "Chinigchinich "made from the skin of a coyote and stuffed to resemble the living animal. "Chinigchinich "came down from the stars to instruct them in many things, but principally how to dance and, having accomplished this, returned again to his home in the skies. This heaven was not the North American Indian's "happy hunting ground "but a place where people would live forever "eating, drinking and dancing and having wives in abundance." Father Boscana says "such was the delight with which they took part in their festivities that they often continued dancing day and night and sometimes entire weeks."

This then was the object of their existence, to eat, to drink, to dance, to have wives in abundance. Such briefly were the savages, for whose sake Fray Junipero Serra had painfully journeyed long stretches of desert country. A great wave of compassion for these wretched, depraved creatures swept over him. He came amongst them prepared, nay longing, to lay down his life to secure their salvation. If there was a touch of pious selfishness in his fervent desire for a crown of martyrdom, he was none the less animated by a magnificent pity, a wonderful love and sympathy toward these children of the wilderness.

The Dieguenos were not a shy folk. They flocked daily in large numbers to the little settlement and watched with augmenting curiosity the movements of the Spaniards. They did not confine themselves however, to this harmless occupation; being expert thieves and apparently enamored of all kinds of cloth, they succeeded in abstracting such quantities that the Spaniards bade fair to retain nothing but the clothes on their backs. It is strange that dress, the most cumbersome paraphernalia imposed on man by the artificial forms of civilization, should be the object of the greatest envy of unburdened savages.

The Spaniards soon found the situation harassing. The number of sick was constantly increasing. The few who remained well were unable to adequately guard the missions and care for their stricken companions. Fortunately the savages shunned the food of the Spaniards, attributing to it the cause of the disease which had so decimated their ranks. If a morsel of sweetmeat or dried fruit was placed in an Indian's mouth, he promptly spat it out again, as if it had been poison. While the Dieguenos refused the material food of the Spaniards, they showed equal persistency in declining the spiritual fare Junipero was so anxious to bestow on them. Day and night they haunted the mission, yet not one among them evinced the smallest inclination to become a convert. They continued their thieving in the most audacious manner. In vain the Spaniards tried persuasion, threats, and the noise of firearms. The Indians only laughed and scoffed at them and grew bolder in their depredations.

One night in their balsas  (crafts constructed of tule, the most primitive means of navigation found among any people), they paddled out to the San Carlos  and cut away portions of the sail. This raid made it necessary to detach two of the soldiers from the mission and place them on board the vessel, thus diminishing the small guard on shore. The Indians laughed at this precaution. They determined on a grand plundering raid in which every ranchero in the neighborhood was to join. It was a hot day in the middle of August. Because it was a feast day in the church, Padre Parron went out to the ship to say mass, while Fray Junipero assisted by Padre Vizcaino celebrated mass in the mission.

The services were concluded and Junipero had withdrawn to his hut when the savages with fierce yells swarmed into the mission. They were armed with bows and arrows, flint-headed javelins, and two-edged wooden swords that cut like steel. They seized everything they could lay their hands upon; even the coverings of the sick and dying did not escape their greed. The force which had to meet this formidable horde of thieves consisted of four soldiers, a blacksmith, a carpenter, and a boy servant. The savages let fly a volley of arrows. The little handful of Spaniards fought bravely. The blacksmith in particular, we are told, was extraordinarily valiant, which was afterwards piously attributed to his having come from mass where he had received communion. Without stopping to put on his leather cuirass he rushed out, shouting as he fired, "Live the faith of Jesus Christ and may these dogs His enemies die!"

Junipero and Vizcaino remained in their hut while the fight was in progress, fervently praying that no lives be lost among either Spaniards or Gentiles. Junipero was not a fighting priest. That he was not wanting in personal courage, in intrepid daring, his life in California conclusively proves. It was characteristic of him that he would die rather than send an unconverted Indian into eternity and the jaws of hell, for that such would be the fate of every unbaptized savage was his profound conviction.

While the fierce conflict was raging outside Vizcaino cautiously raised the blanket which did duty for a door and peered out. He received an arrow wound in his hand. He had scarcely retreated from this dangerous point of observation when the boy servant, Joseph Maria, staggered into the hut. He threw himself, bleeding and panting, at Junipero's feet.

"Padre," he gasped, with his dying breath, "absolve me, for the Indians have killed me."

The savages were finally put to flight. Their loss, though not great, was sufficient to inspire them with a wholesome respect for their opponents. They were not again inclined to test the supremacy of firearms over flint-headed arrows and javelins. The Spaniards' loss consisted of one killed and three wounded, among the latter being the valiant blacksmith. A stockade was now thrown around the mission, a precautionary measure which hitherto had been strangely neglected. The Indians did not remain long absent. They returned, bearing their wounded comrades, with the firm belief that the healing capacity of the Spaniards' medicine was in direct ratio to the destructive power of their firearms, which they called "creatures of thunder." They were received kindly and the surgeon bound up their wounds. Junipero, by means of gifts, induced a boy of fifteen to remain in the mission to learn Spanish. The youth proved himself an apt scholar. The Dieguenos spoke a language soft, harmonious, and containing all the sounds of the Latin alphabet. This similarity made it possible for the savage to adjust his tongue to the Spanish language with comparative facility and accuracy.

The Lord's Prayer in the Dieguenos language is as follows:

Nagua anall amai tacaguach naguanetunxp mamamulpo cayuca am amaibo mamatam meyayam canaao amat amaibo quexuic echasan naguagui Rana chonnaquin nipil meneque pachis echeyuchapo nagua quexuic naguaich facaguaihpo namechamel anipuch uch guelich cuaipo Nacuiuch-pambo-cuchlich-cuiatpo-Ramat, Napuija.

When the boy understood what was said to him Junipero urged him to go among his tribal friends and seek a parent willing to bring his infant son to the mission for baptism. The friar promised that the child should be given a dress, such as the Spaniards wore, and thereafter be considered their kinsman. The youth departed on his errand and soon returned accompanied by a man bearing an infant in his arms. Behind them came a horde of curious savages. No sooner did Fray Junipero see the procession than with great joy he summoned the few able-bodied soldiers in the mission to assist at this first baptism in Alta California. He took the child in his arms, covered it with a piece of cloth, and began the ceremonies. When he was about to sprinkle holy water over the little one's head, the Indian snatched the infant from his arms and fled. Fray Junipero, aghast at such sacrilege, stood like a statue, still holding the shell in his outstretched hand.

The soldiers were furious. They regarded the flight as an insult to their religion and their priest. There appears to have been more indignation felt by the Spaniards at this act of the Indians, than at their numerous pilfering raids and the recent attack on their lives. The soldiers clamored for revenge; it was with difficulty Junipero prevented them from going in pursuit of the fleeing savages. This incident was a bitter disappointment to Junipero. Even years afterwards he could not speak of the babe who had so nearly become a "child of God " without tears starting to his eyes. Although the Indians continued to come fearlessly to the mission, they obstinately refused to fall into "the apostolic and evangelic net," so temptingly spread out before them by the indefatigable friar.

In the meanwhile the sickness among the Spaniards continued to spread. Many died, eight of the Catalan Volunteers among the number. Junipero himself was smitten by the scourge, but it does not appear that he was long disabled. Vizcaino suffered more and more from the wound in his hand received on the day of the fight. In the hastily constructed huts and canvas-covered sheds that shielded them from the intense heat of the sun lay a score or more wretched soldiers and sailors dying of the scurvy. Before many months had passed, the little graveyard beyond the palisades was filled with half the number of those who had been left by Portola in San Diego.

The strength of the absent explorers had also been severely tried. They had suffered many hardships. Sixteen of their number had lost the use of their limbs from scurvy. They had to be fastened to wooden frames and strapped to the backs of mules. Portola and Rivera had not escaped the sickness. To these physical trials had been added the discouragement of failure. They had journeyed far in search of Sebastian Vizcaino's famoso Puerto  and had not found it. As a matter of fact, they had more than once gazed down disconsolately on the very harbor they were seeking and, failing to recognize it, had continued their; northward march. Twice they had encamped in the shadow of the Santa Lucia Mountain on the shores of the beautiful Carmel Bay, less than five miles from the port of Monterey. To be sure, their failure to recognize the port led to the discovery of the great bay of San Francisco, upon whose waters hitherto no European eyes had ever rested. Palou considered the finding of the magnificent harbor in the light of a miracle. He relates that when discussing with Galvez the names of the prospective missions of Alta California, Fray Junipero had said, "And for our Father Saint Francis is there no mission? "And the visitador  had replied: "If Saint Francis wants a mission let him cause his port to be found and it will be put there."

The saint apparently readily accepted the challenge, for, selecting the finest port in the country as his own, he promptly led the explorers to it. After this discovery Portola's party retraced their steps to the bay of Carmel, upon the shores of which they encamped two weeks, diligently searching the surrounding country for the port of Monterey. The provisions were almost exhausted. They were reduced to eating gulls, even a mule was killed to supply them with food, though of this latter fare only a few Catalan Volunteers and the Baja Californian neophytes availed themselves.

Finally Portola, after a consultation with his officers, decided to abandon the search and return to San Diego. He caused a large wooden cross to be erected on a knoll near the beach, bearing the inscription: "Dig at the foot and thou wilt find writing." The cross could be seen far out at sea, and was intended to attract the attention of the San Jose, or any ship that might sail up the coast searching for the port of Monterey. The buried letter contained an account of the expedition, also a request that the commander of the vessel sail down the coast and attempt to communicate with the land party and bring it succor. Another cross, bearing the same inscription was set up on the shores of the very harbor they were seeking. This accomplished, Portola began his return march to San Diego. As they drew near their destination, the explorer speculated much concerning the fate of the comrades from whom they had parted six months before. Would they find them alive? Would the transports be in the harbor? Or would they find the San Diego settlement abandoned?

Each one of us [wrote Fray Juan Crespi in his journal] rambled on according to his disposition and mood, and in truth all concurred in the belief that if those we left had endured the cruelty of sickness and death there would be nothing left of the settlement but a wilderness. Again there was much fear from the perverse character of the Dieguenos, whose greed in robbery is unparalleled and we feared lest they might be too forward in any disaster against the mission and its small guard.' The only information we were able to acquire from the Indians along the coast, notwithstanding the efforts that they made in this respect, gave some grounds to fear that in San Diego we might find ourselves in the same straits in which we now were. [Palou's Noticias, Vol II., p. 243]

If there had lingered in any of the men a taste for seeking adventure in a new country, they had enough of it and something more than enough. They had had in the wilderness six months of almost continuous marching over mountains, plains, and valleys and during that time, from sunrise to sunset, little more exciting occupation than that of quieting the teasing of their hungry stomachs with promises of future fare.

Finally on January 24, 1770, still anxiously speculating, they reached San Diego. When Junipero saw the little cavalcade advancing with slow, halting steps, with distressed and weary men, he sadly realized that the sufferings of the past months had not been confined to those who had remained in the mission.

The Coming of the Ship

Portola was completely disheartened. He determined to leave the country. Everything had gone against him. His failure to find Monterey, the scarcity of provisions, the continued absence of the San Jose  with fresh supplies, the sickness among the men, all these appeared to him not only adequate, but imperative reasons for abandoning an enterprise which had been so auspiciously begun for the glory of the Catholic faith and the Spanish king. Portola was not gifted with the characteristics of mind or temperament requisite to the making of a great explorer and successful leader. He was a simple, kind-hearted gentleman, fond of a lively jest, affable in his deportment, considerate towards his men, yet knowing how to maintain strict discipline at all times. While he was in command, we do not hear of an instance of wanton misconduct on the part of the soldiers towards native women. In his long marches through the country, he was assiduous in efforts to gain the confidence and friendship of the Indians. This is not small praise to extend to any man, and certainly not when that man is a Spanish soldier of the eighteenth century. But Don Gaspar de Portola was better adapted to govern a conquered country, that to conquer and to explore a new one. That spirit of discovery, of romantic adventure, a spirit enhanced by dangers and difficulties, rather than subdued by them, was not his. It is not surprising, therefore, that immediately upon his return to San Diego he should determine to abandon the country and retrace his steps to Baja California. He was supported in this somewhat inglorious resolution by his officers, Captain Rivera y Moncada and Lieutenant Pedro Fages. The former was probably actuated in his acquiescence by indifference to the success of an enterprise in which he occupied so subordinate a place, while the latter did not possess judgment sufficient to recognize the mistake involved in such a retreat.

But there was a man of different spirit with the expedition who had sagacity to perceive the mistake and courage to combat it. Junipero's character seems to include qualities apparently the most contradictory. He possessed in an eminent degree that practical intelligence which in temporal affairs is essential to success. He was a great missionary, but an equally great pioneer. He recognized obstacles in his path, only to combat them. Neither disappointment nor danger nor the weariness of delay could move him from his purpose. He studied the resources of the country in which he found himself; learned its physical capacities and how best to employ the materials that were at hand. He disdained hardships. A peasant and priest, he had been trained from earliest youth to the greatest abstemiousness in the matter of material food and comforts.

A man of vigorous action, acute intelligence, having the endurance of the most daring explorer, indifferent to self-interest, influenced solely by motives of piety, it is not surprising that he resolutely refused to acknowledge the necessity of abandoning California. Portola's decision must, indeed, have appeared to him pitiably weak. Moreover, he was convinced that the port of Monterey had been rediscovered. His quick mind had recognized Vizcaino's landmarks locating Monterey, from the descriptions the explorers themselves gave of the port they had passed by. The diminishing food supplies did not in his opinion merit the importance attached to it by the officers. "What more do we need," he said, "than a tortilla a day and wild herbs of the field?" He reminded his compatriots that one hundred sixty-six years had elapsed since the Spaniards first discovered San Diego, and not till the present time had an attempt been made to establish a settlement. If they abandoned the country now, he feared centuries might elapse ere the Government would decide to send out another expedition.

It was already the month of March and neither of the two boats which were expected had appeared; the Venerable Father remained firm in his determination not to leave Alta California; he went to the ship to discuss this matter with the sea commander D. Vicente Vila and addressed him in this manner: Senor, the land commander has determined to retire and abandon this Port on the 10th if before then neither of the boats arrive with succor; he is impelled to this step because of the scarcity of provisions as well as the general opinion that the Port of Monterey] has been silted up although I suspect that they failed to recognize it. That is my opinion also [replied the commander], judging from that which I have heard and have read in the reports, the Port is in the very place where they raised the cross. Therefore Senor [said the Venerable Father] I am resolved to remain, even though the Expedition leaves, and with me, my colleague Father Crespi; if you wish, we will come aboard as soon as the Expedition leaves, and when the other packet boat arrives, we will go by sea and search for Monterey. The commander gladly agreed to assist him in this, and deciding to keep the matter secret, the Venerable Father returned to his Mission. [Palou, Vida, pp. 95-96.]

He may have thought to influence them through appeals to their patriotism, or through pride in achieving a noble but arduous task. Failing in this, he resorted to his last and strongest argument. With all the eloquence at his command he pleaded for the thousands of souls which would be left in the outer darkness of heathendom if the banner of the cross were now withdrawn. But his devout attachment to the cause upon which they were engaged failed lamentably to influence his companions. It is however likely that had it not been for Junipero's inflexible opposition, the disheartened Spaniards would have abandoned San Diego without further delay.

As it was, however, Portola ordered an inventory taken of the provisions. He then had a certain quantity put aside for their return journey, and calculating the length of time the remaining supplies would last, he fixed the day of departure for March 19, if in the meantime no transport arrived in the harbor. This resolution was publicly announced. The tidings were received by the men with shouts of joy. Their spirits rose to the highest pitch, although they thought the time of waiting had been made unnecessarily long, an opinion which the officers shared. Nothing was talked of but the approaching departure. Palou tells us that every word was like an arrow piercing the heart of Junipero. On his knees, day and night, he exhausted himself in prayer. An inward flame of overwhelming compassion for the savage multitude around them consumed him. With bitter sobs, with passionate outpourings of his soul, he implored the intercession of St. Joseph, the patron saint of the expedition, to speed the sailing of the supply ship that the port be not abandoned. He would arise from these impassioned prayers only to return to them again with renewed ardor. If he had been a mother pleading for the life of her first-born, his supplications could not have been more fervent. Every fiber of his being was like a quivering nerve at the thought of abandoning these miserable savages. He determined not to leave San Diego, even if he had to remain alone. He confided hick resolution to Fray Juan Crespi, who unhesitatingly declared his intention of remaining with him. Then he wrote to Palou, informing him of his determination not to desert his post. "If we see the food supplies and hope are to be exhausted, I will remain alone with P. Juan Crespi to hold out until the last extremity."

Thus simply did he announce to Palou his stout hearted determination.

It is characteristic of Junipero that he did not once urge his friend to hasten the forwarding of supplies or mention the kind of provisions which would be acceptable or necessary to them. He knew Palou would do his utmost to relieve the distress at San Diego; to dwell upon this distress was therefore purposeless. But there were other supplies, the lack of which gave him great concern, and these he carefully enumerates.

If your reverence should see that they are going to send the live stock which was left in Velicata, then send us a little incense, which we forgot in spite of the fact that we brought the incense-burners; and the Calendars might be sent if they have arrived, and the new Saintly Unctions in case they have arrived from Guadalajara. [Palou, Vida, p. 93]

These letters were carried south by Captain Rivera, who with some nineteen or twenty soldiers and a long train of pack mules left in February for Velicata to get the live stock Junipero refers to padre Vizcaino, whose hand was still causing him trouble, due to the arrow wound he had received the day of the attack on the mission, accompanied Rivera. Having written his letters, Junipero set about to see what influence he could bring to bear upon individual officers of the expedition. Captain Vila, commanding the crewless San Carlos, shared the friar's belief that Portola had rediscovered Monterey without recognizing he had done so, and that when he had erected the second cross he had in very truth marked the site of the lost harbor. Junipero, probably suspecting that the sea captain's opinion coincided with his own, determined to interview him privately on board his ship with the result that Captain Vila secretly promised to remain in San Diego with the two friars and await the arrival of the tardy transport and then sail up the coast to search for Monterey. In the meanwhile preparations for abandoning San Diego proceeded rapidly. As the date fixed for the departure drew near, Junipero proposed holding a novena (nine days of public prayer) in honor, of St. Joseph. The novena  was to culminate in a solemn mass and supplication on March 19, the day before the final one of abandoning California. The good-natured commander agreed readily enough to a plan which he probably conceived would in no way interfere with the ultimate one of departure. He himself, prayed and packed with commendable industry. Junipero's anxiety waxed daily greater. He prayed ceaselessly. The supreme morning arrived at last. This day was to determine the fate of California, of the Indians, of Junipero himself. The anxious friar could not rest. With the first faint streak of dawn he was abroad and on the hills. It was a beautiful morning. The air was soft and singularly still, as if listening to the heart throbs of Junipero. The blue bay sparkled in the sunlight the hills were radiant with bright flowers and spring verdure. California in the springtime is one of the rare places of the world; nature there seems to thrill deliciously with the consciousness of her own beauty.

But for once the Fray Junipero's heart was not susceptible to her influence. Sad and silent, he stood on the heights. With cowl thrown back and pale sensitive face turned seaward, his gaze swept the horizon. Would God send the ship that day? Would California be saved? Or would he, with his faithful brother and the doughty sailor, be left to challenge fate alone amidst the savages of this unknown land? Hour after hour glided by; the morning slowly passed, then the long afternoon; yet no glint of white sails shone on the sea. The suspense to Junipero was agonizing. Still he continued to watch and pray. Just as the last rays of the sinking sun were gilding the crests of the hills, there appeared "like a winged messenger from heaven," far out at sea, a sail. Junipero's heart bounded at the sight and into his haggard cheeks came the flush of joy. The news spread swiftly throughout the little settlement. Every man able to walk or hobble hurried down to the beach and strained his eyes to catch a glimpse through the deepening twilight of the distant ship. Then darkness fell over sea and land. Officers, soldiers, sailors, and friars returned to the mission to await with what patience they could the morrow. Junipero in the exuberance of his gratitude promised St. Joseph that he would chant a solemn mass in his honor on the nineteenth of every month. This promise he faithfully kept to the last days of his life.

The Spaniards were early astir the next morning. But the fond hope they had entertained of seeing a well-laden transport safely anchored in port was rudely dispelled. The keenest eye amongst them failed to descry upon the wide horizon the most distant sign of a sail. Nevertheless the fact that a ship had been distinctly visible the previous day was sufficient to arrest for a time further preparations for an immediate departure. Finally, four days after the first distant glimpse had been obtained of her, the ship, San Antonio, dropped anchor in the bay. Nine months had passed since she had left to obtain supplies for the little band of Spaniards in San Diego. She brought with her, besides plentiful provisions, a crew for the San Carlos. The San Antonio's commander, Juan Perez, had, on leaving San Bias, received orders to sail direct to Monterey, where it was confidently expected Portola would be found engaged in establishing the second California settlement. Perez accordingly passed San Diego without making port and sailed on up the coast. Running into the Santa' Barbara channel to obtain fresh water, he learned from the natives that his countrymen were not at Monterey but had long since returned to San Diego. This information, combined with the fact that his ship had lost an anchor, induced Perez to turn southward again. As we have seen, he arrived at San Diego just in time to prevent the abandonment, not only of the settlement, but of California.

The San Antonio  carried dispatches from the visitador general, Jose de Galvez, and from the Viceroy de Croix which perhaps caused Portola to feel grateful he had not already abandoned the country. Galvez was not the man to condone easily the relinquishment of an enterprise he had so enthusiastically fathered, and Portola might have found his position as officer in his Majesty's army subject to awkward limitations, while his pride would certainly have been confounded. Preparations in the mission now took on a different character. It was no longer a question of ingloriously retiring from the California conquest, but of energetically pushing it to a culmination. For Fray Junipero Serra this was a triumphant hour, and perhaps the happiest he had experienced since his ordination in the Franciscan brotherhood. After a consultation among the leaders of the expedition, it was decided to resume the search for Monterey without delay. That there should be no mistake in recognizing the port a second time, Junipero determined to be one of the exploring party himself.

It was arranged that he and Dr. Pedro Pratt should go by sea with Perez on the San Antonio, while Portola, with Fages, Padre Crespi, and part of the soldiers, marched up the coast over the same route they had previously traveled. These arrangements having been completed, Junipero states that he had

. . . already embarked all that could be carried except a bed, when on Holy Saturday very late, I received a message from the Captain, our citizen Don Juan Perez, that on that very night he had to hurriedly embark. [Palou, Vida, p. 98]

In all haste, Junipero went down to the beach and was taken on board the vessel. But the wind suddenly changed, and the next morning the San Antonio  lay becalmed in the mouth of the port, where she remained for twenty-four hours. Part of this time the friar, who appears to have abhorred every idle moment, occupied in writing letters. It was not an easy task. After concluding a letter to the "Señor Illmo" (presumably the viceroy) he writes to Palou:

If I should not have time to write to the College to the Father Guardian I beg you to do so in my name, giving him an account of everything and inform hint; that this letter is written, while seated on the floor of the cabin, with considerable difficulty. [Palou, Vida, p. 99]

He recounts all that has transpired in San Diego since the arrival of Perez. We realize a little of his thirst for news during the long year in which not a word from the outside world has reached him, when he tells Palou with a touch of disappointment perceptible in the telling, that the San Antonio  did not bring him one letter. He then comments with eagerness on the gossip that Perez was able to retail, such as the death of Clement XIII. and the possible election of a new pope chosen from the Franciscan brotherhood, and adds, "In this wilderness I am greatly pleased at this good fortune." He cannot refrain from again reminding his friend to send the church supplies he asked for in his former letter.

When there is an opportunity I will appreciate it if you procure for us wax and incense for mass. . . Sea of the south—opposite port of San Diego, April 16, 1770 B. L. M. Your Reverence's affectionate friend, brother, servant. Fr. Junipero Serra. [Palou, Vida, p. 98-100]

It was extraordinary that a voyage of a few degrees up the coast, which in these days could be readily accomplished by the clumsiest of sailing crafts in a short period, should then have occupied almost seven weeks. Portola and his men had been in camp eight days ere the San Antonio  sighted Point Pinos, the thickly-wooded headland of the bay of Monterey. A great bonfire had been lighted on the Point to guide the ship into port. It appears that on this occasion Portola had experienced no difficulty in recognizing the harbor for which he had so long and so vainly searched but a few months before. Junipero was enchanted with the beauties of Monterey.

It lay folded in the protecting embrace of tree-clad hills. The fragrant odors of early summer filled the air, which here was healthfully invigorating after the hot, dry climate of San Diego. The light mistiness that in the first months of summer creeps up as the sun ascends, and frequently increases in density in the early hours of the afternoon, communicates a fresh, invigorating glow to the body, particularly grateful to one who comes from the enervating heat of the more southerly coast. The French traveler, La Perouse, who visited Monterey some sixteen years later, wrote:

Our European cultivators can form no conception of so abundant fertility. Fruit trees are still very scarce, but the climate is extremely proper for their cultivation and differs little from the southern provinces of France, at least the cold is never more intense, while the heats of summer are much more moderate on account of the continual fogs that prevail. [La Perouse, Voyage Round the World, pp 185-186.]

Towards evening this misty curtain slowly lifts and the sun sets over the sea with a glow of magical colors.

As the San Antonio  drew into the wide entrance of the bay and sailed down the shore, Junipero could see the tall forest trees on the hills, and distinguish the pine, the cypress, the beautiful live oak, the occidental plane trees, every tree growing in a kind of isolated grandeur in the midst of flower-spangled carpets of verdure, thereby giving the effect of beautiful parks, rather than of a wilderness.

Both on land and water, birds abounded. The long-winged gulls, the gray and white pelicans, their great pouches filled with fishes, the voracious cormorants, the pretty little sand-pipers, were perhaps those most seen from the San Antonio's  decks. It may also have been the time for the annual visit of the whales, the finbacks, the huge, rough hump-backs, or the sperm whale, and their spouting and lashing, breaking the smooth surface of the water into surging foam, may have added interest to the scenes of the newly found harbor.

Portola, Padre Crespi, Fages, and the soldiers were all on the beach to extend a hearty welcome to Fray Junipero and his companions as they disembarked. This reunion, however, was not without a touch of the tragic; the surgeon, Dr. Pratt, had become insane during the sea voyage. The ample supply of medicines he carried were unlabeled and remained, in consequence, useless to his companions. The Spaniards' first care was to erect a shelter of green boughs and suspend the large church bells. Their melodious peals proclaimed to the savages that a Christian worship, the first since 16oz, was about to be held on these shores. Fray Junipero, robed in alb and stole, sank on his knees and chanted in full, deep, sonorous voice, the Veni, Creator Spiritus. He sprinkled holy water over the land, "to put to rout all infernal foes." The ceremonies were concluded with chanting mass to the accompaniment of cannon crash and the roar of musketry. Don Gaspar Portola then stepped forward and loudly proclaimed that in the name of his most Catholic Majesty King Carlos III. he took possession of the land and would defend the same against all who would gainsay it. It was the usual fashion of asserting the royal title to territories in a new country, and like similar titles in the New World, whether established under English, French, or Spanish government, ignored with perfect simplicity the territorial rights of the aborigines.

Thus on June 3, 1770, Monterey and the surrounding country took their place as port and province of the great Spanish empire. When these duties to Castile and Christianity had been faithfully performed, the officers and friars seated themselves in the shade of a spreading oak, which grew near by, and ate their simple meal; while the soldiers sought ampler shade higher on the shore, where, free from restraint, they boisterously regaled themselves. During all this time the Indians were absent, or what is more probable, present and effectually concealed, an American Indian seldom being seen when he chooses not to be. Curiosity, however, soon induced the savages to approach the invading strangers.

[Illustration] from Junipero Serra by A. H. Fitch


Before many days had passed Fray Junipero succeeded by gifts and protestations of friendship in coaxing them to return frequently. From the first they were inclined to regard the Spaniards with something of awe. They brought propitiatory offerings which they laid at the foot of the large wooden cross Portola had caused to be erected near the shore on his first exploring expedition. Padre

Crespi tells in his journal that on his second return to Monterey he found the cross curiously decorated.

It was surrounded with arrows stuck in the ground and sticks with many feathers, which the Gentiles had placed there; suspended from a pole beside the cross was a string of small fish, all fairly fresh, while pieces of meat were deposited at the foot of the cross and a pile of mussels. [Crespi's Diary from Palou's Noticias.]

Later when the Indians had learned to make themselves understood, they told how they had seen a resplendent cross shining through the pockets of every Spaniard when they first arrived, and that the large cross at night became wonderfully illuminated and reached far up into the heavens, and they were alarmed and brought peace offerings to the foreigner's fetish. These tales show that the savages possessed a fair share of imagination as well as a quick perception of what, in their talk, would please the good and credulous padres. Junipero wrote an account some years later of these happenings (the truth of which he did not for an instant doubt), as evidence that the reduction of the "Gentiles" in this spiritual conquest was accomplished by direct divine intercession.

The business of selecting a suitable site for presidio  and mission soon occupied the attention of the Spaniards. Within a gunshot from the shore, cabins were erected; one was dedicated as a church. The buildings were inclosed by a palisade wall. A soldier and a young sailor volunteered to carry the tidings of the successful occupation of Monterey to San Diego, and from thence to the Peninsula. Junipero did not fail to seize this opportunity of writing to Palou. As with most of his letters to his friend, we can but be struck with the extraordinary character of the writer. Whatever privations, hardships, or fatigue he has experienced he passes over in silence or barely touches upon. The news he asks for is of popes, saints, and calendars, and the supplies he begs for are candles for his church services and more missionaries for future missions. The letter follows:

Beloved friend and my dear sir: On the 31st of May, by the favor of God, after a month and a half of a somewhat dangerous voyage, the vessel San Antonio, commanded by Captain D. Juan Perez, arrived and anchored in the beautiful port of Monterey, the same in reality and detail as that of the expedition of D. Sebastian Viscaino in 1603. I was much consoled when they told me that same night that eight days previously the land expedition had arrived, and with it Fr. Juan Crespi, and all in good health. On the day of Pentecost, third of June, were united all officials of the land and sea expedition and all the people in the ship. The fathers erected an altar, suspended and rang the bells, sang the hymn Veni Creator, blessed the water, erected and blessed the large cross and also the royal standards. Then mass was sung, the first known to have been celebrated here since [Sebastian Vizcaino's expedition.] Afterwards we sang the Salutation of Our Lady before the image which occupied the altar. We concluded the ceremony by singing the Te Deum  and after that the officials performed the act of taking possession of the land in the name of our master the king. (May God guard him.) Afterwards we ate together beneath some shade upon the beach. All the ceremonies were accompanied by many reports of firearms on land and ship. To God alone all honor and glory.

With respect to this port not having been found by those of the former expedition and their having announced that it did not exist I have nothing to say in regard to passing judgment upon them. Sufficient that it was finally found, and so were fulfilled though somewhat late, the wishes of His Excellency, the Inspector General, and all those who desire the spiritual conquest. As in May last was completed a year since I received my letter from Christian land, your reverence can imagine how thirsting we are for news. Above all I want to know, when the opportunity offers you, the name of our most saintly reigning pope, in order to include his name in the canon of the mass. And also if the canonization of the blessed Joseph Cupertino and Serafino de Asculi has been effected, and if there is any other saint or blessed one to put in the calendar and to pray for, since it appears that the printed calendars have already been despatched to us. If it is true that the Indians killed Padre Fray Joseph Soler in Sonora or Pimeria and how it happened, and if there are any other of the deceased of those known to us in order to commend them to God. And anything else which your reverence judges would by chance interest some poor hermits separated from human society. That which I would also like to know is concerning the mission from Spain and with regard to it. I charge you much and beg that two priests be designated for these missions, for with the four we could then distribute the six and place the mission of San Buenaventura in the canal of Santa Barbara, a landmark more advantageous than San Diego or Monterey or any other place yet discovered. Already there have been sent two shipments of supplies for said mission, and though up to now the priests cannot be blamed for not having founded the establishment, I would not like to exonerate them when there is a guard to protect them. [Palou, Vida, pp. 101-103.]

He tells Palou that he and Padre Crespi will divide their duties and that then the nearest priest to him will be eighty leagues away.

Therefore I beg your reverence not to leave us long in this cruel solitude. The Padre Lasuen greatly desires to come here to these missions and so I recommend him to your reverence, when the ministers consider this subject. We are very short of wax for the masses, as we were in San Diego, nevertheless we are going to have tomorrow a fiesta  and procession del Corpus  although it will be a poor one, to put to flight the evil spirits that may be in this land. If there be an occasion to send some [wax] it will be most opportune, as well as the incense previously requested. May your reverence not fail to write His Excellency and felicitate him on the discovery of the port and on whatever you may consider proper and do not fail to commend us to God; may he guard your reverence many years in His saintly love and grace.

Mission of San Carlos of Monterey, June, day of San Antonio de Padua, 1770. I kiss the hand of your reverence. Your affectionate friend, companion and servant, Fray Junipero Serra. [Palou received this letter six weeks after it was written.]

Three weeks after the young sailor and soldier, bearing Junipero's letter and his blessing, had started on their long overland journey to Baja California, Perez prepared for his return voyage to San Blas.

Before the sailing of the ship, Junipero spent hours in the seclusion of his hut, writing long letters to the authorities in Mexico, the viceroy, the visitador general  and the Guardian of San Fernando.

He never lost sight of the fact that it was essential to the progress of the spiritual conquest to keep alive the zeal and interest of the home government in the new province.

In his letters he gave an enthusiastic account of the country, its many natural advantages, the salubrity of its climate, the beauty of its scenery. He dwelt on the myriads of savages inhabiting the region between the frontier missions, San Fernando Velicata, and the port of San Francisco, the numerous and favorable sites for missions and pueblos, the need of more missionaries to assist in spreading the faith. He begged that the various requisites for founding missions, such as church utensils and implements of agriculture, be sent to him, and expressed his desire of forming a cordon of missions from Velicata to San Francisco which would not only facilitate communications with the old establishments, and thereby with Mexico, but bring Christianity and civilization to thousands of benighted beings.

Thus would Spanish civilization, Spanish rule, Spanish policy and commerce be permanently established in the new province. It was a tempting bait, this that Fray Junipero knew how to dangle before the eyes of the Spanish officials, but his motive was all sincerity, without hypocrisy or personal ambition. Spain could reap the material benefits of his work, he desired only to fasten the "yoke of the faith "on the children of this beautiful wilderness.

He entrusted his letters to Perez, who promised to forward them to Mexico as soon as his ship arrived in the harbor of San Blas.

On the ninth of July the San Antonio  spread her white sails, dipped her colors to the little band of Spaniards she was leaving in the wilderness, and flew southward before a fair wind for San Blass She carried with her Don Gasper de Portola, and) the engineer, Miguel Constanzo, whose entire duty while in California appears to have been surveying a site for the Monterey presidio. Portola, in accordance with his original instructions, turned his command over to the young Catalan officer, Lieutenant Pedro Fages, who now was left military commander, not only of the new presidio  but of California, with an army numbering something short of fifty men. From this time the good-natured Portola disappears entirely from California annals. He had led in the occupation of Alta California, and closed his governorship in March, 1770.

When Junipero's letters, bearing the tidings of the successful occupation of Monterey, finally reached Mexico, the greatest rejoicing was manifested. The cathedral bells were rung. From the convent and belfries of every church in the capital, gay chimes pealed forth. A solemn mass was held, which was attended by the visitador general, the viceroy, and all the Government officials. Afterwards a great reception was held in the viceregal palace during which Galvez and de Croix, magnificently attired, received, in the name of his Majesty Carlos III., the people's congratulations. Circulars were printed and distributed, giving an account of the occupation of Monterey, which were eagerly read by the populace. Liberal provisions were made for establishing five missions in the beautiful new California.

Galvez provided a government fund of one thousand dollars for each mission and offered four hundred dollars to the missionaries who would join those already in the new province. The Guardian of San Fernando college appointed ten additional friars to serve under Fray Junipero. Thus did the Spaniards proudly rejoice over the acquisition of a territory which in little more than half a century they were destined to lose forever.

Mission-Founding Work

Nearly a year had passed since Portola sailed on the San Antonio. Since that time no ship had visited the little Spanish colony; it remained in complete isolation from the outside world. At Monterey the soldiers found, for a time, occupation in building the presidio, which on completion was little more than a collection of rudely constructed huts within a palisade inclosure, fortified by four bronze cannons mounted in the ravelins of the palisades. The fort was situated on the brow of a hill within gunshot of the beach. At one end of the square inclosure was the church, made of adobe, with flat, mud roof. Adjoining the church was a room for the padres when they came over from their mission to say mass in the fort.

At the other end of the square, facing the church, stood the commanding officer's house, a wretched little adobe structure, having but two rooms, one of which served for a kitchen, the other for storage and bedchamber. The first rulers of Alta California were not, it appears, luxuriously housed. A few small huts formed the barracks of the soldiers; there was also an adobe jail, and a storeroom for ammunition and general supplies, all with roofs of sun-dried mud. Besides these buildings were quarters for the muleteers and servants.

Not far from the presidio, a second collection of primitive buildings represented the mission, San Carlos. Here the great bells were hung, and every morning for matins and every evening for vespers, they sent out over the blue, billowy sea, and far into the dark forests, a sweet volume of sound; and the fleet-footed savage stood still to listen agape with wonderment.

Whenever Fray Junipero could tear himself away from his unwearying efforts to warm the torpid soul of the native into something like sentient life, he explored the surrounding country. The reason of these explorations soon became apparent. He announced his intention of removing the mission five miles from the presidio  to a green and fertile valley, where the Carmel River empties into the beautiful bay of the same name. To the secular authorities the president gave as his reason for making this change, the greater natural advantages the new site afforded. The water supply was more abundant, he said, and the soil more fertile than at Monterey. The principal motive actuating Junipero can, however, be sought elsewhere. Already he was experiencing the disadvantages close proximity to the presidio  caused the mission. The young Catalan commandant, Lieutenant Pedro Fages appears to have exercised but an indifferent influence over his soldiers. In everything pertaining to minor military discipline he was not only never negligent but frequently harsh and severe; yet in respect to matters of greater import his command seems to have been altogether deficient in prudence and calculating foresight. After Portola's departure the conduct of his soldiers towards the natives was of a nature destructive of every sentiment of friendship and confidence the friars were striving to establish. These picturesque soldiers, in loose leather trousers and quilted leather jackets, were a rough, careless set, overbold, prompt to fight, dissolute in idleness, but not unmanageable. An officer who could gain their confidence had not a difficult task in controlling them. But the command of Fages, while despotic, failed to correct abuses indulged in by men who, weary of the wilderness, longed to return to the land of corn and wine and oil and pretty women. Their duties were neither arduous or many. To take their turn at guard mounting, to keep their weapons cleaned and burnished—each soldier was equipped with a broadsword, a lance, a firelock and pistols—to assist the peons in the care of the live stock, or in cutting wood, constituted the greater part of their labors after the huts and barracks of the presidio  were completed. Each soldier also kept one of his horses constantly saddled, ready to mount at any hour during the day or night in the event of an alarm being sounded.

A lively skirmish with the Indians would doubtless have appealed to him as breaking the monotony of his days. But the savages remained quiet and gave no provocation for warfare, however mild.

The principal tribes inhabiting the region around Monterey were the Runsiens, the Escelens, the Achastliens, and the Mutsunes. They were not more prepossessing in appearance than their brothers farther south, while their filth and laziness were even greater. They not infrequently were known to smear themselves with thick coatings of mud, to protect their bodies from the cold, rather than take the trouble to spear the sea otter or hunt the deer and rabbit to obtain the skins which constituted their clothing in the winter months. When they followed the chase, their methods would not commend themselves to the sportsmen. Disguised with the head and horns of a stag, the Indian hunter would creep on all fours through the underbrush or long waving grass, and approach close to a herd of deer; then, selecting the largest, fattest buck among them, let fly his arrow. The ruse invariably succeeded and the unsuspecting animal was killed before it knew an enemy was near.

Like the Baja Californians, these Indians took delight in acting; they represented with not a little skill and humor scenes from their domestic life, or from the battle field and chase. Their musical instruments consisted of skin drums, a rattle made of tortoise shell filled with pebbles, and a primitive kind of pipe having two or three reeds, upon which a few notes could be sounded. These instruments, together with loud chanting and clapping of hands formed the discordant music to which they danced. The women seldom were permitted to take part in these dances, such festivities being considered the exclusive prerogative of their male relatives. They held no slaves in any form whatever and possessed no intoxicating liquor. They were brave in battle, meeting their fate with the same stoicism that characterizes the North American Indian everywhere. Their principal faults were inordinate slothfulness, fickleness, and filthiness. It was out of such unpromising material as this that Fray Junipero, amid immense difficulties, formed an industrious, docile people who became good farmers, millers, carpenters, and spinners, who supported themselves and their missions, and who under the guidance of their padres helped to convert California from a wilderness to a prosperous, fertile province.

[Illustration] from Junipero Serra by A. H. Fitch


The site that Junipero selected for his mission was, as I have said, on the banks of the Carmel River, in the shadow of the Santa Lucia Mountains and near the shores of the beautiful Carmel Bay. The meaning of the word "Carmel" in Hebrew is a "park or garden." It is a rather interesting speculation whether the naming of this garden spot on the shores of the Pacific, by Sebastian Vizcaino in 1603, was due primarily to its own beauty or to the startling resemblance it has to the better known, more ancient, but not more beautiful Carmel in the Holy Land. Travelers who have visited the two Carmels—the one on the blue shores of the Mediterranean, the other on the blue shores of the Pacific, have been impressed with the resemblance they bear each other. There are the same forests of live oaks, carpeted with brown wild grasses (the native wilderness as it is written of in the Bible), and the same perfect half-moon bays, with their beautiful expanse of deep blue waters between the horns, and connecting these horns the same glistening stretch of sand, although in the California Carmel the dazzling whiteness of the sand remains distinctive of its own shores. The formation of the lands, the marine pictures, are prototypes of one another. Nor does the resemblance cease here, for each Carmel owes its place in history to the presence of a little band of pious men, who worked and prayed for a common cause, the saving of human souls.

With some peons and a few soldiers, who were supposed to assist in the work but contented themselves with the arduous task of superintending the labors of the peons, Junipero began the cutting down of trees for the building of the new San Carlos mission on Carmel Bay. In the meantime the ten additional friars sent from San Fernando College in Mexico arrived at Monterey on the San Antonio  in May, 1771. Among their number was the ill fated Fray, Luis Jayme. The missionaries brought with them an assortment of bells, sacred vessels, and images together with agricultural and house implements, sufficient for five new missions.

Junipero was fairly beside himself with joy. He appointed two missionaries to San Diego to replace the friars who long since had desired permission to retire because of ill health. He named four other friars as founders of the missions San Gabriel and San Buenaventura. Then after making the necessary arrangements for their departure, he set off with two missionaries and an escort of soldiers to establish San Antonio de Padua. Twenty-five leagues from Monterey he came upon a little stream which watered a lovely oak-studded valley inclosed by rugged mountains. The beauty of this wild and lonely place charmed him. He decided to found the mission here. The bells were accordingly unpacked and suspended from the branch of a great oak. Junipero seized the ropes and shouted with a kind of delirious rapture, "Hear, Gentiles, come, come, to the Holy Church, come, come, to receive the faith of Jesus Christ."

One of the friars, Fray Miguel Pieras, remonstrated with him. "Why do you tire yourself in this way?" he demanded. "There are no Indians in sight; it is a waste of time to ring the bells."

"I would like these bells to be heard by all the world," exclaimed Junipero, "or at least by all the Gentiles who live in the mountains."

The usual cross was erected and blessed. A shelter of branches was soon made, which did duty for a church and Junipero celebrated mass. A solitary Indian appeared, attracted by the ringing of the bells. He remained silently watching the strangers, until the religious ceremonies were over, then he as silently departed. Junipero held the Indian's presence at this first mass to be an auspicious omen, and as heralding the conversion of many heathen souls in the new mission. Later the man returned accompanied by several of his companions. The natives of the region were milder, more friendly in character than those around San Diego and Monterey. They brought gifts of acorns and seeds of various varieties. In exchange they were given colored glass beads which pleased them vastly, and quantities of maize and other articles of food, for which they manifested no very great liking. They assisted in building the rude structures which were to shelter the Spaniards. They even helped with much good nature in erecting the strong palisade which was to serve as a defense against their own intrusion in case of necessity. They evinced their perfect confidence in the strangers by bringing for storage all the acorns and seeds they had garnered for their winter food. Thus auspiciously was founded the mission of San Antonio de Padua July 14, 1771.

In connection with this mission, the padres tell a story related by an old Indian woman, whose ancient aspect seemed to indicate that she was one hundred years old. She came to the mission and begged the fathers to baptize her. The missionaries were equally pleased and surprised at the request so unusual. They inquired why she desired to become a Christian. She replied that in her father’s youth two padres, gowned as they were suddenly appeared among her people and had taught them the same Christian faith. The friars discovered that this tradition existed among all the savages in that vicinity. As they were unable to account for the origin of that belief they discredited the tale entirely.

Fifteen days after the founding of San Antonio, Fray Junipero, leaving the friars with a guard of six soldiers and a corporal, returned to Monterey. Scarcely had the energetic president arrived, before he hastened over the hills to Carmel, to inspect the progress made in the building of his own mission. On the tranquil shores of the beautiful bay the soldiers and peons had not wearied themselves with undue exertion. Junipero found that if he would hasten the completion of San Carlos, he must perforce superintend the work himself.

In a hut which he shared with the foreman, and not infrequently with the peons when the winds blew cold, Junipero took up his abode. In front of the hut a large cross was erected, and here every morning at daybreak he sang the Alabada after which mass was celebrated, the soldiers and peons attending. These religious duties performed, Junipero directed each man to his special task for the day. There were no dilatory measures now. Under the stimulus of the friars’s encouraging words, the example of his own energy and enthusiasm, the men worked with a good will.

The Indians came to watch the progress of the buildings, which excited their liveliest curiosity. Junipero availed himself of these visits to bestow small gifts upon them. The savages were thus induced to return with greater frequency and in larger numbers. He taught them to make the sign of the cross and to greet him with the words “Love God,” a greeting full of delicate charm and tenderness when it fell from the friar’s lips, yet which in the mouths of the uncomprehending savages had in it something of pathos. They quickly learned to give this salutation to every Spaniard they saw and even to the neophytes, when they chanced to meet them on the trail from Monterey to Carmel., for the latter frequently begged permission to visit the “old Padre” as they called Fray Junipero.

As soon as the chapel and a sufficient number of dwellings were completed Junipero sent to Monterey for Padre Crespi, whom he had appointed his associate in the San Carols mission.

Padre Crespi, or Fray Juan, as he was called, brought with him his small flock of neophytes. This formal transfer took place in the month of December.

[Illustration] from Junipero Serra by A. H. Fitch


The original buildings of San Carlos mission consisted of chapel, dwelling, and barracks. The main structure was seventy feet long and forty-five feet in width and was a framework of interwoven twigs, plastered with mud. The roof, also of mud, supported by horizontal timbers, proved a very inadequate protection against the driving winter rains. The house was divided into partitions, forming six apartments. The best room received a whitewash of lime; it was used for a chapel. Here Junipero erected the altar, and placed the images and pictures, together with the sacred vessels which were apportioned to San Carlos mission. Among these sacred vessels were a handsomely carved silver crucifix and candlesticks, which are still carefully preserved in the church of Monterey where in later years, following the secularization of the missions, they were taken for safe-kepping. A second partition served for the friar’s cell, which was as bare as that of an anchorite. His couch consisted of a few rough boards laid upon the floor; pillow he had none; a hide served him for blanket. The remaining rooms were used as storage places for maize, flour, chocolate, dried figs, raisins, etc., as well as for such agricultural implements as the mission possessed and last though by no means least in the estimation of the missionaries, for the gifts they had brought for the Indians.

The kitchen was a separate structure, roofed with grass. In the same rectangular space with these buildings were the barracks for the guard and the corral for the small number of mission live stock. A stockade with projecting ramparts at the corners enclosed the mission. The great gates were carefully locked at night, a precautionary measure taken by the guards which Junipero know to be quite superfluous, as the palisades, owing to the scarcity of nails, were not secured at the top and could be easily forced in any point. A patch of ground was converted with patience and care into a vegetable garden. Later the friars raised under the semitropical California sun the vine, the almond, the peach, and in the more southern missions, the orange, lemon, and olive, hitherto unknown to the country.

In the course of a few years these first rude structures were replaced by others, made of adobe bricks, and having roofs of burnt tiles. The later missions were striking in their artistic beauty and simplicity. These Spanish friars produced with the rawest, most unpromising materials buildings which to this day arrest the eye of the traveler and fill him with wonder and admiration. The student of architecture can find in the United States, today, nothing more deserving of interest, nothing more original in conception, more beautiful in design, than the ruined remains of the old California missions. It may have been an advantage to the Franciscans that their workmen, the untutored Indians, possessed no preconceived architectural; ideas and obeyed implicitly the directions of the friars, who in turn, having no model to copy from, drew their inspiration direct from nature. Many of the missionaries developed a remarkable talent in designing and building. With them rests the honor of having created an original style of architecture, so harmoniously adapted to the blue skies, lofty mountains, and fertile plains of California, that "mission architecture" has become a recognized and justly favorite type of building on the Pacific slope.

[Illustration] from Junipero Serra by A. H. Fitch


Indians, possessed no preconceived architectural; ideas and obeyed implicitly the directions of the friars, who in turn, having no model to copy from, drew their inspiration direct from nature. Many of the missionaries developed a remarkable talent in designing and building. With them rests the honor of having created an original style of architecture, so harmoniously adapted to the blue skies, lofty mountains, and fertile plains of California, that "mission architecture" has become a recognized and justly favorite type of building on the Pacific slope.

Junipero and Crespi were now installed in their mission. Their days were passed in teaching the natives, in expounding the mysteries of the Faith to the extent of their limited knowledge of the language, and the doubtful assistance of a Baja California neophyte, who had picked up a smattering of the Escelen dialect.

Part of the day was devoted to tilling the soil; the friars, with gowns tucked up and spade in hand, gave practical lessons to their savage pupils in the art of agriculture. In this laborious task they were occasionally assisted by some good-natured soldier of the guard, who possessed, perhaps, a small knowledge of farming. In the evenings, behind barred doors, the weary friars found leisure to discuss the prospects of the mission and to make plans for the future. Then they worked together in analyzing and endeavoring to master the strange Indian tongues, a woefully difficult task for poor Junipero. Each friar sought to aid the other with suggestions and repetitions of new words acquired during the day.

It is probable at this time, also, that Junipero painstakingly taught himself to sew, in order that he might later instruct the women in this useful accomplishment. He cut out their garments and from bright colored cotton cloths made up petticoats and little shirts for the children t who received them with shrill squeals of delight.

So day after day, and far into the night, he toiled unceasingly, always cheered with the hope of obtaining a plentiful "harvest of souls."

He was not, however, occupied exclusively in promoting the welfare of his own mission. He watched solicitously over the interests of the other establishments and wrote minute instructions to the friars, advising and encouraging them in their work.

Difficulties and disagreements had early manifested themselves between Fages and the missionaries. The young officer shared in the spirit of the times and was impatient of anything resembling ecclesiastical control or influence. This was the potent cause to which can be contributed the petty conflicts between the missionaries and the military at this period in Alta California. Spain had settled beyond dispute the question of missionary supremacy in all her provinces; the status of the; friars was rigidly outlined and their powers curbed. Their missions no longer resembled little kingdoms ruled over by the presiding padre, but were subject to certain well defined restrictions.

Fages appears to have considered it expedient to constantly remind the friars of his supremacy in California, by adopting a system of trivial interference in their work and by subjecting them to annoyances more humiliating to them than creditable to himself. Among his privileges he included that of delaying their letters—brought by soldier-couriers from Baja California, and even, on occasions, of opening them. His harsh treatment of the converts did no little to increase the friction. He claimed the right of punishing mission neophytes, a right Junipero persistently denied, except in cases of serious transgression of the law. He retained mission property at the presidio, thereby preventing the distribution of small gifts to the Indians, and declined to turn over the mules and cows apportioned to the mission. When a padre requested the removal of a soldier from the mission guard because of bad conduct, Fages refused. On the other hand, if a man evinced a willingness to assist the missionaries by teaching their charges the manual arts, he was promptly transferred to the presidio, the commandant declaring that such employment was detrimental to military authority.

That he was not a man of great perspicacity, intelligence, or dignity is manifest from the puerility of these proceedings. The soldiers disliked him as cordially as they had liked Portola and Rivera. The miserable fare and the harsh treatment which they received under his command caused frequent desertions. These desertions finally assumed alarming proportions. On one occasion nine men fled in a bunch, and on another, five men, with their corporal, took to the wilderness. Fages was at his wit's end to know how to get them back again. With an army numbering less than fifty, he could ill afford to lose so many men. When he pursued the deserters, determined to employ force if necessary in capturing them, he found them securely barricaded and ready to kill or be killed rather than surrender, and he was forced to beat an ignominious retreat. On these occasions Fages would seek the friars and beg them to come to his assistance by using their influence with the fugitives in persuading them to return, at the same time promising a full pardon to every man. The combination of priest and pardon generally proved effectual; the soldiers came back and resumed the routine of their military life.

But lasting harmony was not established between the commandant and his little army. Disaffection grew; grumbling and discontent became general, and we are often treated to the curious spectacle of an officer in the royal army calling on the clergy to assist him in managing his rebellious men. In this manner more than two years passed since the occupation of Alta California. The Indians in the vicinity of San Carlos and Monterey remained tranquil, but those near the southern establishments gave continual cause for uneasiness. Junipero had founded four missions and had arranged for the founding of the fifth, which he intended should be San Buenventura, in the beautiful Santa Barbara region, when startling and sinister tidings reached him from San Gabriel. The savages there had at first been disposed to friendliness, and regarded the Spaniards as gods, because, they saw them strike fire from a flint.

This attitude of deference was however soon changed to one of supreme contempt. They recognized the strangers as human beings and described them as having "a nasty white color with ugly blue eyes." Their confidence had been alienated by gross outrages perpetuated upon them by the soldiers and particularly upon the wife of one of their chiefs. The Indians, infuriated, sought to avenge the crime by attacking the soldiers who were guarding the mission live stock. But the soldiers were not caught unawares and met the savage horde with such a deadly fire from their muskets, that, terrified, the Indians turned and fled. Among the fallen was their chieftain. The fate he met with after incurring death to avenge the wrong done to his wife, showed the uncurbed lawlessness of the soldiers. They decapitated the slain savage and in derision stuck his head on a pole over the gates.

The Indians, unable to tolerate the spectacle of such an indignity, and crushed with shame, suspended their hostilities to beg for the mutilated head of their leader. For a time quiet prevailed. But the excesses of the soldiers soon broke out again. Indifferent to the commands of their worthless corporal, they refused to work and amused themselves by pursuing the native women, lassoing them when in terror they fled to their rancherias, and killing the men who attempted to defend them.

It is but justice to the Spaniards in this connection to say that had Portola remained in California, such gross maltreatment of natives would not have occurred, or had they occurred, the criminals would have met with prompt and rigorous punishment. The policy of the Spanish government throughout the entire California conquest was an eminently humane one. The laws regulating the new province were intended for the protection of the Indians as well as for the welfare and safety of the Spaniards. In Galvez's instructions to those commanding the great enterprise we read that "the strictest discipline is to be kept, every precaution taken for safety and any outrages on the Indians to be severely punished." A commentary on Fages' inefficiency is his manner of dealing with the deplorable conditions existing at San Gabriel. Instead of promptly replacing the worthless corporal by some one competent to enforce obedience to his orders, and severely punishing the criminals, Fages contented himself with strongly increasing the San Gabriel guard and issuing orders that no Indians should be permitted to enter the mission. The friars were amazed and indignant. If they could not have intercourse with the savages, they asked, how were they to conciliate and convert them, and why were the missionaries in the country? Fages however was determined to pursue his own policy. He also decided to postpone the founding of San Buenaventura in the Santa Barbara channel region. The two friars who were to administer this mission were left at San Gabriel.

It was through Fages himself that Junipero heard of these facts. The commandant, in concluding the account of the disturbances, added in the haughty, half-insolent tone he adopted toward the friar, that for the present no more missions would be founded.

These conditions caused Junipero the greatest anxiety. He knew that his persuasiveness and eloquence would avail him nothing in altering the decision of the young officer. He realized that had punishment, swift and sharp, been meted to the perpetrators of the hideous crimes, much would have been accomplished towards mitigating the hatred of the savages for the Spaniards and towards the re-establishment of tranquility. The outlook now was indeed gloomy and disheartening. A terrific blow had been struck against the temporal and spiritual conquest, and struck by the conquerors themselves.

To Fray Junipero this knowledge was bitter beyond any other bitterness. The necessity of delay in founding San Buenventura and other missions, was not apparent to him, nor indeed was such a delay imperative. There can however be little doubt that Fages was sincere in the motives which actuated him in postponing the establishment of other missions. He did not lack courage, but capacity. He was incompetent to cope with the existing dangers and over cautious in encountering them. Junipero, on the contrary, was, it may be, over-confident. It is a fault which is perhaps more readily condoned by the world than its antithesis. He possessed the daring of the adventurer, the steadfastness to pursue his ends of the leader, the flexibility to vary his means of the priest. And he had patience.

The interview between commandant and president came to an end, accordingly, with apparent acquiescence on the part of the one to the other's policy of unintelligent inactivity. But before long Junipero sought and found an occasion of diplomatically suggesting to Fages the advisability of furthering the conquest, by explorations of the northern country and the port of San Francisco, where the mission to St. Francis was to be established. Fages had received orders from the viceroy to make this exploration; this suggestion came, therefore, as a timely reminder to obey his instructions. Accordingly, after the winter rains had ceased, he set out from Monterey with twelve soldiers, a muleteer, and an Indian interpreter. Junipero directed his old friend Crespi to accompany the expedition in his capacity of priest and chronicler. This was in March, 1772.

The expedition, as far as the exploration of the port of San Francisco was concerned, proved a failure. During the absence of Fages on this northern journey, a new and formidable danger menaced the missions of San Diego and San Gabriel. Intelligence was transmitted from the south to Junipero, announcing great dearth of provisions and the near prospect of a famine. The yearly supply ships, long overdue, had not arrived. So great was the necessity at San Diego, where the neophytes had become numerous, the friars feared the mission would have to be abandoned unless succor reached them soon. Padre Dumetz had gone to Baja California, to procure supplies, and Padre Jayme was alone in the mission. Couriers were promptly dispatched after the commandant, who hastened his return to Monterey. Here he collected all the provisions that could be spared, ordered the mule train loaded, and under a strong guard sent it south to relieve the distressed missions and presidio. Sturdy Padre Crespi accompanied the caravan, in order to remain at San Diego until Dumetz returned from Baja California.

As time passed and the transport did not arrive, food became scarce at Monterey, at San Carlos and San Antonio. A scant supply of milk from the mission cows, a few vegetables grown in the little garden patches, were all the Spaniards and the neophytes had to subsist upon. At Junipero's request the Indians flocked into the mountains to search in their old haunts for edible seeds for themselves and the half-starved strangers in their land. The uncertainty of this meager fare added to the gloom of the situation. Finally Fages found a remedy so obvious, one can but wonder why it was not thought of and put into execution before. He organized a hunting expedition which included himself and thirteen picked men. Yet their game was to be not deer, antelope, or mountain sheep, which abounded in the country, but the fierce bears inhabiting a region called by the Spaniards Cañado de los Osos, because these animals were to be found there in great numbers traveling together in groups of fourteen or sixteen. Fages spent three months in this exciting sport. It is difficult to understand why the coarse, unpalatable meat of the bear should have been selected to provide nourishment for the famished settlements, when the more delicate venison and sweet-flavored mutton could have been procured with greater facility. Fages' famous hunting expedition served however a purpose almost equal in importance to the one for which it was organized. By ridding the country of these ferocious animals, long a terror to the Indians, he gained for the Spaniards the gratitude and good will of the natives.

Finally the tardy transports arrived in the harbor of San Diego, and the pressing necessities of the southern missions were relieved. But now another difficulty confronted Junipero. A courier arrived with letters from the captains of the two vessels, stating their inability to reach Monterey because of contrary winds. One of the transports had been within two leagues of the St. Carlos mission and, unable to make port, had returned to San Diego!

The second transport, after straying around the Santa Barbara channel, had made no further attempt to sail up the coast to Monterey. All the supplies were therefore in San Diego, while the northern establishments were left destitute. In writing to Palou of these annoying troubles, Junipero says:

The consolation is that the two missions of San Diego and San Gabriel are now relieved of anxiety. This one (San Carlos) and San Antonio and the presidio  are not in danger of being abandoned, but have the certainty of enduring more days of hardship. The pack mules for carrying supplies to us overland are few and in poor condition. The people are chiefly maintained by the Indians, and they live, God knows how. The milk of the cows and the vegetables of the gardens have been two great sources of subsistence for these establishments; both begin however now to get scarce, but it is not for this I feel troubled, it is because we have not been able to go on with other missions. . . .

All of the missionaries feel the vexatious troubles and obstacles which we have encountered, but no one thinks of leaving his mission or desires to do so. However it is consoling to think that troubles or no troubles, there are various souls for heaven from Monterey, San Antonio and San Diego, from San Gabriel there are none as yet. There are many Indians who praise God, and whose holy name is in their mouths more frequently than in those of many old Christians. Yet some think that from mild lambs as they are at present they will return some day to be lions and tigers. This may be so, if God permits; but we have three years experience with those of Monterey, and with those of San Antonio two years, and they appear better every day. . .

If all are not already Christians, it is in my opinion only owing to our want of understanding the language. This is a trouble not new to me, and I have always imagined that my sins have not permitted me to possess the faculty of learning strange tongues, which is a great misfortune in a country like this, where there is no interpreter or teacher of languages to be had, until some of the natives learn Spanish, which requires a long time. At San Diego they have already overcome this difficulty. They now baptize adults and celebrate marriages, and we are here approximating the same point. We have begun to explain to the youths in Castilian, and if they could give us a little assistance in another way we should in a short time care little about the arrival of the vessels as far as respects provisions. But as affairs are at present, the missions cannot much advance upon the whole. However I confide in God who will remedy all. [Palou, Vida, pp. 136-139].

He begs Palou to send missionaries to replace the two friars of San Gabriel, who because of ill health, had asked permission to leave California and adds with a good-natured warning:

Let those who come here, come well provided with patience and charity and let them pass on in good humor for they may become rich. I mean in troubles; but where will the laboring ox go, where he must not draw the plough? And if he do not draw the plow how can there be a harvest?

The frugal fare that those in the presidio  and missions were forced to subsist on caused every day greater suffering and discontent. This determined Junipero to go south himself to personally interview the cautious sea captains and urge upon them the necessity of making another attempt to reach Monterey.

Anxious Days

It was a hot August day when Junipero set out on foot from his mission, San Carlos, to travel to San Diego. With him were Fages, an escort of soldiers, and Padre Cavalier, the last named going in the capacity of minister to the fifth mission, San Luis Obispo, to the establishment of which Fages had now consented. It was the first time Junipero had taken the overland journey. He was enraptured with everything he saw, the groves of gigantic cypresses, the long forest stretches of noble live oaks, intermingled with fragrant firs and cedars, the brilliancy of innumerable wild flowers, the shining valleys, the high, shadowy hills, and all that picturesque scenery which nature has given to the land of California.

The first days of their journey they followed the coast, then struck off into the mountains, till they came within sight of the famous Cañado de los Osos. Overlooking a lovely valley and half a league from the cañado, Junipero selected the site for the new mission. It was on a pleasant hill, near a crystal stream, and three leagues from the sea. The business of founding a mission was usually a sufficiently simple one. It was enough that a padre should consecrate some sort of a shelter for a church, that he should be furnished with two or three sacred vessels and a small stock of provisions for himself and the soldiers who remained with him. Spiritual work was then at once begun. He and his guard made their home in the meanwhile in the greenwood, sleeping under starry skies or stormy until their first rude houses were erected.

In this manner was founded, September 1, 1772 San Luis Obispo. So inadequate was the allowance of food which could be spared Padre Cavaller it was necessary to leave an extra supply of coarse brown sugar with which he could purchase seeds from the Indians, who, retaining a grateful remembrance of Fages' bear-hunting expedition, were disposed to friendliness. The following day Junipero and Fages continued their march southward promising to forward fresh supplies to the mission when they reached San Diego. Cavalier, says Junipero, was "full of hope and confidence," which he also shared with him, though he adds:

Let us leave time to tell the story of the progress which I hope Christianity will make among the Indians here, in spite of the enemy who already began to lash his tail by means of a bad soldier . . . which greatly grieved the poor padre.

San Luis Obispo became in later years one of the wealthiest missions in the country. Mountain streams watered the rich lands in which were grown olives, apples, pears, figs, grapes, peaches, and other fruits, and cotton in large quantities. The first tiles in use in California were manufactured in this mission.

[Illustration] from Junipero Serra by A. H. Fitch


Descending to the coast again, Junipero and his party entered the beautiful region of the Santa Barbara channel, which long ago had been chosen as a desirable place for the establishment of San Buenaventura. Junipero determined to found this mission on his return journey. He seems to have entertained a particularly ardent wish to establish San Buenaventura, partly because his powerful friend and supporter, the Visitador General, Jose de Galvez, had chosen to give it his special patronage. Strangely enough, in spite of Junipero's repeated efforts, he did not succeed in founding the mission till shortly before his death in 1782. Instead of being among the first of the Alta California, establishments, San Buenaventura was, owing to certain concatenation of circumstances the last mission founded by the aged friar.

The situation of the Santa Barbara Channel country—midway between Monterey and San Diego—and its dense population rendered its acquisition, from a temporal point of view, an extremely important one to the conquerors. Junipero realized this fully. He cherished, as we have seen, the plan of forming a cordon of missions, which, starting from the extreme south of California, was to extend up the coast to San Francisco, the distance between the missions to be but a fait day's journey. It was an ambitious scheme and a noble one, and eventually was realized. The beautiful camino real  of later days was the footpath of the padres and their Indians as they traveled to and from their missions.

Ten days after leaving Padre Cavaller and his small-guard to erect the buildings at leisure, the travelers arrived at San Gabriel. It was Fray Junipero's first visit to the mission. As he let his gaze wander over the rich undulating country, he could see far off towards the east, towering above surrounding peaks, the great San Bernardino Mountain aglow with the splendor of the morning sun; to the north the lofty Sierras; while south and eastward stretched a plain, fertile, beautiful, and broad. Conditions in the San Gabriel mission had greatly improved, owing to the unremitting efforts of its ministers, and Junipero heard with delight, that a fair prospect existed of obtaining numerous converts. San Gabriel became in a short time the most important establishment in California. It served as a base for operations in the interior and enabled the government to carry out projects of a military and colonizing character, which would otherwise have been, if not impossible, at least impracticable.

The energetic Fray remained in this mission only long enough to receive the padres' reports and to thank them for their good work. Then he journeyed on, refusing to admit that he felt the strain of fatigue upon him. One of the padres from San Gabriel accompanied him to the southern port, to take charge of the supplies for his mission. Four days later they reached San Diego, Junipero foot-sore and very weary. His first act on arriving, before he rested, was to hasten to the harbor, where the two transports rode at anchor. The captain of the San Antonio  was as we know, a Majorcan. It was he Junipero sought. It was apparent that the captains of the transports, discouraged by their previous failure to reach Monterey, had no intention of attempting to make the northern port till the following spring. Perez was full of excuses. The season was late, he urged, and the autumn winds on the coast were violent. But Junipero refused to give these arguments weight. His Indians were near to starving, friars and soldiers were suffering from the scarcity of food. He finally wrung a promise from Perez to sail northward with his cargo of provisions immediately. Satisfied with the success of this effort the weary friar then superintended the packing of the mule train which was to carry needed supplies to San Luis.

These duties accomplished, Junipero, the burden of fatigue great upon him, sought rest in the mission. Yet even now he was permitted but a brief period of repose. Other matters equally, if not more, important were awaiting his attention. News had been received that Galvez, the powerful friend and coadjuster of the Californian conquest, had returned to Spain. Also the viceroy, the Marquis de Croix, who had always extended to Junipero's measures firm support and approbation, had left. Mexico and accepted the post of captain general in Valencia. Whether the new viceroy, Bucareli, would continue the broad, friendly policy of his predecessor in California affairs, was not known. The conquest was in that critical stage when the firm support of a liberal-minded viceroy was necessary to the continuance of its existence. Rumors reached Junipero that the naval station at San Blas, from which point the transports for California were equipped and sent out, was for economical reasons to be abandoned, and the supplies forwarded overland. The adoption of such a plan would, from its utter infeasibility, cause the ultimate abandonment of the new settlements. Still another source of uneasiness to the friar was the formal demand made by the Dominicans to assist in an equal degree with the Franciscans in the spiritual conquest and management of missions in California.

If the new viceroy should give his sanction to this demand, Junipero foresaw the endless complications and disagreements which such a division of authority would entail. Nor were these all the anxieties which confronted the president. There had existed for some time considerable friction between himself and Fages. Junipero's patience had been sorely tried by the quarrelsome young officer. That the latter's weakness was known to the viceroy is apparent from a letter he wrote Fages dated December, 1772, in which he charged him sternly to cease quarreling with the friars, to forget his personal prejudices, to promote mission work in every way, to treat converts well, and to labor more worthily for the service of God and his king. His unfortunate temper, his shortsightedness, his mediocre ability combined to render the lieutenant unfit to govern a country as wild and remote as California.

The severest trial Junipero had to encounter with Fages was the opposition he displayed to the founding of new missions. In the case of San Buenaventura this opposition finally resulted in an open rupture between the two. The supplies for the mission, the ministers, the sacred vessels, the agricultural implements were all in readiness at San Diego, nothing was lacking for the establishment but the soldiers necessary to form the guard. Yet when Junipero applied to Fages for this guard, he found to his bitter disappointment, as Palou tells us,

. . . the door dosed upon him and the commandant in such a mood that instead of founding new missions, the plans he contemplated were disastrous to the prosperity of those which already existed and which had cost so much labor to establish. [Palou, Vida, p. 146]

To change these projects Junipero employed all his prudence, patience, and skill, but without avail. Fages not only refused to reconsider his plans, but even went to the trouble of copying with elaborate care certain instructions of the viceroy's in which he cautioned the president and padres to furnish a good example to everyone in the province by obedience to the commandant. To this communication Junipero contented himself with replying that neither he or his subordinates had failed, or ever would fail to respect the commandant's orders.

In his intercourse with Fages, Junipero was always courteous. He appears like the founder of his order, to have seen in courtesy one of the qualities of God. Yet he met from the young Catalan little more than a succession of harsh rebuffs. With such a man at the helm, it is not surprising that Junipero had a hard struggle to prevent the entire conquest from becoming a failure. The troubles arising from Fages' attitude combined with the unknown policy of the new viceroy, the departure from Mexico of California's most powerful friend, Galvez, and the abolishment of the San Blas naval station made the situation appear to Junipero a very grave one.

He discussed the critical points in detail with the three missionaries who were in San Diego. All agreed that it was imperative for one of their number to journey forthwith to Mexico, interview the new viceroy, arouse his interest, if possible his enthusiasm, in the California cause, and win from him concessions which would insure the existence of their missions. It is not surprising that the friars with whom Junipero consulted should unanimously declare that he and he alone was competent to accomplish this task. He was the most eloquent, the most energetic, and mentally the best equipped of all their fraternity; therefore the least likely to encounter failure in this vital undertaking. If Junipero hesitated, feeling his sixty years weighing heavily upon him, and because of his lameness and the two hundred leagues of foot journey confronting him to add to the fatigue of the long journey he so recently had completed, it was but for a short time. He agreed to go. And so this master-spirit of the California conquest roused his tired body once more to action and prepared for the long, and to him, perilous journey to the capital of New Spain.

From the day he first stepped on California soil and looked down on the blue bay of San Diego, to that August morning in beautiful Carmel when he uttered his last prayer and his great tired heart ceased beating, he served the land of his adoption without faltering. It may be said of him that he walked the earth with bleeding feet and breathed out his life for California and her children. To have high hopes and noble aims in the morning of life is—common to most men; to cleave to those hopes and keep pure those aims amid the trials and distractions of later days is achieved by some; but to follow to life's end the lodestar of the soul, subordinating all else, to know the flood tide of spiritual life, and not be strangle: in the ebb, this is given only to the few who have been among the noble of the world.

Winning His Ends in Mexico

Fortunately for Junipero the transport San Carlos had unloaded the cargo of supplies and was ready to return to San Blas. It was decided that the friar should sail on this vessel and from San Blas make his way as best he could to the City of Mexico. It was the twentieth of October, 1772, when he embarked. Amid the threshing of heavy sprays, the pleasant cries of the seamen at their work, and the thundering of the sails, the San Carlos swept out into the broad Pacific and steered swiftly southward. Fifteen days later, with flowing sheets, she entered the bustling port of San Blas, and Fray Junipero once again set foot on what he termed "Christian land "after an absence of four long years. As he passed the shipyard where an unfinished transport, the Santiago, was lying in the stocks, he boarded her and made a careful examination of the carrying capacity of her hold. He calculated with great satisfaction the quantity of freight the frigate, when completed, could carry to the California missions. He urged the leisurely workmen to hasten their labors on the vessel, telling them he expected to return on her to San Diego.

They laughed incredulously, for already they had heard of the viceroy's determination to abolish the naval station, and knew that in all probability the last supply ship had sailed to California. Junipero's confidence was great, however, that his representation would suffice to retain the old order of things. That he was doubtful of his ability, of his physical strength, to endure the difficult overland journey to the City of Mexico is apparent from the fact that at Tepic, where he arrived some days later, he prepared with the utmost care a long paper detailing the requests he considered expedient to lay before the viceroy. This paper he dispatched to the guardian of San Fernando College to be acted upon in the event of his own death occurring before he reached his destination. At Tepic he was relieved of one of his anxieties. Here he learned that the demands of the Dominicans had been settled by ceding to them the missions of the Peninsula, while the Franciscans were to confine their interests entirely to Alta California. It was an arrangement that satisfied both orders and left each undisturbed by the other in their management of spiritual and temporal affairs.

Junipero was not so pleased however with an order which recalled all the Franciscans in the peninsula to Mexico, allowing but four of the entire number to volunteer for duty in Alta California. He promptly entered a protest, and set forth his reasons for soliciting at least eight or ten additional missionaries for the new province. He wrote to Palou, expressing the hope that his friend would be one of those who would volunteer to serve in Alta California.

If you decide that there we will live and die together, it will give me much consolation, but I can only say that you must do as God inspires you and that I will conform to the divine will. [Palou, Vida, p. 149]

Palou's love for his old professor is shown in the fact that he ignored a permission, which was almost a request, to return to the college in Mexico, where his friend, Fray Rafael Verges, had been promoted to the important post of Guardian. Palou was a man of parts, a scholar, cultured and refined; it may well be supposed that the prospect of returning to the capital, where he had influential friends anxious to welcome him back, and where the chances of rapid advancement were most favorable to him, would offer strong incentives for leaving the Californian wilderness. But it is pleasant to note that he remained faithful to Junipero and was during the latter's lifetime his most enthusiastic, efficient co-laborer. Such friendship throws an illuminating light on the human side of Junipero's character. He appears to have possessed the faculty of attaching to himself men who unfalteringly followed his lead, undeterred by any obstacle but death. A similar friendship was that of Fray Juan Crespi and Fray Antonio Paterna, as well as other friars of the California missions. Junipero's influence over the minds of men like Galvez, keen, alert, of brilliant intellect, of indomitable will; of men like de Croix, fond of the pleasures of the table, fonder of the contents of the wine bottle, and none too fond of celibate orders, whether the members thereof wore the Jesuit or Franciscan garb, shows him to have been a man of extraordinary character.

When Junipero sailed for San Bias, he brought with him a young Indian convert from Monterey. Through him the friar hoped to stimulate the authorities to renewed interest in the spiritual conquest of California. The two left Tepic after a short sojourn. The roads from the coast to the City of Mexico were little more than trails, always bad and often dangerous. The nerves and endurance of even the best traveler were taxed to the uttermost on this journey. There were no stage lines in Fray Junipero's days, they were not introduced till 1791; until that time travelers had to depend entirely upon their own resources and precaution in crossing difficult mountains and bridgeless rivers, rivers which were frequently high, swollen, and turbulent from the rains; and to these difficulties were added the sharp stings of innumerable mosquitoes and gnats. It does not surprise us therefore to learn that both Junipero and the young neophyte fell dangerously ill. They had reached Guadalajara, eighty leagues from the coast, when they succumbed to a malignant fever and were so near to dying that the last sacrament was administered to them both. Junipero was greatly distressed by the thought that he had brought the young Californian so far from his home to die. He was filled with anxious forebodings lest the friends and relatives of the Indian should refuse to attribute his death to natural causes and seek to avenge it. He prayed ceaselessly as he lay on his fever bed, that the life of his companion be spared. In time the fevers abated and they both recovered. As soon as their strength permitted, they resumed their journey.

When within forty leagues of the capitol, and in the city of Queretaro, the old friar's strength gave out and from sheer exhaustion he again fell dangerously ill. He was housed in the Franciscan college at Queretaro, where the physician in charge attended him. After the third visit to his patient, the doctor announced that the end was near. Once again Fray Junipero prepared to take the last sacrament. It happened that a visiting physician, who had just arrived in the college, heard of the old man's illness. Curiosity to see the friar, of whose reputation he had heard, prompted him to ask permission to visit the sick room. He appears to have been a man of greater skill or penetration than the attending doctor, for having exchanged a few words with Junipero, he cried cheerfully, "Is this the father to whom you intend to give the last sacrament? You may as well give it to me, in that case! You can rise, father, you are well, nothing is the matter with you."

To those in attendance he said, "Tell the Father Guardian we will have no last sacrament," and again turning to Junipero, he added, "If it were not so late in the day already, I would let you rise now. But tomorrow you can leave your couch and when you are thoroughly rested and a little stronger, you can continue your journey."

It needed but this encouragement to summon back the tired old man's belief in his own strength. A few days later he set forth again, arriving in Mexico February 6, 1773, "very tired, disfigured and thin," (muy cansado, disfigurado, y flaco).

While we leave Junipero to recuperate in the San Fernando College, we will anticipate him in making the acquaintance of the new viceroy. Antonio Maria Bucareli was related to the highest nobility, of Spain and Italy. His family could boast of having given to the church of Rome three popes and a goodly number of cardinals, as well as high officials in the state and royal army. Bucareli himself was the recipient of special kingly favors. These favors, like many kingly ones, were not bestowed on a man without merit. Bucareli possessed energy, resoluteness, an honest desire to manage wisely and economically the royal treasury in New Spain, to keep well replenished the king's coffers and not overburden the people with taxation. When he came to Mexico he did not comprehend the movement in California, nor its importance to Spain. He had ordered the abandonment of San Blas as a naval station from economical motives. The expense of retaining this station was great, and its necessity not apparent to the viceroy. He knew the policy of the king was to occupy and control all the northwest coast, thereby excluding foreign powers from the northern country and from encroaching on his southern possessions. That the expensive San Blas establishment was imperative to the continuance of this policy he did not believe. The supplies for the Alta California, settlements could, he had been assured, be sent by small boats across the gulf and hence overland by mule trains at a far less cost to the government. Whether the guardian of San Fernando College attempted to disprove these assertions is not apparent, but in any case, when Fray Junipero arrived in Mexico the viceroy had already determined upon the new method of forwarding supplies to California. To convince Bucareli not only of the impracticability of this plan but that its adoption would infallibly result in the abandonment of the new province, became the first task which Junipero set himself.

The reception the viceroy accorded the humble Majorcan, when he presented himself, was a friendly one; yet the friar's anxiety must have been great lest his mission fail. He did not waste words, but immediately explained the object of his coming. With all his humility, Junipero knew how to speak out boldly when occasion required. No awe of superior power, of aristocratic lineage, would keep the peasant-born priest silent when the great spiritual conquest of California was endangered. He expressed his opinion with a simplicity and frankness which did not fail to produce a strong impression.

Bucareli recognized immediately the superior intelligence abiding in the pale, emaciated old man, who spoke with the conviction of absolute knowledge of his subject. He listened attentively while Junipero proved point by point the impracticableness of the viceroy's plans. The great expense of the San Blas station, he said, had been due to the building of new transports and warehouses. This outlay would no longer be necessary. The ware-houses were completed and the vessels already in commission. On the other hand, if the supplies were sent overland, the cost to the government would be enormous. Not less than fifteen hundred mules would be required for transportation, besides a guard of one hundred men and as many horses. All this would require so long a time in the preparation that famine would again threaten California and the province would probably be abandoned. Junipero also pointed out that the constant passage of caravans, of rough, immoral men, indifferent to the great object of the conquest, would unavoidably have a disastrous effect upon the natives who lived along the route between Velicata and Monterey.

Viceroy Bucareli was unable to answer these arguments, had he desired to do so. He was deeply impressed by the clear, concise statement, as well as by the keen enthusiasm of a man who, lame, weak, and old had nevertheless taken so long and perilous a journey by land and sea to present his cause. He saw that Junipero was not a mere zealot, that though a perfect priest, he was more than that, he was a man of resolution, vigorous action, cultivated mind, and penetrating observation, that in his old age he had as much unconquerable vitality as when a young monk he determined to devote his life to converting the savage hordes inhabiting New Spain. Bucareli suddenly felt a keen desire to extend all possible assistance to this champion of the California cause. He told Junipero to prepare in writing a categorical statement of the suggestions he wished to make on the subject of the California settlements. He then dismissed him, promising speedily and favorably if possible to consider his plans.

But Junipero was not ready to be dismissed. With quiet persistency he reminded Bucareli of the necessity of immediately forwarding orders to San Blas that vessels should continue to carry the usual supplies to California, or those in the province would be in danger of starving while the transportation problem was being discussed in Mexico. The viceroy may well have been surprised at the fearless and obstinate stand of this lowly friar. Nevertheless he recognized the force of Junipero's argument and promised to dispatch couriers to the coast without delay. He then again dismissed the visitor, whose words and bearing had so deeply impressed him.

Junipero returned to the college where he spent the following two days busily preparing his representation. When it was completed, he again sought the viceroy, and handing him the document said:

I hope your Excellency will read this, and that you will decide that all I have asked is just and expedient and act upon my suggestions as soon as possible, in which case I will return to California contentedly, and if not I must return sorrowfully though always resigned to the will of God. [Palou, Vida, p. 154]

Junipero's representation contained thirty-two suggestions. In this extensive statement he again demonstrated his practical intelligence, his ability as a man of business, as a pioneer, as a framer of rules and regulations, and as a missionary. He showed his perfect knowledge of conditions necessary to the prosperity of the country, and a judicious choice of measures to insure the stability of these conditions.

He headed his long list of recommendations with the request for a master and mate to assist Juan Perez in the transport service, and asked that greater dispatch be made towards completing the large new vessel in course of construction at San Blas.

A voyage with her [he said], together with the two pack boats would relieve the affliction and misery in the presidios  and missions and keep the people happy and contented, which, as we all know, is highly important for the advancement of the conquest. [Palou's Noticias, III, p. 88]

He advised the exploration of overland routes to California by way of Sonora and New Mexico and the assignment of the command of the expedition to Captain Anza of Tubac, who had already volunteered for this service. He also dwelt on the expediency of continuing the explorations of the northern coast and suggested that the vessel which was to sail to Monterey with supplies be put into commission for this purpose. He asked for the establishment of more presidios, an increase of too soldiers, a physician to replace Doctor Pratt, who died demented, and a storehouse at Monterey. He advocated the sending of settlers to California, and that young men with knowledge of farming and capable of teaching agricultural pursuits be enlisted and distributed among the missions, that they should not be removed or interfered with by the commandant and should receive sailors' pay and rations, and be permitted to return after one year if they so desired. He also asked for two blacksmiths with forges, and two carpenters, that the Indians might be taught these trades. He advised a more careful and honest inspection of the supplies shipped from San Blas to California, as the goods often arrived in bad condition and under weight. He dwelt upon the troubles between the Franciscans and the military authorities and advised that the fathers be permitted to manage mission Indians without the interference of the commandant, and that neither officers nor soldiers should be allowed to punish the converts. He asked that soldiers of bad conduct be transferred from the mission to the presidio  at a padre's request without requiring the latter to name and prove the offense to the commandant. He advised the removal of Don Pedro Fages as commandant of California, stating sufficient reasons why his continuance in office was not conducive to spiritual or temporal progress in the new province, and suggested that the next officer in command should be of los senores de tropa arreglad  (of the regular service), as being more competent to command. He recommended Jose Francisco Ortega as a successor to Fages, giving lengthy and detailed reasons for his preference, dwelling particularly upon his services in the overland journey to California in 1769.

Accompanied by but one soldier he explored in advance the road we would have to travel. This he did for more than a month, during which our journey lasted, thereby traveling three times the road which the rest of us traveled but once. . . . . The soldier who accompanied him was frequently relieved, but the sergeant never. [Palou's Noticias, III, p. 44]

Junipero also referred to Ortega's explorations of San Francisco, hinting that he displayed greater skill as an explorer than those in command of the expedition. In dealing with the troops he was, added the friar "firm, prudent, and wise without being unduly severe." Junipero made certain wise and practical suggestions for improving the system then in use of paying California soldiers. His method, if adopted, would, he thought, render the men more contented and induce others to volunteer for service in the new province. He considered that the time had come when the Spaniards should establish families in the new settlements; that from conquerors they should become colonists and for the success of this stage of the occupation, women were a necessity. Their presence would, he said, have a good effect upon the savages, who had expressed the greatest astonishment at not seeing any women among so many men, and who therefore doubted whether marriages were customary among Christians. He suggested that a reward in live stock be bestowed upon all soldiers who married Indian women, as this would encourage them to settle in California and to plant and harvest for themselves.

From the year 1769—the date of the occupation of Alta California—to the year of Junipero's plucky journey to Mexico, these new possessions of the Spanish crown had been regarded merely as necessary points of protection to Baja California, and as furnishing relief stations to the Manila galleons, stations unprofitable in themselves and troublesome to maintain, and even the farseeing wisdom of Galvez, the diplomacy of de Croix, and the personal observation of Governor Portola, failed to grasp their value as colonies. It remained for Junipero to arouse the viceroy to a due sense of the importance of colonizing the new province.

In the midst of his projects for the maintenance of the missions and presidios, Junipero did not forget the homesick soldiers who were stationed in California. He begged that all those who had families in New Spain and had long been separated from them be allowed to return home; that all deserters be pardoned, and that soldiers who were; in ill health be granted leave of absence. Nor did he forget to make some earnest pleas for the needy missionaries.

He asked that their meager salaries be increased from 300 pesos a year to 350 pesos and that they be awarded the same privilege as the military in California in the matter of franking their letters. In making this request, he adds, somewhat pertinently:

If the señors, officers and soldiers are allowed to dispense with the law, why not the missionaries also; who, then are more military than we who are always in the campaign and as near to the arrows of Indians as any soldier? [ Palou's Noticias, III p. 59]

He then asks that the same señors officials  be prohibiendo rigorosamente  from opening or turning aside the padres' letters.

It was one of the many curious traits of Junipero's character that in the midst of recommendations of vital importance to the progress and welfare of the province, he should insert long-winded requests for additional supplies for his churches in the missions. Moreover, of these supplies he was satisfied with none but the best. In Article 21 of his representacion  he reminded the viceroy that his Majesty was accustomed to give sacred vessels and vestments to the new missions, and that many of these donations, having been taken from the Jesuit establishments in Baja California, and passed on to the Franciscans, were found to be for the most part, in the matter of vestments, very ragged, soiled, and unserviceable; he therefore begged for a better assortment, in order that the missionaries might "celebrate with some decency" their church ceremonies. He also asked for four large and small bells for missions.

In this connection I will add [he said] that having seen the four bells cast in San Blas foundry and comparing their cost with those cast in Mexico, I found the expense of the latter including the transportation charges not much greater. And in truth the bells of the San Blas foundry were very clumsy and ugly, although I am unable to pronounce on opinion as to the quality of their tone, for they were not suspended and I could not test them. [Palou's Noticias, III p. 57]

He also petitioned that the expenses incurred by his journey from California to Mexico be refunded to him. Junipero habitually spent his entire salary for the benefit of the Indians; whatever decreased or interfered with these expenditures was a matter of moment to him. In concluding his lengthy representacion, he begged the viceroy to decide as quickly as possible on its merits, in order that he could return "to that poor vineyard of the Savior, for broken in health as I find myself it is necessary that 'I take my road very slowly."

When the viceroy read Junipero's document, he realized that the suggestions it embodied were of too great importance to be either summarily dismissed or to be acted upon without due consideration. He accordingly laid the whole matter before the junta de guerra y real hacienda. This board occupied six months in deciding upon the various recommendations. The points pertaining to the military establishments were referred by the junta  to Juan Jose Echeveste, formerly an officer in the San Blas department, and deemed thoroughly conversant with this part of the subject. It may well be supposed that Junipero did not wait idly in his convent while his suggestions were being passed upon, but that he brought all his powers of eloquence and argument to bear upon the board members who had the matter under consideration.

His single-hearted enthusiasm for the cause in which he was engaged, an enthusiasm which had so deeply impressed the viceroy, must here also have had its effect. Practically all his suggestions were adopted and all his requests conceded, with the exception of a few minor ones, which included a refusal to refund to him the expenses of his journey to Mexico.

The board's action was a distinct triumph for Junipero. His representacions  were now to constitute the new code for Alta California.

The viceroy moreover considered his arguments against the abolishment of the naval station at San Blas so well advanced, that he ordered Junipero to draw up another document dealing with this subject alone, and had it forwarded to Madrid, to be laid before the king, with the result that Carlos III. promptly commanded that the naval station should not only be retained, but that extensive improvements and additions should be made therein.

In the meanwhile Echeveste had formulated a plan dealing with the military requirements of the new province. Junipero had asked for one hundred men; this number Echeveste reduced to eighty-two, including a captain and a lieutenant. He then assigned twenty-five men to each of the presidios  and five men to each of the six missions. This distribution however did not satisfy Junipero. He pointed out that if fifteen soldiers were assigned to the presidios, the missions which were far apart and surrounded by hordes of gentiles could each have a guard of ten soldiers and thus be more adequately protected. He was permitted to make these changes, which were considered not to embody greater importance than appeared on the surface. But the diplomatic friar had in view another object quite apart from that of protecting existing establishments. By doubling the guard of the missions, he would be able to found new missions without first gaining the consent of the commandant, a consent which Junipero's experience taught him was not easily obtained. Satisfied with the success of his mission, he prepared to return to California at once.

He succeeded in obtaining from the viceroy a generous limosna  in the shape of clothing, provisions and other supplies to the value of twelve thousand dollars, and five packages of blue cloth to be made into garments for the little Indian maids. Junipero was delighted, and full of hope departed for his adopted land. He had galvanized into life the dying interests of California. He bade farewell to the brethren in the college, kissed their feet, begged their forgiveness for any bad example he might unwittingly have set them and asked their blessing. All had learned to sincerely love the humble, kind-hearted old man. They feared the effects of the long and difficult journey upon his enfeebled health. He had not entirely recuperated from his past illness, and it was apparent that his constitution was greatly impaired by the protracted fatigues he had already endured. As he tottered feebly from the doors of San Fernando, the eyes of the watching friars filled with tears. Not one among them doubted but that he would die upon the road. They were somewhat consoled by the knowledge that Junipero would have the companionship of one of their order, as Fray Pablo Mugartegui had volunteered to join the missionary band in Alta California. It was the month of September, 1773, when the two friars started forth to travel two hundred leagues to the coast. They arrived at Tepic without mishap. Here they were obliged to wait until January before an opportunity offered for sailing to California. Finally they embarked at San Blas on the Santiago, the very vessel Junipero had so carefully inspected on his arrival at that port eighteen months before. As he was going on board a workman accosted him.

Padre Presidente, the prophecy you made to us when you arrived from Monterey that you would return there on the Santiago  is about to be fulfilled. At the time we only laughed at you, for we knew of the order to abandon the naval station; but now we see that your prediction has been verified and that you are going on this frigate. God bless you and give you a happy voyage. [Palou, Vida, p. 158]

Junipero smiled at this frank confidence in his prophetic powers, but the candid simplicity of his character made him promptly disabuse the man's credulity:

What I said was due only to my great desire to see completed such a fine large vessel, capable of carrying many supplies to the poor people in California, but I suppose that God permitted my wish to be realized; to Him I give thanks, and to you also as well as to all those who worked with you so laboriously for their benefit. [Palou, Vida, p. 158]

The Santiago  sailed January 24, 1774. She was commanded by honest Juan Perez, the Majorcan whom Junipero had recommended as the most skillful and capable navigator for the proposed northern explorations. The passengers, besides Junipero and Padre Mugartegui, and the new surgeon, Jose Davelo and his family, were three blacksmiths with their families and three carpenters. The frigate was well laden with supplies for the missions and presidios. After a voyage of forty-nine days she arrived in San Diego Bay. His heart throbbing with joy, Junipero stepped ashore and heartily embraced the friends who had gathered on the beach to give him welcome. There are few things so conducive to happiness as work successfully accomplished, and there is nothing so quickening to health as happiness. This, therefore, was the reason why Fray Junipero, in spite of the hardships endured in many long leagues of rough land journeying and a wearisome sea voyage, returned to the home of his adoption stronger in health than when he left it, nearly two years previous.

Before concluding this chapter let us pause a moment and ponder the consequences had Junipero failed in his mission to Mexico. The San Blas naval station would have been abolished; the transports would have ceased to carry supplies to California; and attempts would have been made to forward provisions by mule trains over long, sandy plains and rough mountain passes. These trains, requiring a large guard, because of the hordes of savages through whose country they must travel, would have proved an enormous expense to the government, and, combined with the difficulty and uncertainty of this mode of transfer, a more or less useless one. Such attempts therefore would soon have been abandoned. California, in the meanwhile, would have remained in a condition of semi-starvation. Fages, the unpopular and incompetent, would have continued in command, his soldiers to desert, to commit lawless acts, antagonizing the savages and eventually arousing their deadly enmity against all Spaniards; the friars would have been powerless to remedy these evils. No new missions would have been founded, no pueblos  established, no settlers sent out. The missions already in existence would one by one have fallen into decay and finally been abandoned. Unsupported by an apathetic government, Alta California would soon have ceased to exist as a Spanish colony. In view of the proximity of Russia's possessions on the northwest coast, it is idle to suppose that Russia had not by this time become fully cognizant of the Spaniards' occupation of Alta California, and was not watching the progress of affairs there with deep interest. From the day when Czar Peter the Great after long war and much bloodshed, sat himself down in content in "his window looking on Europe," as he called St. Petersburgh, Russia's chief aim in all her wars, explorations, and diplomacies, has been to acquire the seaports she needed for her pent-in nation; to this end her numerous struggles with the Turk to the south, and to this end her slow, weary progress over the frozen steppes of Siberia to the distant shores of the Pacific.

Catherine II., "the half glorious and wholly wicked," was never too engrossed in her love affairs, manifold though they were, to neglect the affairs of her empire. During her reign she enlarged her vast dominions by a quarter of a million of square miles. She took the deepest interest in, and encouraged by promises of special rewards, any explorations on the Pacific. She sent out expeditions to the northwest coast, taking pains at the same time to mislead the world as to the real object of these expeditions. Upon the abandonment of Alta California by the Spaniards, it cannot be doubted that Catherine would have hastened to swoop down upon this delectable land, where she would have acquired one of the most magnificent harbors, if not the most magnificent, in the world. Whether Russia would have been willing to yield to us so fair a portion of the Pacific coast as she was to yield the barren shores of Alaska—then regarded only as a land of arctic cold and short mosquito-ridden summers, a land of countless sphagnous swamps, vast moors, and bleak mountains—may be considered an open question. It is at least fair to assume that she would have clung tenaciously to a country whose future commercial importance the harbor of San Francisco would have foretold; and the consequences to the United States of having a great foreign power between herself and the Pacific Ocean would surely have been so far reaching as to alter the trend of history.

Adventures of Captain Anza

During the president's absence, the missions had suffered from lack of food. Although the viceroy, at Junipero's insistence, had, as we have seen, sent orders that a transport should be promptly dispatched with supplies to California, stormy weather and continued hard winds had driven the vessel up the gulf instead of out to sea, and the captain had found himself obliged to put in at Loreto, where the cargo was unloaded. The absence of adequate means of conveyance rendered it impossible to forward the provisions overland to the remote settlements in Alta California. During the eight months in which no succor reached them, soldiers and friars had suffered many privations. One is however inclined to smile over Palou's mournful statement that he was even compelled to drink coffee in lieu of chocolate. But that he was reduced to a fare distressingly frugal is apparent from the fact that for thirty-seven days he had subsisted on a few ground peas and beans mixed with a little milk, unrelieved by either a tortilla or a morsel of bread.

Palou had gone to Alta California as soon as the Dominicans had taken charge of the missions in the peninsula and the business of the transfer had been completed. When within a league of Monterey, he was joyfully greeted by Crespi, who, impatient to see his old schoolfellow, had set out to meet him. Palou was enthusiastic over the natural beauties of Monterey and Carmel, places which he had longed to visit ever since reading Torquemada's description of the country when that friar accompanied Vizcaino's expedition in 1603.

Pending Junipero's return, Palou acted as president of the Alta California missions, with headquarters at San Carlos.

There is little to record of internal affairs in the province during this period. Everything was at a standstill, while both commandants, soldiers, and friars waited with varying degrees of interest and anxiety for the results of Junipero's visit to Mexico. These results began to manifest themselves early in the following year. Don Pedro Fages had for some time entertained doubts as to the expediency of his former open and puerile hostility towards the friars, but he was probably far from anticipating the full effects of this hostility upon himself. He felt secure in the favor of the powerful Galvez. When therefore, rumors reached him that Captain Rivera y Moncada had orders to supersede him in his command, and that extensive plans were on foot for increasing the importance of the province, he was filled with chagrin. The soldiers, on the contrary, were delighted at the prospect of being rid of an officer whose harsh treatment and petty tyranny made him universally disliked and earned for him the soubriquet of el Oso  (the bear). The friars diplomatically refrained from any expression on the subject and contented themselves with awaiting the return of their president.

At the very time that Junipero was embarking at San Blas on a transport laden with supplies for California, Captain Rivera y Moncada, with fifty soldiers, was marching northward to the same destination to assume command, and Captain Anza, in the distant presidio  of Tubac, in Sonora, was engaged in exploring the overland route. Let us turn our attention for a time to this last journey. It will be remembered that in Junipero's representacion  he strongly advocated an exploration from Sonora to Alta California for the purpose of opening a route which would establish land communications between the new province and the central government; and he recommended Captain Juan Bautista Anza as an eminently suitable person to take command of the enterprise.

Anza was as brave and gallant an officer as his father had been before him; he was a man of action, a splendid patriot, as liberal with his money as he was ready with his life to serve his country. When Galvez was preparing his great expedition of 1769, Captain Anza offered to fit out at his own expense a land party and meet the explorers in Alta California. His offer was declined by the Visitador General, who considered the enterprise unnecessary.

It was not until after Junipero's argument in favor of this exploration that the viceroy dispatched orders to Anza to make the journey at the government's expense.

So it happened that while the president hastening back to California, Captain Anza was marching by way of Caborca and Sonoita to the junction of the Gila and the Colorado, bound for the same goal. He did not start, however, without first encountering serious difficulties. He had obtained his complement of men, collected his horses and cattle, and was resolved on a speedy departure, when his old enemies, the Apaches, swooped down upon the presidio  on one of their characteristic raids, killed some of his men and relieved him of a fair portion of his the livestock.

Anza was unable to supplement the loss of his soldiers by further reinforcements, and was compelled to start with a reduced force, numbering in all not more than twenty-four men, including the muleteers and Indian servants, who were in charge of the animals.

In a measure he was compensated for the delay entailed by his loss by the unexpected appearance of an Indian guide. This man was a Baja Californian neophyte named Sebastian Tarabal, who had escaped from the San Gabriel mission, traversed the desert, crossed the Colorado River and finally turned up at Tubac. He had therefore successfully made the very journey upon which Anza was about to engage.

The captain was not slow to see the advantage such a man would be to him and promptly availed himself of his services. It is said that Sebastian was accompanied in his flight from the mission by his wife and another neophyte, both of whom perished miserably, unable to endure the hardships encountered in their wanderings.

At the head of his little cavalcade, which included two Franciscan friars (one of them the adventurous explorer, Padre Garces), Anza set out from the presidio  one morning in early January.

A month's uneventful travel brought him to the Gila, at its junction with the Colorado. Here the Spaniards were received with great friendliness by Palma, the celebrated Yuma chief, who entertained them hospitably in his rancheria. There were many rancherias  on the banks of the Colorado, and many cultivated fields of maize, wheat, beans, gourds, and watermelons. The Indians were well formed and to a certain extent civilized. They had an abundance of horses and mares which they obtained from Sonora; every Indian rode, the women as well as the men, using pieces of skin in lieu of saddles. These savages bore slight resemblance, if any, to the lazy, filthy, and brutish Californians.

After a short rest, Anza and his party crossed the Colorado. Palma accompanied them several leagues upon their way. To cement the friendship of this powerful chieftain of the fierce and warlike Yumas, Anza decorated him with a badge of office under the King of Spain. This meaningless bauble greatly impressed the Indian; he swore eternal fidelity to his royal master, and gratitude to the donor of the trinket. Anza, though pleased with the good effect produced both by his gift and his fair treatment of the Indians, was far from realizing the importance of Palma's pledge, until the following year when the Yumas refused to join the Dieguenos in a general uprising against the Spaniards in California.

After separating from Palma, the travelers journeyed on, trusting to their guide, Sebastian. But whether by design or accident, the neophyte led them too far southward, and they found themselves in the upper part of Baja California, in a desolate region without grass or water. They wandered aimlessly about for six days, then finally made their way back again to the friendly Yuma chieftain. From here a fresh start was made to cross the great desert, but not before Anza disencumbered his expedition of a large part of the cattle, which he left with Palma, together with nine of his own men. Thus in lighter marching order, he set out again, following a route which lies south of the present Santa Fe railroad, but which was practically the same before he reached the gloomy San Gorgonio Pass.

After twenty days of marching and more than eight weeks from the day he left the Tubac presidio  Anza and his party passed through the palisade gates of the San Gabriel mission. Their rations were exhausted, and they had looked forward to a feast of plenty at San Gabriel. In this, however they were disappointed, for destitution almost equal to their own reigned in the mission. Nevertheless friars and soldiers gave them a hearty greeting, and a cow was slaughtered in their honor. But before the hungry explorers and equally hungry San Gabrielites feasted, they listened dutifully to a mass, Te Deum, and sermon of welcome.

Anza rested a few days, then hurried on to Monterey, hoping to meet Junipero there. He took with him an escort of six men, leaving the other members of his expedition to recuperate at San Gabriel. But Fray Junipero had not yet arrived at Monterey. When he had stepped ashore at San Diego, and learned of the distress existing in all the settlements because of lack of food, he had promptly decided to continue the journey to Monterey overland, in order to visit the missions on the way and himself bring the succor they so greatly needed. Junipero possessed in an eminent degree the faculty of cheering and stimulating those with whom he came in contact. Of this he was undoubtedly sensible, and realizing that among the missionaries were some who, discouraged, desired to be relieved from the prolonged and lonely struggle in California and return to Mexico, he started forth to see them, to equip them anew with cheerful energy for their work, and to help them forget the inevitable hardships accompanying life in a wilderness, in the glad hope of a future reward. The Santiago  therefore sailed up the coast to Monterey without him, while he trudged on foot, bound for the same destination. He was one month making the journey. On the road he met Captain Anza, who, failing to find the president at Monterey, had remained there but three days, then turned south again to join his company at San Gabriel. Both officer and friar were delighted at this encounter. Junipero asked to hear the details of Anza's journey from Sonora across the Colorado desert. He listened with the keenest interest and gratification, as the officer recounted the successful issue of his exploration. They discussed the general practicableness of this overland route, the report Anza would make to the viceroy regarding it, and the various advantages the opening of the new road would bring to Alta California. Anza is one of the most picturesque and gallant figures in early California history. His achievement in making a successful journey of a thousand miles, the greater part of it over the untried Arizona desert was as extraordinary as it was brave.

After a short rest the two plucky travelers wished one another Godspeed and parted in the wilderness, the soldier on horseback, the friar on foot. A short distance below Monterey Junipero was met by his two old friends the Padres Crespi and Palou. They had hastened out to welcome him home again. Says Palou:

His safe return was for us all a great happiness not only because of the excellent measures he had so successfully obtained for the advancement of the conquest, but principally to see him more robust in health and stronger after so many illnesses and the fatigue of his long journey. [Palou's Noticias, III p. 149]

The road the three friends traveled together that day from Monterey to Carmel is still pointed out to visitors as the old padres' road. It leads over oak-clad hills and through thick forests of pine and cypresses, where the waves dashing against the great rocks can be heard and often seen, and the salt flavor of the ocean clings to the lips, and odors of rosemary and sweet lavender scent the air. Junipero's mission was at the head of a small canon. The aspect of the surrounding country has changed but little since the good friar's day. In the near distance lie the long-sweeping slopes of the Santa Lucia range, its serrated lines sharply profiled against the sky, its base girdled by fertile fields of wild flowers, and cool stretches of forest of live oaks and cypresses. Not a few of these trees are over six feet in diameter, and close to two hundred feet in height. Great festoons of gray moss hang from the branches, adding strikingly to their antiquated appearance. In places where the soft summer fogs have caressed the giant hills, an emerald tint is seen, mingling with the parched browns and yellows that predominate in the dry seasons. Back of the mission throbs the great Pacific, tossing the spray of its waves high, to fall again on sand of such dazzling whiteness, its equal is scarce to be found in the world. To the present-day visitor there is something memorable in the sense of restfulness, of pleasant peace that breathes from this scene, as if it were the blessing of Fray Junipero himself on those who tarry near his favorite mission. Perhaps San Carlos more than any other mission in California produces on us the strong impression of one man's character and endeavor. When Junipero trod painfully, haltingly, long stretches of wilderness, and established the line of missions on the shores of the Pacific, he trod a vast amount of history into the soil of California. And when he lay down to rest in his well-loved San Carlos church he closed his tired eyes on a world in which he had labored zealously and effected extraordinary things. It is in the San Carlos mission that one seems to be brought in closer sympathy with the personality of this remarkable friar.

It was the first time the three friends were assigned to the same mission since their arrival in America. Their reunion in San Carlos therefore was to them a particularly joyful one.

Though so dissimilar in character, these Majorcan friars represented the finest type of missionary. Palou was the youngest of the three. He had probably already begun to write his Noticias, which, together with his Vida del V. Padre Fr. Junipero Serra, constitutes the standard history of early California days. His pure Castilian style, at once simple and elegant, has been commented upon even by present-day critics. A refined scholar himself, he entertained the highest regard for the scholarship of others. He was noble-minded, generous, and practical. If it is permissible to draw inferences of an author's personality from his writings, one is tempted to apply to Palou the greatly abused term, "cultured gentleman."

Juan Crespi possessed less intellectual force than Francisco Palou, but in piety and loyal discharge of his duties was not a whit inferior to his old schoolmate. He was something of a dreamer, in character, gentle, lovable, and unselfish. There was a certain charming ingenuousness in Padre Juan that remained with him to the end of his days.

Junipero Serra was the oldest of the friends. It is scarcely necessary to sketch again the portrait of this remarkable monk, the master-spirit of the California conquest. The moral grandeur of the man, his indomitable spirit, his energy, his capacity, his keen-sightedness meet us at every turn. Nature had given him the intellect of a profound scholar coupled with the practical abilities of a man of affairs.

Seated in their rude dwelling at the close of day, the friars discussed the subjects nearest their hearts, the conversions of gentiles, the prosperity of the missions, Junipero asking and answering questions and listening to the accounts his friends gave of the events in California during his long absence. It may well be supposed that there were not wanting instances to be related of arbitrary rulings on the part of Captain Fages, and tales of discontented, discouraged friars who wished to return to Mexico.

But one of Fray Junipero's most pronounced characteristics was a strong aversion to personalities in conversation, unless they were of a friendly nature. Harsh criticisms of absent ones he would not tolerate; he quietly changed the conversation or said plainly: "Let us not talk about that. It causes me pain."

Palou compares Junipero to the tree of his name, which scared away all serpents and poisonous animals:

It is the same with our Junipero, for in his presence no one heard or could speak but what was edifying. Juniperus arbor est crescens in desertis, cujus umbram serpentes fugiunt, ideo in umbra ejus homines secure dormiunt. [Palou, Vida, p. 301]

Junipero had been in his mission little more than a week when Captain Rivera y Moncada arrived in Monterey to supersede Don Pedro Fages as military ruler of Alta California.

The new commandant had not been Junipero choice. A keen observer of men, quick to judge of their capabilities, he had in the matter of Rivera's fitness to govern the province very much the same opinion as Galvez. For this reason he had urged the selection of Sergeant Ortega—(since promoted to his lieutenancy) for commandant. Rivera's appointment, however, was by no means entirely displeasing to the president. The captain's popularity with his soldiers and his sound morality might well weigh in Junipero's opinion against a certain lack of force and competency.

With the arrival of his successor and the near approach of his own departure, Fages' attitude towards Junipero underwent a marked change. As was often the case when the young officer found himself in difficulties, he appealed for assistance to the very men whom on other occasions he habitually treated with haughty insolence. He had become suddenly apprehensive of the reception the viceroy would accord him on his return to Mexico. He might be received not merely with coldness, but with reproaches for having neglected so fair an opportunity of promoting the prosperity of the province and of having followed too much the whims of his own prejudices. It was necessary to convince Bucareli that he—Don Pedro Fages—was not as black as he had been painted, that, in point of fact, he was a very fine fellow, indeed, and adapted to fill creditably any desirable post the viceroy might happen to have vacant. In such a matter, whose influence would count more with the viceroy than Fray Junipero's? No scruples of pride deterred Don Pedro where his own interests were at stake. Yet he hesitated to approach Junipero himself, remembering perhaps somewhat too vividly, even for his complacency, the many affronts he had put upon the old man. Accordingly, he made occasion to meet one of the friars—probably the good-natured Crespi—whom he knew to be highly esteemed by Junipero, and besought him to prevail upon the president to write a letter of "recommendation to the Señor Virey." The friar promised to do his best.

What Junipero thought of this extraordinary request is not apparent. He was, however, essentially a kind-hearted man and not one to bear malice towards anyone, least of all towards a fallen foe. His reply was, therefore, such as one might expect. "I will write with pleasure," he said.

The letter of "recommendation" could not have been an easy one to indite. While Fages' achievements in California had been few—he had hunted bear to some good purpose—his mistakes had been many, his temper troublesome, and his disposition quarrelsome. Junipero, however, made the most of the young officer's good qualities and wrote a letter so friendly in tone and spirit that it served well the purpose which Fages had desired. [The reply which Junipero received to this letter reached him the following year. The viceroy in his answer showed an appreciative understanding of the motives which had prompted Junipero to write his letter of recommendation]

In the meantime, Captain Rivera was busy taking over Fages' command. The account which has come down to us of this transfer of authority does not show either officer in an enviable light. The conduct of Fages was childish and undignified; that of Rivera y Moncada pompous and petty. The two men had never been friendly; from the time when Captain Rivera, the ranking officer, found himself superseded in command by the young lieutenant of the Catalan Volunteers in 1769, he had felt himself aggrieved and slighted, and like many weak men cherishing a grievance, allowed it to expand into a deep dislike of his more fortunate brother officer. He returned to California clothed in his new authority, with a feeling perilously near to vulgar spite for his former rival, and with a determination to show him the least possible consideration. Don Pedro however appears to have planned carefully to demonstrate his disregard and contempt of Rivera's authority. The following account of this childish incident between the first rulers of California is given by a well-known historian:

Without any expenditure of courteous phrases, he [Rivera] ordered Fages to prepare his accounts and get ready to sail on the San Antonio, taking with him all his men, except ten who were to be retained until the new force arrived from the peninsula. Fages, though of course obliged to obey the viceroy's orders, was not the man to quit the country without making a show of independence and an effort for the last word. A caustic correspondence followed, little of which is extant, but in which Rivera, with the vantage ground of his superior authority, by no means carried off all the honors. Fages claimed the right to embark at San Diego, wishing to obtain certain receipts from padres and corporals at the several missions. Rivera replies: "The viceroy does not order me to allow the volunteers and you to embark at San Diego, but simply by the First vessel. His excellency knows very well that this presidio  is the capital where you reside; therefore this is the place he speaks of and from this place you must sail." Whereupon Don Pedro, as he might have done before, shows a permit from the viceroy to sail from San Diego, of later date than the commander's instructions, and Rivera was forced to yield. Again Fages announced that he had some animals set apart for his own use which he proposed to take away with him to San Diego, and after Rivera's prompt refusal to allow any such outrageous use of the king's property, proceeded to prove that the mules were his own. Then he pleaded for more time to arrange his accounts, which could not be completed before the sailing of the San Antonio;  but after getting an insolent permission to wait for the Santiago, he decided to start at once, and leave the accounts to a clerk. Having gathered this much from Rivera's letters, it is hard to resist the conclusion that if Fages' letters were extant, they would show the writer with perfect sangfroid, if not always with dignity, engaged in a deliberate epistolary effort to annoy his exultant and pompous rival. [Bancroft, History of California, I. p. 226]

Fages, with a suitable escort, went overland to San Diego, and from there took a transport to San Blas. Before he reached the City of Mexico he was robbed by his servant of a box containing a large sum of money. Besides this misfortune he was seized with an illness and arrived in the capital very much broken in health. We will add here, that the viceroy, influenced thereto by Junipero's letter, gave him the command of a troop and that later he was ordered to the Sonora frontier, where he served in the wars against the Apaches, where for the present we will leave him.

Martyrdom at San Diego

During the transactions described in the foregoing chapter, Perez was occupied in preparing his ship—the Santiago—for an exploring expedition up the coast. It will be recalled that Junipero had suggested to the viceroy the ways and means of making this expedition and had obtained his consent for its undertaking, a consent all the more readily given inasmuch as Spain was desirous of knowing how far Russia's movements extended in the northwest.

Perez had unloaded his cargo of supplies for the presidio  and mission, made all necessary repairs, and in less than a month from the time of his arrival in the port of Monterey, was ready to sail.

The chaplain of the Santiago  being stricken with illness it became necessary to appoint a substitute. The president's choice fell upon his old friend Crespi, who was ordered to accompany the expedition, not only as chaplain but also in the capacity of chronicler.

Perez's instructions were to sail as far north as latitude 60°, to note advantageous points for future settlements and to take possession of them in the name of his majesty Carlos III., by erecting a cross and burying at its base the usual papers claiming right of possession. He was strictly enjoined from divulging the motives of his voyage to strangers. If he chanced to meet with vessels he was to attribute his appearance in northern waters to the winds which had driven him far out of his course while he was carrying supplies to Monterey. His instructions also included an order to return to Monterey before the beginning of the equinox, in order to lessen, as far as possible, the chances of mishaps to frigate and explorers. The character of the coast was unknown and the Spaniards possessed no maps, to guide the navigators.

Perez sailed as far as latitude 55°-3'. The island off the coast of Canada, now known as Queen Charlotte, which Perez named the Santa Margarita, was discovered on this expedition. From here the explorers sailed in a southeasterly direction, surveying the coast. At a point near Nootka Sound, Perez tried to land and erect the cross, but violent winds suddenly rising caused him to abandon the attempt as involving unnecessary danger. Padre Crespi has left an interesting account of the Indians they met on this voyage when the frigate anchored in the harbor. The savages paddled out in immense canoes which held an incredible number of them. They were eager barterers and exchanged for pieces of iron beautifully carved articles of wood, well-made hair blankets, and mats and hats neatly plaited of bark. They were friendly folk, well formed, and the greater number were clothed in garments of skin or in blankets.

The women, came well-covered and clothed in the same manner as the men, except that from the lower lip of each woman hung a disk of wood, which seemed to be very broad and which defaced her greatly, for from a distance it had the effect of a tongue pulled out or hanging out. With a simple movement of the lip she could cover and conceal her mouth and nostrils.[Crespi's Diary in Palou's Noticias, III p. 189]

He adds with unconscious irony that he does not know whether this disk was meant as an adornment or not, but from what he had observed of the sex elsewhere is inclined to believe it was intended as such.

Perez soon began his return voyage; the heavy fogs along the coast were not conducive to satisfactory explorations. He arrived in the harbor of Monterey August 27, having been gone not quite three months. Crespi returned to his mission, San Carlos, and gave an account of the voyage to Junipero, which the latter forwarded to the viceroy. The occupation of the port of San Francisco remained still to be an accomplished fact. The large bay discovered by Portola's party in 1769 had not yet been explored. It was not known whether the bay contained a good harbor, or if containing it, in what part of the immense sheet of water it was to be found. As such explorations would have to be made with boats, and as none were available at the time, Palou suggested the expediency of sending out a land party to seek a suitable site for the San Francisco mission, which establishment he was to administer. Rivera agreed to this plan. Accordingly in November the expedition set forth. It was commanded by Rivera himself, and included Palou, an escort of sixteen soldiers, two servants, and a mule train, carrying supplies sufficient for forty days.

During this exploring expedition, the details of which it is not necessary to give here, Palou and' Rivera were the first white men to cross the sand dunes of San Francisco, descend to the bay and follow the white curving line of the beach which has since become so popular as a fashionable promenade. The Spanish officer and Spanish priest looked down upon the famous "seal-rocks "from probably the very spot where now the "Cliff House "caters yearly to thousands of visitors from every quarter of the globe. The expedition returned in December to Monterey, the winter rains having made further explorations unpracticable. Nothing more was done to further the northern project, until three months later, when by Bucareli's order, five officers of the Spanish navy, commanding a fleet of four vessels, set sail from San Blas in March.

On the return of this expedition an officer, by name Captain Hecata, who had accompanied it, pronounced San Francisco one of the finest ports in the possession of Spain.

We will not close the subject of these expeditions to the north, without a few words concerning the trusty Majorcan sailor, Juan Perez. When he brought the Santiago  back to Monterey, he steered his ship for the last time into port. The second day out on his return voyage to San Blas he died and was buried at sea. The news of his death did not reach Monterey till a year later, when Junipero said mass for the soul of his countryman.

Perez's death was a distinct loss to California. He had been the first of his contemporaries to reach San Diego and Monterey; he was more familiar with the California coast than any other navigator of his time; and as a skilled, experienced pilot few surpassed him.

In his last expedition Juan Perez,

. . . . though he had not reached latitude 60°, as instructed, nor discovered any good ports, nor landed anywhere to take possession for Spain, nor found either foreign establishments or proof of their non-existence, had still gained the honor of having discovered practically the Northwest Coast. He had surveyed a large portion of the two great islands that make up the coast of British Columbia, giving the first description of the natives; he had seen and described, though vaguely and from a distance, nearly all of the Washington coast and a large part of the Oregon. He had given to his nation whatever credit and territorial claims may be founded on the mere act of first discovery. To give any degree of precedence in these respects to later navigators who were enabled to make a more detailed examination is as absurd as to regard the officers of the United States Coast survey, who have done such excellent service for geography and commerce, as the discoverers of the Northwest Coast. [Bancroft, Discovery of the Northwest Coast, pp. 156, 157]

While these northern expeditions were in progress, Junipero had arranged for the establishment of a new southern mission which was to be on the coast some twenty-six leagues above San Diego. The mission was to be called San Juan Capistrano. The president's instructions were lengthy and minute. Although he issued his instructions in August, it was not until late in October that they were put into execution. The delay was probably due to the time consumed by couriers in carrying communications through the California wilderness. Lieutenant Ortega, commanding the San Diego presidio, assisted at the founding of the new mission, which took place October 311 1775. The usual religious ceremonies were performed, accompanied by the ringing of bells and firing of guns.

[Illustration] from Junipero Serra by A. H. Fitch


Work on the buildings was progressing rapidly; friars and soldiers were in the best of spirits, when a courier suddenly appeared in their midst with sinister news of a formidable Indian rising at San Diego, and of a desperate attack on the mission. Ortega, without waiting for further particulars, threw himself on his horse and, accompanied by part of the soldiers, hurried off to San Diego. The knowledge that his young son and nephew were in the mission lent additional speed to his flight. The two friars, in the meanwhile, buried the bells and, leaving the uncompleted buildings, set out with the remaining soldiers for the scene of the attack. They did not learn the full extent of the disaster which had overtaken the first settlement of civilized man in Alta California, until their arrival at the presidio.

The San Diego missions had been moved the previous year two leagues from the fort to a site where the land was more fertile and the water supply more adequate. Notwithstanding that the San Dieguenos had from the first showed a marked distrust and dislike of the Spaniards, the latter felt no uneasiness. So little did they fear for their safety that they neglected the most ordinary precautions to insure it. Although the mission was, as we have said, two leagues from the presidio, it was built without the usual protection of a palisade wall. It was open to attack from every side. The savages had it in their power at any time to surround the mission and cut off communication with the garrison. Sentinels were not posted at night to sound an alarm in case of attack. This blind feeling of security was soon to cost them dearly. The mission was in charge of Fray Luis Jayme of Majorca, a man in whom intrepidity united with pious ardor. His companion and associate was Fray Vicente Fuster, a friar from the province of Andalusia.

Staying with the padre were the young son and nephew of Lieutenant Ortega, the commander of the presidio. The guard consisted of three soldiers under the command of a corporal. A carpenter and two blacksmiths (of the latter one was confined to his bed) were also at this time residing in the mission. There were, therefore, not more than eleven persons of Spanish blood in the mission, two of whom were boys and one a sick man. Of all this the Indians were fully cognizant.

But in the summer skies the Spaniards failed to perceive in the horizon the faint cloud, which more cautious men would have noted. A cheerful calm prevailed, a calm which in the hearts of the good friars changed to elation, when sixty Indians applied for the privilege of baptism. With great joy the padres performed the ceremony. The next day two neophytes—brothers—slipped unobserved from the mission. They did not return. When their absence was discovered, soldiers were promptly dispatched in search of them. The runaways, however, could not be found. Now and again rumors reached the friars that the escaped neophytes were visiting all the rancherias  for many leagues around, and were telling that the padres employed force to convert the Indians. Once it was reported that the brothers, speeding through the country, had reached the warlike tribes on the Colorado River. Yet this intelligence did not disturb the serenity of the Spaniards. The padres, indeed, grieved for the spiritual welfare of the runaways, but were far from suspecting any danger to themselves.

On the night of November 4, the little mission was wrapped in peaceful slumber. No sentinel was on duty to hear the soft, sullen tread of savages approaching the settlement. If the neophytes in their huts were wakeful and alert that memorable night, they made no sound, and the slumbering soldiers were not aroused. Nearer and nearer came the stealthy footsteps. Had a Spaniard but raised his sleepy eyelids and peered an instant through the aperture that served as window in his room, he would have seen in the clear, dewless night the dusky forms of hundreds of naked savages, armed with bows, arrows, and wooden clubs, creeping silently toward the church. They were strangely intent on first satisfying a passion which throbbed as strongly within them as their hatred of the Spaniards—a passion for clothes and ornaments. They had learned—it may be from the neophytes—where the padres kept their robes. Silently, eagerly, they poured into the church, plundered it of the ornaments so painstakingly brought by the Franciscans to California, then sought the sacristy, where they seized with childish delight the priestly cassocks and stoles. This successfully accomplished, they announced their presence with wild yells, which momentarily grew louder and fiercer, as they set fire to the church, the barracks, and all the buildings.

The padres' house, the smithy and also the granary were of adobe with roofs of tule. The church and the barracks were constructed of light, inflammable wood. Before many minutes had passed every building in the mission was ablaze. In the ruddy light cast by the conflagration, the savages danced grotesquely, brandishing their missiles and shrieking demoniacally. It was a rude awakening to the peaceful repose of the padres and their small guard. Padre Fuster appears to have been among the first to be roused from sleep by the uproar. He took in the desperate situation at a glance. His first thought was for the two young boys in his charge. Quickly awaking them, he rushed with them across the court to the barracks, where the soldiers by this time were making frantic efforts to stem the onslaught of the howling, savage horde. The carpenter, Jose Urselino, who had been sleeping in the barracks, was valiantly assisting in the defense. He was soon mortally wounded, pierced by arrows. Falling, he exclaimed, Ha! Indio que me has muerto! Dios to lo perdone.. (Oh! Indian who has killed me, may God forgive you!)

Meanwhile in the smithy the sick blacksmith roused from his fitful slumbers, seized a sword and rushed to the door. He was instantly greeted with a flight of arrows. He staggered back into the room. "Companero,"  he gasped, "they have killed me," and fell dead. His companion sprang behind the bellows in the smithy and from this barricade fired into the midst of the savages, instantly killing one of their number. In the confusion that followed he escaped and succeeded in joining Fuster and the soldiers. The little band of Spaniards were now all together; only Padre Jayme was missing. The friars slept in separate apartments. When Fray Luis Jayme saw in the red glow of the burning buildings the menacing figures of the savages he went bravely toward them.

"Amad a Dios, hijos,"  (Love God, my children) he saluted them. The gentle words were scarcely spoken before the howling horde fell upon him, "like wolves upon a lamb," Palou said pityingly. They dragged him to the banks of an arroyo (dried creek) where they tore his gown from his back and, with clubs and stones, dealt brutal blows, on his face and denuded body. Then bruised, torn, and pierced with arrows, his bleeding corpse was thrown into the arroyo. So died the brave and gentle Majorcan friar, Luis Jayme, without a cry, without a moan, calling upon God to receive his soul.`

While this ghastly tragedy was being enacted on the banks of the arroyo, the little band of refugees in the barracks was compelled by the fire now raging furiously, to seek shelter elsewhere. Taking the wounded carpenter with them, they fled to the padres' house, which, though also in flames, was as yet only partially destroyed. Here they made another desperate stand, while Padre Fuster made an ineffectual attempt to find his companion. But the flames soon forced them to flee again. A small adobe structure which had been used as a kitchen had strangely enough escaped the general conflagration, although it was roofed with boughs and dried leaves. The Spaniards succeeded in reaching this building. The fight raged with fury on both sides.

Through a wide aperture in the adobe wall, the well-aimed arrows of the savages were shot with terrible effect. Before the Spaniards succeeded in barricading this opening with boxes and a huge copper kettle, every man among them was wounded. Corporal Rocha, however, contrived to keep up a steady firing. He appears to have been a man, of ingenuity as well as bravery. He shouted commands in a stentorian voice to imaginary combatants that the savages might not become cognizant of their desperate situation, or divine that he alone was fighting them. The blacksmith and one or two of the soldiers were able to assist him by rapidly loading and reloading the muskets, which they passed to him, while he fired with deadly aim into the ranks of the enemy. The savages shot burning arrows on to the inflammable roof of the building. The wounded men strained their feeble strength to the utmost in their efforts to extinguish the flames and ward off the fiery missiles. A sack containing fifty pounds of gunpowder lay on the floor beside them. In this desperate situation Padre Fuster found a hazardous expedient. He threw himself, full length, on the sack and protected it with his body from the burning brands falling thickly about, unaware for a time of a wound received by a blow from a piece of adobe.

In this manner, the priest, boys, soldiers, and artisans, all wounded, some fatally, passed the long hours before dawn. The wild battle cry of the savages, the hissing of their flying arrows, the sharp rattle of Corporal Rocha's muskets, the steady shout of his commands to imaginary combatants, the groans of the wounded and the dying, all mingled together that November night in '775 in the burning San Diego mission. Whether the Indians grew weary with encountering such firm resistance, or whether the neophytes, who now appeared for the first time, really fought them and forced them to disperse, as they afterward claimed to have done, is not certain. But when the sun rose over the ruined mission the next morning the savages were gone, and the neophytes, with loud lamentations, flocked to the little building where the Spaniards were barricaded. They protested their innocence in connection with the terrible events of the night and evinced the utmost anxiety as to the fate of Padre Jayme. The soldiers discredited both their story and their anxiety, but Fuster, believing firmly in their innocence, sent them to search for Jayme. They found his mangled body in the arroyo and bore it back to the mission. When the Spaniards heard their cries and lamentations, they knew what fate had overtaken the brave priest.

Padre Fuster, with pale, drawn face, went out to meet them. The neophytes stopped before him and laid their ghastly burden on the ground. When he looked upon the torn, crushed corpse of his brother friar, the face bruised and battered beyond recognition, Fuster was at first transfixed with horror; then he sobbed aloud, the native converts joining in his lamentation.

A few hours later a solemn procession passed out from the ruined mission toward the fort. Padre Fuster was leading; pale and grief-stricken he showed to the full the grim experience of the night. Behind him came the neophytes, bearing, upon hastily constructed tapestles—Indian stretchers—the wounded, the charred body of the blacksmith and the mutilated remains of their gentle; friend and teacher, Fray Luis Jayme. The bright November sun shone down upon them as they slowly took their way to the presidio, whispering as they went, looking to the right and to the left in fearful expectation that the savages might come upon them again. In the fort none had heard of the night's tragedy. The little garrison had been allowed to slumber undisturbed. It was afterwards ascertained that the savages had organized themselves into two detachments and had planned to attack garrison and mission simultaneously. But the assault on the mission was begun prematurely and the Indians lurking near the presidio, waiting for the signal of attack, became alarmed lest some watchful sentinel, seeing the light of the burning buildings, should arouse the sleeping garrison, and so discover their presence. They hurried off and joined the savages in the mission.

The next day Padre Fuster read the burial service over the dead. Couriers were at once despatched with tidings of the tragedy to Fray Junipero and Rivera. The latter was urged speedily to send reinforcements. Taking counsel of their fears, the little garrison prepared for a vigorous defense in the event of an attack. They had ground for their fear, for rumors were afloat too numerous and persistent to be discredited, that the savages had disappeared only to return in augmented numbers to assault the presidio.

More than a month had elapsed since the disaster to the mission, when the couriers reached Monterey. Traveling was slow through the picturesque California wilderness. Late one December evening the commandant was startled out of his repose by the announcement that messengers from the south desired speech with him. They were instantly admitted to his presence where they gave a detailed account of the San Dieguenos' revolt and delivered Fuster's letters, substantiating their terrible tale. Rivera ordered his horse saddled, and in spite of the lateness of the hour galloped over the hills to the San Carlos mission.

The surprise of Junipero and Palou, when the commandant suddenly appeared before them, speedily changed to dismay on realizing from his disturbed countenance that he was the bearer of evil news. Yet when he poured out the tale of the revolt, of the destruction of the mission, and of Padre Jayme's martyrdom, Junipero exclaimed almost exultingly: "God be thanked, now the soil is watered, now will the reduction of the San Dieguenos be complete." In his mind there was no doubt that Jayme had died the most enviable of all deaths—that of martyrdom. It was not even necessary to say masses for his departed spirit. But that due honor be paid to the martyred brother, and in fulfillment of the promise made when the missionaries first came to California, Junipero ordered twenty masses said in all the missions for the repose of the dead friar's soul.

In the meanwhile Rivera had completed his traveling preparations. Junipero was anxious to accompany him, but the commandant, fearing the old man's feebleness would retard the speed of the journey, frankly told him so and set off alone with his soldiers. The president's principal object in desiring to go with Rivera was to be on the spot to intercede for the Indians. He feared they would be dealt with too severely. His own policy was one of kindness. In his eyes the savages were little more than children, and their crimes committed in ignorance of their enormity. That these views were not shared by the military authorities in California, or even by all the Franciscans, he well knew. He wrote the friars minute directions as to the course he wished them to pursue. He also wrote to the guardian of San Fernando, enclosing the letters that he had received from Fuster. Then he wrote to the viceroy.

After giving him a clear account of the events, he added that he had no fear the missionaries would lose enthusiasm in their work; they would, on the contrary, he felt convinced, be envious of the happy death that had befallen their brother and companion. His main anxieties incident to the revolt were due to the consequences which might arise if the "poor, ignorant creatures "were too harshly punished. But knowing well his excellency's great clemency he hoped that he would exercise it for the benefit of the Indians who had participated in the murder of Padre Jayme. The deed was done no doubt through ignorance of its enormity and through the instigation of the Evil One. Such clemency would do much towards attracting them to the good and benign Catholic religion. He further expressed confidence that the fervent Catholic zeal of His Excellency would hasten the rebuilding of the San Diego mission and the founding of San Juan Capistrano. In order to prevent a repetition of similar disasters, he would suggest augmenting the mission guards. When the Indians saw the increased force for defense they would restrain themselves, and their reduction and eternal salvation would thereby be accomplished peacefully.

This letter was eminently characteristic of Junipero and shows clearly his attitude toward the Indians, an attitude full of humanity, love, and gentleness. His letter had to be carried overland to Baja California and from there by boat and courier to Mexico. Three months at least would elapse before it could reach its destination, and as many more ere Junipero would receive the reply of the viceroy.

The president, in the meanwhile, saw small chance of having his policies adopted by Rivera. That officer stopped at San Antonio and San Luis Obispo on his way south! The general feeling of uneasiness which existed in the missions determined the commandant to leave some of the soldiers he had° brought with him to increase the guards. When he arrived at San Gabriel he was fortunate enough to meet Anza with his party of colonists destined for San Francisco. Anza had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He had again successfully crossed the great desert; on this occasion with women and children in his caravan; eight of the latter had been born on the journey. His march had been an extremely difficult one. That he accomplished it without noteworthy mishap is additional evidence of his skill as a leader.

Rivera and Anza held a consultation. They agreed on the advisability of postponing temporarily the affairs of the colonists. It was decided to leave the families at San Gabriel while the lieutenant colonel with part of his troops accompanied Rivera to San Diego, to assist him in protecting the presidio  and in punishing the Indians. Accordingly the next day the combined forces left San Gabriel. After four days of forced marching they reached San Diego. They were received with acclamations of delight by the weary little band of Spaniards in the presidio. Lieutenant Ortega, in particular, felt an infinite relief from his long-continued anxiety of guarding a garrison with a handful of soldiers. The savages, however, made no attack upon the presidio, and if they had contemplated doing so, the arrival of strong reinforcements was a sufficient incentive to alter their plans.

The course which Rivera now pursued met with Anza's disapproval, even with his contempt. He had come prepared for a short and vigorous campaign against the Indians which would have the result of intimidating them and forestalling future attempts at murder and pillage. Rivera possessed neither the sagacity nor energy of his brother officer, nor the human clemency which distinguished Fray Junipero. He chose to follow a course utterly at variance with the policy of both men. He began a series of investigations by making raids on neighboring rancherias, capturing the chieftains, and compelling them to testify by means of severe floggings after which they were either liberated or imprisoned. A period of inaction succeeded, then the raids were once more begun. Such a course accomplished nothing, unless it was to increase the hostility of the Indians without the good effect of intimidating them. Thoroughly disgusted, Anza determined to return to San Gabriel, and conclude the business upon which he had come to California. He was hastened in this decision by the arrival of couriers bearing letters from the San Gabriel padres, informing him they could no longer supply food to his colonists, except to the injury of their neophytes. This news afforded him an excellent opportunity of leaving without a serious break with Rivera. The month he had spent with the vacillating commandant had sorely tried his patience. Leaving ten of his men to assist the presidio  force, he joyfully turned his back on San Diego, after having obtained from Rivera a promise that the establishments in San Francisco should not be delayed more than two months. A few days later he was greeting his little army of colonists encamped in San Gabriel.

[Illustration] from Junipero Serra by A. H. Fitch


The colonists were overjoyed at the return of their leader. They were anxious to push on to their destination, to the shores of the great San Francisco Bay, where they were to make their homes and form the garrison of the new presidio, as well as the guard for the new missions. Preparations were at once begun for breaking camp and before long all was in readiness for the journey.

The colonists numbered about two hundred, including the members of their families. This was the first introduction of Spanish women in Alta California. Their presence was hailed with delight by the soldiers of the escolta, many of whom had not seen a woman—other than the uncouth Indian—for full seven years.

It was an imposing cavalcade that Anza headed one bright morning in February from the. San Gabriel mission. The long column consisted of the officer's private escort, the chaplain of the expedition, Padre Font, the soldiers and settlers with their women and children, the pack animals and some seven hundred head of horses, mules, and cattle.

Anza left twelve men with their families to augment the mission guard, a precaution deemed necessary in view of the recent disturbances in San Diego. The travelers passed down to the seashore, which they followed a certain distance. They crossed numerous rivers, so swollen from heavy rains that fording them was difficult, while the route they had to traverse was in many places wellnigh impassable, the train more than once becoming embedded in the deep mire. This was especially the case as the travelers approached San Luis Obispo. The mules and horses had to be unloaded and the women, good-humored and bedaubed with mud, had to wade as best they could through the slimy, oozy sediment, while the men put forth all their efforts to urge the weary animals onward.

They rested for a brief season in the mission, then pushed on again, crossing the mountains and more turbulent, swollen streams, till they reached San Antonio. Here the friars greeted them hospitably and ordered two fat hogs slaughtered to feast upon, and while their guests ate, they listened to the news Anza had to give of affairs in San Diego, since the revolt. Finally, seventeen days after leaving San Gabriel, the expedition arrived at Monterey. In the long journey, lasting ninety-eight days from Sonora to California, and in the subsequent shorter journey from San Gabriel, Lieutenant Colonel Anza had led his party of men, women, and children safely and without mishap to Monterey, almost within sight of their destination. It was wonderful achievement and one the gallant officer might well have been proud of.

The arrival of the colonists created a pleasant excitement in the presidio  where officers and soldiers, like all their comrades in California, saw Indians more often than white men and had never a glimpse of a white woman. Even the sentinel who tramped back and forth on their interminable beat, craned their necks and listened delightedly to the babble of sound that came to them. From Carmel Fray Junipero hurried over to greet the newcomers, and with him came the padres Crespi and Palou. After a thanksgiving service, Anza gladly accepted Junipero's invitation to stay at San Carlos pending his return south. The accommodations in the presidio  were of the meanest and offered few if any comforts. Anza's health showed the effects of long continued bodily fatigue; no sooner was he installed in the mission than he was seized with a painful illness which confined him for the space of a week or more to his bed. While he was still in this deplorable condition, his lieutenant, Morago, came over from Monterey to see him. He brought dispatches from Rivera, the contents of which roused in the sick man the deepest indignation. The commandant, regardless of his promise that the San Francisco settlements should be founded within the next two months, had sent orders that the colonists should build houses for themselves at Monterey, as a year or more would elapse before they could establish themselves in their permanent home on the shores of the great northern bay. Morago reported that the people were muy desconsolada  (very disconsolate) over this long postponement.

Calling for his writing materials, Anza promptly wrote to Rivera, reminding him of the agreement between them regarding the establishment of the colonists. He said that if the Señor Commandante  found himself unable to leave San Diego at the present time, he had only to permit Morago to attend to the business of founding the San Francisco settlements, that he was a man whom he might implicitly trust to manage the business successfully; or if the Senor Commandante objected to this arrangement, he, Anza, would gladly delay his departure and attend to the matter himself. This letter was dispatched by the same courier who had brought Rivera's orders to Monterey.

A week later, Anza, though still suffering from his recent serious illness, in spite of the kindly remonstrances of Junipero, left the mission to visit in person the great San Francisco harbor, for the purpose of surveying a suitable site for the new settlements. He confidently expected to find Rivera's answer to his letter awaiting him on his return from this trip.

Before he left, he held long conferences with Junipero, dealing with the affairs of the province. It was through Anza that the president received his first intimation of Rivera's punitive measures in the south. Widely as Junipero and Anza differed in their policies towards the San Diego Indians, they agreed in this, that both favored a prompt cessation of hostilities; Junipero, because they should never have commenced; and Anza, because they should have been short, sharp, and decisive. Alive to the peril of Rivera's course, Junipero wrote urging him to deal leniently with the Indians, and to suspend hostilities which were doing more harm than good. He added that though the living padres should be protected "as the apple of God's eye," the dead padre should be left "to enjoy God "and thus good be returned for evil. But the commandant was not disposed to take priestly advice. He continued with the raids, the captures, the floggings, the imprisonments, in short, with a petty, teasing sort of persecution which did not reach the dignity of warfare. He vouchsafed not the least attention to Anza's letters and when that officer returned from his exploration of San Francisco he found to his mortification that his letter had been ignored. It soon became evident that nothing could be done with Rivera. Anza became more and more impatient, and Junipero grew ever more anxious. Progress in California was at a standstill, while her military ruler pursued a course which materially hindered, rather than helped, the conquest.

An event now occurred which precipitated a rupture between Rivera and the missionaries. One of the ringleaders of the revolt, an escaped neophyte, returned apparently repentant for his share in that November night's tragedy. In cases of capital crime the military authorities had jurisdiction in California. This the friars understood perfectly and so did the wily neophyte, for though he returned voluntarily to the presidio  he took the precaution of seeking refuge in the church, where neither civil nor military law could molest him. The privilege of the sanctuary which Protestant England under James I abolished was still in force in the eighteenth century in most Catholic countries, and the savage on the distant shores of the Pacific, if he professed Christianity, was entitled to the same protection accorded by the church to the highest nobleman in the domain of his most Catholic Majesty, Carlos III. So it happened that when Rivera announced his determination of seizing the fugitive, the padres were one in sternly opposing him.

In extenuation of his purposed act, he reminded the friars that the building had been originally constructed for a warehouse, that it was only temporarily serving the purpose of a church, and therefore the privilege of sanctuary could not be given criminals within its walls. The missionaries considered this argument unworthy of consideration. Fuster warned the commandant not to violate the sanctity of the place. Rivera gave scant heed to padre's admonition. With a squad of armed soldiers he entered the church with drawn sword and seized the quaking neophyte. The friars watched these proceedings with deep indignation. Rivera's conduct seemed to them little short of blasphemous. When he emerged triumphantly from the building with his captive, Fuster launched, at him the anathema of excommunication. The next morning Rivera attended mass according to his usual custom, but the officiating priest stopped the services and peremptorily ordered the offending commandant to leave the church.

His excommunication preyed heavily upon Rivera's mind. He determined to go to Monterey and seek absolution from Fray Junipero. Accordingly he hurried north in all haste, carrying Fuster's letter to the president, relating the facts leading to his excommunication. He paid small heed to the affairs of the missions he passed on his way north. The anxiety of his mind made him indifferent to everything but the bald fact of his excommunication. He had lived too many years in Baja California, remote from the world, from the progressive spirit of the times, from the trend of new thought and that great breaking away from the traditions and opinions of the past, to take lightly the anathema Padre Fuster had hurled at him. The greater part of his life had been passed in a country where the only men of learning, or even of ordinary education with whom he came in contact, were the Jesuit missionaries in the peninsula, and it may well be supposed that whatever influence they exerted over his mind did not lie in the direction tending to abjure clerical control.

One is inclined to extend to him a full measure of sympathy. He was unquestionably a man of weak character, obstinate as weak characters are prone to be, and too frequently irritable and sullen, but his good qualities were many. As an officer he showed himself considerate towards his men. Whatever hardships and privations they were compelled to encounter, he was ready to share with them and he did not use his authority to force upon them tasks which he himself would have shunned. When he determined to defy the church and tear the fugitive neophyte from the sacred shelter of her arms, he did not detail for this task, as he well might have done, some noncommissioned officer, but himself led the squad which besieged the sanctuary and captured the Indian. He was honest in his efforts to serve his country, nor is there any evidence that he ever went counter to his own judgment; yet this very fact, paradoxical as it sounds, remains the serious defect in his character, his own judgment being, for the most part, a very poor affair.

He had passed the mission San Luis Obispo on his northward journey, lost, as lately was habitual to him, in gloomy revery, when he was roused from his abstraction by the distant, rythmetical sound of galloping horses' hoofs. Now horses in California were of Spanish importation and hitherto unknown to the savages in the country, therefore Rivera knew that one of two things alone could explain their presence in the wilderness, either escaping neophytes had stolen horses and were making off with their booty—a theft not so uncommon as the Spaniards could have wished—or soldiers, sent out as couriers, were on the trail and would soon appear. This last proved to be the case. Before long, through the lush leafage of the spring foliage, five horsemen made their appearance. They were privates in command of a sergeant, from the Monterey presidio. Rivera questioned them as to the meaning of their presence so far from the post. The sergeant replied that he was the bearer of important letters from Colonel Anza for the commandant. Not in the least interested in any affairs at that moment, except those immediately pertaining to himself, Rivera refused to accept the letters and abruptly dismissed the men, commanding them to fall to the rear and not to join his party. This strange conduct so amazed the sergeant that he entertained fears of his commanding officer's sanity and later expressed these fears to Colonel Anza. In the meantime he withdrew to the rear of the commandant's escort, taking care to keep out of his sight. A few days later, Rivera suddenly summoned the man into his presence and demanded the letters, only, however, to throw them aside without glancing at their contents or so much as breaking their seals.

In these letters Anza had again urged the commandant to give his attention to the matter of the San Francisco establishments, in order that the colonists could settle in their permanent homes within a reasonable length of time; he also announced his own departure from Monterey and requested Rivera to meet him at San Gabriel to discuss "business of importance." As we have seen, Rivera tossed the letters aside, unread, but, probably divining their contents, he wrote an answer, which he gave to the sergeant, ordering him to deliver it speedily to Colonel Anza. Putting spurs to his horse and followed by his men, the sergeant rode madly towards Monterey. Within twenty leagues of the presidio  he came upon Anza himself, returning south accompanied by his escort. He had just bidden farewell to the colonists, who, with their wives and, families, had tearfully watched him depart. Anza also had been deeply affected as he waved them a last good-by, and declared that it was the saddest moment he had experienced since leaving Sonora.

When he met the sergeant and learned that Rivera was hurrying towards Monterey, he was at first profoundly pleased, believing that the commandant could have but one object in coming north; namely, to establish the new settlements at San Francisco. However, he was soon disabused of this belief when the sergeant, requesting a few moments' private conversation, gave him Rivera's letter and stated his belief that the writer was not in his right mind, that he had in fact gone utterly daft. Anza gave small heed to these confidences. He immediately tore open and read the letter; it contained nothing more than a curt refusal to permit the founding of the San Francisco settlements.

Anza's indignation was extreme, the more so as his request for a consultation at San Gabriel had been entirely ignored. The two officers passed one another on the road. They exchanged the ordinary salutations of the day, then Rivera, without further speech than a short adios calmly rode on. This behavior was more than Anza could tolerate in silence.

"Your reply to my letters may be sent to Mexico or wherever you like," he called after him furiously.

"'Tis well," replied Rivera over his shoulder, with gloomy stateliness.

It was an exasperating reply to a man who has just succeeded in losing his temper. Anza determined to report the whole matter to the viceroy. He could gain nothing by remaining longer in California. He reluctantly decided to return to Mexico without delay. He had been extremely unwilling to leave the country before seeing his colonists settled in their new homes; yet he was obliged to do that very thing. An attachment had sprung up between the commander and his people. He had safely led them thousands of miles over a country practically unexplored, through vast stretches of dreary desert. He had faced dangers and privations with them; had been patient and considerate with their women and children, and earned for himself the highest reward a leader can receive from his followers, namely their affection and respect. Nevertheless, he felt that he had failed them because of his inability to bring them to their final destination on the shores of the great San Francisco Bay. But he was not invested with authority sufficient to overrule the decree of the military governor of California.

Rivera continued his journey to Monterey. When he arrived he sent word to Junipero that he had letters for him which he desired to deliver personally, but that illness prevented his going to San Carlos. Junipero was in complete ignorance of the recent events which had taken place in San Diego. He hastened to Monterey. He found Rivera's "illness" nothing more serious than a slight pain in the leg. He also found his letters broken open, including the one from Padre Fuster. He, however, accepted the commandant's explanation that the seal had been broken inadvertently and that the letters had not been read. Rivera then poured out the story of his excommunication and the causes leading to it. But when he concluded, with a request for immediate absolution Junipero told him that in so serious a matter he would have to consult with his brother friars. Accordingly, he took leave of Rivera and returned to his mission on the shores of the blue Carmel Bay. Here he summoned Palou and Crespi into his cell and laid the matter before them. After taking counsel together, the three friars decided that Rivera could obtain absolution only by returning the San Diego neophyte to the sanctuary from which he had forcibly removed him. This decision was forwarded to the commandant, who, without further attempt to remove the ban placed upon him, and without the least intention of yielding to the priests' demands regarding the Indian culprit, prepared to return south.. As on a former occasion, Junipero asked permission to accompany him. It is not strange that he again on this occasion was refused.

Rivera had tarried just three days in Monterey. He traveled rapidly, hoping to overtake Anza on the road. The day previous to his departure he had sent couriers in hot haste after the irate colonel, with a letter announcing his own immediate return south, apologizing for his past incivility, excusing his conduct on the score of ill health, and expressing the hope that Anza would await his arrival in order to hold the consultation he had previously requested.

Anza received this letter while stopping over-night at the mission, San Luis Obispo. His anger had not yet had time to cool; therefore, while he consented to await Rivera's coming, he flatly declined to give him a personal interview, and sent word to the commandant that all communication between them must be in writing, adding that even this concession he was induced to make solely in the interests of the province. San Gabriel was selected as the rendezvous.

The two officers arrived at the mission within 'a few days of one another. True to his determination, Anza refused to meet the commandant. Several letters were exchanged, in one of which Anza enclosed a description of the site he had selected for the San Francisco settlements and a map of the survey he had made. His business with Rivera he then considered concluded. Accordingly, he sent that officer word that he was on the eve of resuming his journey to Sonora, but that if Rivera had reports to forward to the viceroy, he would take them and would wait three days in the mission to accord him an opportunity to write them. Anza was well aware that in any communication which Rivera might choose to send to the viceroy, he could not Well avoid mentioning so important a matter as the affairs of the colonists and the postponement of their establishment at San Francisco; and the indignant colonel was not without a secret malicious satisfaction in the conviction that Rivera's explanations, whatever they might be, would fail to meet with the viceroy's approbation.

But the commandant politely declined to avail himself of Anza's offer to wait for his reports, stating he could send them later by couriers who would have no difficulty in overtaking the travelers on the road.

Anza indeed, had not journeyed far when couriers caught up with him, bringing, not dispatches for the viceroy, but a letter addressed to the guardian of San Francisco College and one for Anza himself, in which Rivera said he would esteem it a favor if Anza would present the writer's excuses to the viceroy for not forwarding a report at this time, but that he "lacked a paper connected with the affair of a criminal who had taken refuge in a place where mass is said in San Diego."

It is clear from this that the poor commandant was still unable to concentrate his perturbed mind on any subject not dealing with his excommunication. But Anza had reached the limit of his patience, and this final complete ignoring of the important business which had brought him to California fanned the flames of his anger afresh. He returned both letters to Rivera, with the caustic message that "he was not the mail," (que el no era correo)  and that he would only carry letters referring to the founding of San Francisco.

Rivera received this reply without comment and set out for San Diego. Whether or not he suddenly became uneasy in reflecting on the report Anza would make to the viceroy, or whether he put forth an earnest effort to finally forget his private affairs and take up those of the province he was commanding, is uncertain, but at all events he hurriedly sent an order to Monterey, authorizing the immediate establishment of the San Francisco presidio. But at the same time his hostility towards the friars who had robbed him of his peace of mind was made sufficiently manifest by prohibiting the founding of the San Francisco mission. He then took up again his useless succession of petty punitive expeditions against the savages. It was generally believed by the soldiers that the commandant's mind had become unbalanced. Whether the missionaries shared this belief is not apparent, but Colonel Anza, before leaving California, did not hesitate to express his opinion that Captain Rivera y Moncada was afflicted not with "madness" but with a disposition in which amiability and courtesy were conspicuously absent. It had required no small degree of tact on the part of Junipero to maintain peaceful relations with Rivera. In this the president had been entirely successful until he refused Rivera's request for absolution. He could hope nothing now from the gloomy commandant who seized every opportunity of thwarting him in his most cherished plans. There was no authority within several thousand miles to appeal to against his decisions.

Although the order which postponed indefinitely the founding of the San Francisco mission was a great disappointment to Junipero, it was less bitter than Rivera's absolute refusal to permit the rebuilding of the ruined San Diego mission. He was, however, for the present obliged to acquiesce in both decisions. He took the precaution of sending Palou with the colonists to San Francisco, that he might be on hand to act promptly the instant permission was given to found the northern mission. He himself determined to go to San Diego and attempt the difficult task of persuading the recalcitrant commander to allow the restoration of Alta California's first mission. But in the meanwhile he was forced to await an opportunity of leaving. The regulations did not permit a friar to journey alone through long stretches of country populated with savages and Fray Junipero had been unable to obtain from Rivera an escort. Finally the transport San Antonio  arrived in port. After discharging her cargo of supplies she returned to San Blas via San Diego, the last day of June. Junipero promptly availed himself of this chance; he embarked on board the vessel and eleven days later was in San Diego.


Fray junipero was not long in deciding on the course he would take. Three padres were in the San Diego presidio. These were Fuster, the surviving minister of the ruined mission, the scholarly Lasuen, and one Santa Maria. Both Lasuen and Santa Maria had been detailed for the San Capistrano mission. From these friars Junipero learned that Rivera had ceased his punitive expeditions, that the Indians were tranquil, that the soldiers were lounging in the presidio  with nothing to do, and that in spite of these facts work on the restoration of the ruined mission was not begun or even contemplated by the commandant. Junipero was prepared for exactly these conditions. The moment for vigorous independent action had now arrived. He knew the transport was to remain in port until October. He sought Don Diego Choquet, the commander of the San Antonio, and asked him if he would permit his mariners to help in restoring "the mission of the saint of his own name." The request was cleverly worded and Don Diego was not proof against the old man's diplomacy. His reply was that of a true caballero, for he not only agreed to let his sailors work, but offered his own services as well.

A note was sent to Rivera's quarters, informing him of the offer and requesting a guard to protect the sailors while they worked. Rivera, having no excuse for refusing either the proffered help or the guard, was forced to accept the one and supply the other. Accordingly, to the delight of Fray Junipero, the restoration of the San Diego mission was commenced. Sailors and neophytes labored with a good will under the supervision of the San Antonio's  commander and that of the enthusiastic padre. Stones were gathered, adobe bricks made and foundations dug. The work progressed rapidly. It was confidently expected that before the sailing of the transport, Don Diego's mariners would have the restoration completed.

Two weeks passed. One morning when Junipero was detained at the presidio, Rivera rode out to the mission. He called Choquet aside and told him of a report which had reached him that the savages were planning an attack on the mission and therefore he intended to withdraw the guard. He advised Choquet to take the same precautionary measures with his sailors. The sea captain argued and protested in vain. Rivera was obstinately determined to withdraw the guard, although admitting that he had made no attempt to investigate the truth of the report, and also that a similar rumor had only quite recently been altogether disproved by one of his sergeants. Choquet, thoroughly disgusted, was nevertheless obliged to yield to the commandant's wishes. It appears that Rivera had some compunction about informing Junipero of the orders he had issued, for he begged Choquet to attend to this part of the business for him. Don Diego consented but, at the same time expressed his opinion of the commandant's action in no very flattering terms.

With all the armed force which is here, there is no danger. You would be more respected, if imagining danger, you increased the guard, instead of withdrawing it and bringing shame upon the Spanish arms. [Palou, Vida, p. 193.]

Junipero was almost heart-broken. He had encountered with courage and patience every obstacle placed in his way in the founding of new missions, but to lose one already founded was a blow he with difficulty could bear. The friars appointed to administer the San Diego and San Capistrano missions were discouraged; they requested permission to return to their college in Mexico. If they were not to be allowed to pursue their work of Christianizing and civilizing the Indians they argued, why should they remain in California?

In the midst of these distressing conditions, news reached the little fort that a company of soldiers—twenty-five in number—commanded by a sergeant, was marching northward from Baja California and was already within a few days journey of San Diego. Junipero awaited eagerly the arrival of this company. He was convinced that the soldiers were the guards for the new missions. His enthusiasm, however, was somewhat held in check by Rivera's equally confident belief that the men were sent to augment the presidio  forces. As the days slowly passed Junipero's anxiety became intense. It would appear as if San Diego was destined to be the place where the father of the California missions was to experience his greatest anxieties. Here he had heard Portola announce the abandonment of California; it was here Fages had definitely prohibited the founding of more missions; it was here rumors had reached him of the abolishment of the San Blas naval station; it was here the Indians had revolted; and it was here where he now waited for the coming of the soldiers whose orders would either strengthen or dash his hopes for the future of the conquest. Would the viceroy's instructions uphold Rivera's dilatory defensive policy? Or would they favor Junipero's policy—which was to advance, ever advance, peaceably when possible (and his close study of the California Indian caused him to believe this was always possible), or if not, why then aggressively?

There was force and character in the president's chosen course. He did not shun responsibility, he was not valiant in words and weak in deeds, but was energetic, efficient, even audacious, where audacity was necessary to his purpose.

[Illustration] from Junipero Serra by A. H. Fitch


Rivera, on the contrary, was more weak than wise, more cautious than vigorous, more domineering than discriminating. Between the two men there was mutual and courtly distrust. Both had written to the viceroy after the San Diego disaster; both had strongly expressed their opinions as to the best course to pursue, and both were now waiting for replies to their letters, the one feverishly, excited and anxious, every fiber in his small over-worked, delicate body tingling with a nervousness ill-concealed; the other, taciturn, gloomy, but confident that his judgment would be the one accepted. The viceroy's decision would be momentous to the Spaniard's progress in California, both in its immediate and more remote results. They had not long to wait. Dust-covered, grimy with heat and perspiration, the soldiers arrived in the fort and their sergeant delivered the viceroy's dispatches to Rivera and Junipero. It will be remembered that in the president's letter to the viceroy he had begged his intercession in behalf of the Indian's culprits, and also had asked that the ruined San Diego mission be restored and San Juan Capistrano founded.

Viceroy Bucareli apparently had little difficulty in making up his mind as to the justice and wisdom of these requests. In his letters he expressed him-self as being in sympathy with Fray Junipero's "prudent and Christian "policy of kindness towards the Indian culprits, and he believed with His Reverence that such a policy would be more efficacious in pacifying and subduing the savages, than punitive measures would be. He had written to this effect to the Commandant D. Fernando Rivera y Moncada and had instructed him to act accordingly. He had also reminded that officer that the most important business now was building anew the San Diego mission and establishing San Juan Capistrano. He finally assured His Reverence that he, El Baylio Frey D. Antonio Bucareli y Ursua, was disposed to grant him all possible aid in furthering his pious work.

Junipero was almost beside himself with joy One was always conscious of the deep emotional feeling of the man; whatever he thought and felt, he expressed openly. It was as if he turned himself inside out for the gaze of others. But we may add that few men could afford so well to expose their inner selves to public comment and inspection, as Fray Junipero Serra. He now had the church bells rung and chanted a Te Deum  in thanksgiving. Rivera, in the meanwhile, had little cause for rejoicing; he found himself in the awkward position of being compelled to countermand his own order. The Indians he had captured, who were still in durance pending their disposition to San Blas, whither Rivera intended sending them, were liberated. Work on the mission was resumed; preparations were made for the founding of San Juan Capistrano.

Nor was this all. In the viceroy's letter to Rivera which was written before Anza's report reached the capital, he had commented on the San Francisco presidio  and mission as if both had long since been established. This caused the commandant to consider it expedient to hurry north and attend to that long-delayed matter. Junipero remained in San Diego to see work on the ruined mission well under way and to replace, as far as possible, the lost registers containing the lists of baptisms, marriages, and deaths. He added to these entries a detailed account of the happenings at San Diego during his sojourn there. These duties accomplished, he set forth, late in October, for San Juan Capistrano, accompanied by a brother friar, a guard, and several pack mules carrying the usual accessories necessary to establishing a mission. It was on a soft November day—the first of the month—when the buried bells were dug up and set a-pealing, and Junipero, "tremulous with joy," said mass among the fragrance of belated summer flowers and the purple fruit of wild-grape vines. So was founded San Juan Capistrano, the seventh mission in Alta California, the seventh link in that long chain Junipero toiled with such infinite patience and perseverance and fervor to forge.

San Juan Capistrano is situated in one of the most romantic spots in California. "The country here for several miles is high table-land, running boldly to shore and breaking off in a steep hill, at the foot of which the waters of the Pacific are constantly dashing."

It is now a pretty little village nestling in a hollow and surrounded by smooth, low, conical hills, While in the not-far distance the waters of the Pacific roll restlessly against its shores. The mission lies on a slight elevation at the head of the village, and from its shaded, arched corridors one can watch the sleepy life of the little street. Until its destruction in the earthquake of 1812, San Juan Capistrano had the handsomest mission building in California and even now its ruins speak eloquently of former grandeur. Under the tiled roof, of the long stone corridors, where massive pillars give support to rose and honeysuckle vines—whose pink and yellow flowers exhale a delicate fragrance—swallows have built their nests in undisturbed and twittering peace. Orange trees, palms, and brilliant berried pepper trees throw a pleasant shade in the grass-grown courtyard, deserted now by all its former silver-tongued Spanish occupants. The buzzing of tiny winged things, the song of the mocking bird, the frightened flutter of a great white owl, as it flies out from its retreat in the ruined sacristy where some curious stranger has disturbed its slumbers, are the only sounds heard today in the San Juan Capistrano mission, once so prosperous in converts and teeming with busy life.

[Illustration] from Junipero Serra by A. H. Fitch


In order to hasten the construction of the buildings, Junipero trudged to San Gabriel, many miles to the north, to procure neophytes to assist in the work, and to bring back additional provisions and some cattle for the new mission. On his return the energetic old friar found the gait of the pack mules and animals too slow, and in spite of his lameness he pushed on in advance, accompanied only by a San Gabriel neophyte and one of the soldiers who had charge of the cattle.

When within ten leagues of San Capistrano, he heard wild war cries, and saw rushing towards him a horde of armed and painted savages. He stood still, the strange exaltation of the religious enthusiast who has longed for martyrdom upon him. But the ready wit of the neophyte saved his life. He shouted a quick warning to the savages not to kill the old man, as soldiers were approaching who would revenge in a terrible manner the death of their padre. On hearing their own language, the savages, impelled by curiosity, stopped to listen. Junipero then fearlessly approached them. With gifts of colored glass beads he soon caused them to forget their hostile intentions in a childish delight in their new ornaments. After urging them to come to the mission and learn the true faith, Junipero with the soldier and their loyal guide continued unmolested on their way.

Junipero remained at Capistrano to see the buildings successfully commenced, then he again resumed his northward journey. Before leaving he addressed—with the aid of an interpreter—the throng of savages who, incited by curiosity, ridicule, and defiance, surrounded the new mission. His eloquence, all made of love, pity, and pious zeal, if more than partially lost through the dull medium of an uninspired neophyte, must still have roused in the wondering natives a certain desire to test the truth of his promises, for San Capistrano soon became rich in converts.

Junipero stopped on his way north at the intervening missions, encouraging the padres, advising, praising, admonishing, as he deemed expedient. With his entrance into a mission there came a breath of new strength, of new hope to those within. He preached, baptized, and taught during even his shortest sojourn. There was no toil which he spared himself. He worked with all his energy; his hours were long; his interest unceasing. He examined every detail connected with the establishment. Nothing was considered too trivial to merit his attention. He marked the condition of the neophytes, the progress the friars had made in Christianizing them, the number of new converts as compared with those of other missions. He examined the vegetable gardens, the fields which had been newly planted, the crops which had been recently harvested. He noted the increase of live stock, the quantity of fruit trees and how they thrived; the new roof of tiles on the church, the new set of shelves for the padres' books; and every-where he pointed out practical ways and means of attaining desired results. His visits left the friars, with fresh ardor for their spiritual labors and with wise suggestions for the betterment of their mission. This combination of profoundly spiritual life and executive ability, of religious fanaticism and practical common sense, leaves one amazed. Junipero was in truth not only the master-spirit of the conquest, but the inspiration and guiding genius of every missionary in the province.

During the remainder of his lifetime he made periodical visits to the missions and always on foot. Forcible contrasts have been drawn by several writers between the strength and endurance of the men of the present and that of the hardy pioneers whose memorable journeys of hundreds—nay thousands—of miles were all performed on horseback. But if those riders of the past command our admiration, what can we say of the man whose indomitable spirit and untiring energy enabled him to cover the immense distances of the Californian coast on foot? Lame, footsore and immensely weary, he traversed the wilderness, buoyed not by the glory of discovery or the lust for gold, but by love and pity for his fellowmen.

In the intervals of these journeys Junipero wrote frequent and long letters of instructions, advice, and encouragement to the padres. His letters were copious; one is inclined to add, relentlessly copious. There was no detail beneath his interest. Now and then a little touch of quiet humor crept into these serious epistles, as when he urged a discouraged missionary to reconsider his request to return to Mexico and reminded him of the friar, who asked permission to retire to his cell instead of attending matins because he did not feel in a good humor, to whom the superior replied, that if such an excuse were admitted "every friar would retire, and I among the first."

Junipero had not been present at the founding of all the California establishments, yet their existence was directly due to his constant supplication to the viceroy, his efficiency in obtaining ways an means, his insistent soliciting of the authorities both by word of mouth and by writing. Every few weeks soldier couriers carried the mail from Monterey or San Diego to Baja California, where it was forwarded to its destination. On these occasions Junipero never failed to send long letters to the viceroy, to the guardian of San Fernando, even to Jose de Galvez in Spain, to everyone, in fact, who could further his projects of increasing the number of missions. In these letters he advanced arguments, made pleas, cited facts to prove the necessity of additional establishments in the province. Ever summer or autumn, when the yearly transport entered the harbor, he was ready with another batch of bulky letters to the same personages, pleading the same old story. He gave the authorities no peace in the matter and by sheer persistence always managed to gain his point, although his continued iterations invoked the groans of his well-wishers in Mexico. To not a few high officials in Mexico the worthy friar had appeared importunate and wearisome with his ceaseless pleadings for new missions,

"This Father Junipero," they said, "is a saintly man, but in the matter of asking to found missions he is a troublesome saint."

It was January when Junipero reached Monterey, the front door, so to speak, of his own mission San Carlos. Monterey was at this time merely a collection of huts enclosed by a wooden fence called a palisade, the whole dignified by the name of presidio.

It was garrisoned by about twenty soldiers.

In the main, life in the presidio  was a dull one. In Fray Junipero's time, no foreigner visited California. The arrival of the yearly transports was the only pleasurable excitement which came to this small Spanish world. When the sentinels at Monterey, during their monotonous beats, descried on the far horizon the gleam of white sails, the good news spread like wildfire through the fort, which forthwith took on an air of bustle and activity. And later, when the ship, with furled sails, rode at anchor in her usual mooring place, soldiers and peons who had been running back and forth between corrals and pasture fields, driving in the presidio  mules, might now be seen riding with reckless speed down the hill to the beach, where a stout wharf had been built for the landing of the ships' cargoes. Here amid shouts of gay laughter, quick exchanges of lively jests, and greetings of old acquaintances, began the busy work of unloading. The supplies were then packed upon the backs of mules and carried up the hill to the presidio, the heavily laden animals urged on to greater speed by the muleteers' sharp cries and forcible ejaculations. All day long and the next and again the next, this constant procession of mule trains went back and forth between presidio  and embarcado. From the near-by missions, friars accompanied by trusty neophytes, hurried to Monterey to take their portion of supplies, to hear the latest news and receive the mail. From neighboring heights, dark-skinned savages watched with keen interest this periodical commotion among the strangers in their land. The ship's arrival was, in fact, a time of general rejoicing, arousing something of the same feeling of delight which travelers experience when they come upon an oasis in the desert. When, finally, the cargo was all unloaded and the ship, one fine morning hoisted her boats, hoved anchor, and made sail, every man on the shore strained his eyes to take a last look at her graceful form as she sped swiftly out to sea.

Then began again the dull monotony of presidio  life, a monotony which never varied from month to month except on the occasion of feast days, when double rations were apportioned to the men, and Fray Junipero or Padre Crespi came over from San Carlos mission to say mass; or when reports of Indian troubles in the southern establishment caused a ripple of excitement, or a storm of apprehension, according to the nature of the news received. The Indians in the neighborhood of Monterey gave little trouble. Occasionally an outbreak was feared, but in the main peace prevailed. Civilization here did not come "riding on a powder-wagon."

Around San Juan Capistrano, San Gabriel and San Luis Obispo the savages were not so amicably inclined. Especially was this true at the last-named place where they had made frequent assaults on the mission, shooting burning arrows upon the tule roofs and attempting to destroy the buildings. These attempts caused the energetic padres to experiment with the making of tiles for their roofs. They were so successful that soon every mission was supplied with bright, picturesque but durable tiles.

Spanish California at this period seldom came in touch with the great history making events of its own times. Friars, soldiers, settlers, heard of the American Revolution only long after it was over. For the first sixteen years of Spanish occupation no foreigner put foot on California's soil. The only ships that entered the harbors were the transports from San Blas, the only news they brought was the election of a new official to some government post, the last year's health of the king in Spain, of the pope in Rome, the latest rulings of the viceroy, the latest quarrels of the Dominicans in the Baja California missions. Or sometimes the news would be of a more thrilling nature, as when they heard of the earthquake shocks which in the spring of 1776 shook the City of Mexico during twenty days, and so alarmed the worthy archbishop that he fled to Guadalupe, while the wealthiest citizens abandoned their homes to sleep in their coaches outside the city, the brave Bucareli alone refusing to join in the flight, and remaining bivouaced in his garden, ready to extend assistance wherever it was needed. On one occasion a little ripple of excitement was caused in Monterey by the arrival of a royal order to keep a sharp outlook for the appearance of strange vessels off the coast and to prevent their navigators from entering any California port. This order applied particularly to a "certain Englishman named Captain Cook," who was bound on a voyage of discovery in the South Seas.

Carlos III. took every precaution to keep his operations on the Pacific coast secret from the European powers. He was so successful in this effort that the Spanish settlement in California remained for many years practically unknown to the powers with the probable exception of Russia, who, for reasons of her own, kept her knowledge secret.

It was not till 1786 that the first foreigner visited Monterey. He was a French explorer, the gallant Sieur de La Perouse. We read in his journal:

The English have lately found means of procuring a copy of the diary of a pilot of the name of Maurelle which they have published, or we should not even have known that missions existed at Monterey. [La Perouse, Voyage Round the World, p. 296]

or, indeed, anywhere else in Alta California. This means that full seventeen years after the occupation of the country, when it contained eleven missions, six presidios  and several pueblos, the Existence of these settlements was totally unknown to the world. The knowledge was derived from the reports Perouse sent home to his government. But even he was not fully informed concerning the extent of Spanish occupation in the new province. The French explorer came to Monterey provided with credentials from the minister of Spain, and the Californian authorities were instructed to accord him a cordial welcome. This was done, and while his eager quest for information about the country, her inhabitants, the number of missions and presidios, etc. were frankly satisfied, care was taken to keep him in ignorance of the colonization of the pueblos. We find in one of his letters to the French government the following statement:

New California, notwithstanding its fertility, does not yet possess a single European inhabitant. A few soldiers, who have married Indian women, and either live in the forts, or are scattered in small parties on the public service, and the different missions constitute at present the whole of the Spanish nation in this part of America. [La Perouse, Voyage Round the World, p. 209]

In this connection it is also interesting to read what Monsieur Mommeron, who was with the French expedition, has to say concerning the probable future importance of California.

On Board the Boussole,

Dec. 24—1786.

. . . A century or two will in all probability elapse before the Spanish settlements to the north of the peninsula of California will engage the attention of the great maritime powers of Europe; and it will be long even before the nation, in whose possession they are at present, will be able to found colonies there capable of making any considerable progress. Its zeal, however, for the propagation of the faith, has already induced it to establish several missions; but there is a reason to believe that even privateers, of so little importance is the country, will hardly think it worth their while to interrupt the pious exercises of the ecclesiastics. [La Perouse, Voyage Round the World, p. 296]

This was written of a land whose beauty and fertility soon drew men from the four quarters of the globe; whose salubrious climate made it the Mecca of the many, the land that became the El Dorado of 1849, the land that boasts the great port of San Francisco where East and West meet in commercial rivalry. When we remember all this one is forced to reflect on the futility of most human prophecy.

Daily Life in the Missions

Junipero's mode of life in his mission never varied. He rose with the dawn. He seemed to require little sleep. The greater portion of the night he passed in prayer.

According to the verdict of the soldiers of the escolta, he passed the whole night in vigil and prayer. The sentinels were always hearing him and were accustomed to say: "We do not know when the Father Junipero sleeps." [Palou, Vida, p. 313]

At sunrise he said mass and afterwards distributed breakfast to his neophytes. This task he always refused to delegate to others. His Indians were well-fed and well-cared for. He found time to cut out all the shirts and petticoats needed in the missions and all the little garments worn by the children. During stated hours in the mornings and afternoons he instructed the Indians in the doctrines and observances of the church. In the intervals he taught the women to sew and superintended the labors of the men, tucking up his shabby friar's frock to work, himself, the better to show his pupils and to stimulate them to habits of industry by the force of his example. He was always kind to the neophytes, although he did not hesitate to punish them whenever he deemed punishment necessary. He refused to overlook, even in the newest converts, the slightest lapse from the strict code of morals he insisted upon, nor would he pardon the least carelessness or neglect in church attendance or observances. In spite of this severity the neophytes were devoted to him. They saw that he exacted from them no duty which he did not exact from himself with far greater rigor, that the punishments he inflicted upon his own delicate body surpassed in severity anything to which they were subjected. An intuition which belongs alike to children and savages, taught them that in Junipero they had, not a teacher only, but a friend, a brother, and a champion.

The routine of mission life was the same in all California establishments. Priests and neophytes rose with the dawn. Promptly at sunrise the church bells summoned all to prayer. Attendance was compulsory. The doors of the monjerias, where the girls and unmarried women slept, were unlocked by an Indian duenna called the madre abadesa, who was chosen by the padres for this office. From another building the boys and young men were released, from where they also had been locked in over night. At the same time, from out of innumerable little straw-thatched huts issued the married neophytes and the entire dusky flock filed into church. They were joined by the soldiers of the escolta, for even they were not exempt from these matutinal prayers. The services lasted an hour. In the meanwhile large iron pots were placed on the kitchen fire. In these pots was cooked a porridge called atole. It was made from barley which had been previously roasted and carefully pounded by the women, until it had attained a mealy consistency. The Indians were extremely fond of this food. Many uninvited guests were present at these meals. From the nearby rancherias  and from the mountains came hungry savages, who slipped silently into the kitchen. They were always given food. In this manner the padres encouraged their dusky visitors to return regularly, and finally, by adding gifts of beads and clothing, induced them to remain in the mission. Three-quarters of an hour was allowed for breakfast. Then work was begun. The more intelligent among the neophytes were taught to be carpenters, blacksmiths, tanners. Others were sent to cut and bring in wood for fuel, to dig in the garden, to plow, to sow, to harrow, to thresh and harvest according to the time of year. They were taught "the great human duty of work."

Their agricultural implements were of the most primitive kind. A plow was fashioned by means of a plank and a small piece of iron, and, though it successfully scratched the ground, it did not turn or cut a furrow. The plow was followed by another and yet another, each one carefully pursuing the same track, until the soil was finally sufficiently turned. It was a slow and laborious method, but remained long in use in the missions .for want of a better. The harrow was nothing more complex than the branch of a tree. Sickles were not numerous and frequently the grain was pulled up by the roots; it was threshed by horses or mules treading it out; afterwards the grain was separated from the chaff in the old Biblical manner of throwing it up in the air and letting a beneficent wind accomplish the rest.

While the men were engaged in these pursuits, the women also had their occupations. They were taught to sew, to spin, to weave, or were set to pounding grain. It was not till the visit of the French explorer, the Sieur de La Perouse, in 1786, that hand mills were introduced. A Monsieur de Langle belonging to the expedition, presented the San Carlos mission with the first hand mill used in California. "It enabled four neophyte women to do the work of a hundred in the old way," declared La Perouse.

The married women were also instructed in household affairs, particularly that part pertaining to the cleanliness of their dwellings. This must have required infinite patience on the part of the padres, for the Californians were instinctively filthy in their habits. Before they came under Franciscan control vermin abounded on their persons and their huts reeked with the vile odors of noxious impurities.

At eleven the mission bells were rung to announce the dinner hour. All work ceased. The Indians returned to their dwellings, seized their dishes of bark, and again filed into the kitchen to receive their food. Their dinner consisted of a thick porridge made of ground wheat, maize, peas, and beans. It was called pozoli  and was very nutritious. La Perouse comments on the excellency of this food and suggests that his own countrymen might with advantage "adopt this economical dish in years of scarcity." (He is quick to add however, with the precaution of a French palate, "with the addition of some seasoning.") Occasionally the neophytes were treated to an allowance of meat, which many of them ate raw, regarding the fat especially as a fine delicacy. Three hours of leisure were permitted after dinner. By two o'clock everyone had returned to his allotted duties. One hour before supper the bells summoned the workers to vespers. After a supper of atole  the Indians were free for the remainder of the evening.

During the day their religious instructions were not neglected. The same system which Junipero had followed in the Sierra Gorda missions was continued here. When we stop to consider that each mission had but two padres, that these two daily instructed hundreds of neophytes, shared and superintended their labors in the cultivation of the land, taught themselves the mechanic arts, the trades of carpenter, blacksmith, tanner, etc., and even, as in Fray Junipero's case, the difficult art of sewing, in order that they could teach their Indians; that these same two men distributed rations, cut garments, preached, baptized, assisted at marriages, burials, acted as physicians, surgeons, attended the sick and dying during any hour of the day or night—when we consider all this we cannot but marvel at such prodigious labors. In one of their efforts the friars remained for years totally unsuccessful. They could not persuade the Indians to adopt a more civilized style of habitation. Their huts were built around the church; they were six feet in diameter and four in height; the framework of each was formed by stakes stuck in the ground and drawn together at the top; bundles of straw, not very carefully arranged, constituted the walls of the primitive dwellings. To the remonstrance of the padres, the Indians placidly replied that they liked plenty of air, that it was convenient to set fire to their houses when the fleas became too numerous and devoured them, and that they could build another in less than two hours.

The greatest precautions were taken to guard the young girls. They slept in the monjeria  (nunnery) . Every evening the madre abadesa  stood at the door of this building and as the girls, laughing and jesting, passed in to their sleeping quarters she called each one by name that none could absent themselves without being promptly discovered. When then maidens were all safely housed for the night she locked the door and delivered the key to the padres. Whatever opinions may be held concerning the benefit derived by the Indian from this contact with the mission fathers, there can be no question that the condition of his womankind was infinitely bettered thereby. The Californian did not differ from any other North American savage in his treatment of woman and in the contempt he entertained for her. To the lot of the squaw fell all the drudgery. She was the slave of a husband who could divorce her whenever the whim seized him. She was entitled to neither his sympathy, his kindness, nor even to his barest consideration. To treat her otherwise than as an abject slave would have been to bring down upon himself the scorn of his companions. Nothing could surpass the degradation of her lot.

When the Franciscan fathers took the squaw under their protection, treated her with kindness, shielded her from the brutality of the men, her life once assumed a degree of security and happiness hitherto unknown to her. Thus the fathers exerted over the women an ever-increasing influence and were enabled to obtain complete control of their children, who, growing up in the missions, knowing no other life, possessing no other interests, became the most devoted and staunchest adherents of the Franciscan missionaries.

The girls left the monjeria  only when they were married. This event was generally arranged by the padres, who were careful to bestow the most desirable among the maidens upon the most industrious and best behaved of the young men. This custom was not without its effect in inducing the young neophytes to be diligent and faithful. No woman was married against her will. If she objected to the husband selected for her, she was permitted to make her own choice in the matrimonial market. Through the fathers, the Indians learned the organization of a family, which the world over is the first step towards civilization. Various methods were adopted to increase the number of converts in the missions. The one most frequently employed and according to more modern ideas the most legitimate, consisted in encouraging the savages by gifts of food, clothing, and small trinkets, to frequent the missions that they might see how well-fed and contented were their dusky brethren who lived under the protection of the fathers.

There is no doubt that to many of the savages, mission life held out strong attractions. The Spaniards possessed firearms and could secure them against the pillaging attacks of other tribes. And there were horses in the mission. Although the California Indians had never seen a horse until the Spaniards entered their country, they became, whenever the opportunity offered, expert riders in an incredibly short time. But above all, the assurance of ample food at all times of the year and without the necessity of skirmishing for it themselves, appealed to their great and natural indolence. It often happened that an Indian would induce his friends and relatives to join the mission neophytes, and they in turn persuaded others. But to these harmless methods was afterwards added one which the best friends of the friars find difficulty in either commending or extenuating. Armed bands of neophytes were sent out to corral the unsuspecting savages and bring them by force to the mission, where they were carefully guarded to prevent escape and were compelled to listen daily to the religious instructions of the well-meaning padres. It is doubtful whether this method was adopted during Fray Junipero's lifetime, but it seems by no means improbable that the conquista espiritual, as it was called, would have met with his approval.

To one who believed this life to be a period of probation, which would be followed by an eternity of bliss, or an eternity of torment according as one believed in the Christ or not, all methods which would result in saving souls must have appeared not only legitimate but righteous. Junipero had an unquestioning belief in the truth of every word in the Scriptures. He believed in the actual fall of man, in the existence of an actual hell, in a salvation through Christ alone. The effect of such a belief in a man of his character would naturally be prodigious. He would leave no stone unturned to increase the number of those who could be saved.

Fortunately for Junipero's peace of mind he, in common with the majority of the early Franciscans and Jesuit missionaries in the Californias, entertained no doubt of the efficacy of conversion, however sudden the change or politic the reason on the part of the infidel. The acceptance of baptism, the regular attendance at church, veneration of the sacred images and emblems of the Catholic faith, were sufficient in their minds to secure to an Indian full membership in the church. What the convert's mental attitude was in regard to the Catholic doctrines and symbols, was of small consequence provided he could say his paternoster, repeat the names of the saints, and cross himself on proper occasions; and it remained a minor matter whether his childish intellect comprehended even partially the religious instructions he received.

The friars depended in no small degree upon the effect produced on the mind of the savage by the paintings which adorned the churches. La Perouse, in describing the interior of the church of San Carlos says:

It is adorned with some tolerable pictures copied from originals in Italy. Among the number is a picture of hell, in which the painter seems to have borrowed from the imagination of Callot; but as it is absolutely necessary to strike the senses of these new converts with the most lively impression, I am persuaded that such a representation was never more useful in any country. I doubt whether the picture of Paradise which is opposite to that of hell, produces so good an effect upon them. The state of tranquillity which it represents and that mild satisfaction of the elect who surround the throne of the Supreme Being are ideas too sublime for the minds of uncultivated savages. [La Perouse, Voyage Round the World, Vol. II, p. 192.]

The padres also understood thoroughly the civilizing influence of music, and they did not neglect to cultivate this art in the missions. With patient care they instructed the Indians who showed a taste for singing hymns. They taught them the notes and wrote simple melodies for their use. In later years music became one of the prominent features of mission life. Many of the neophytes developed, not only excellent voices, but pronounced ability in playing musical instruments.

Sometimes the Indians became skilled artisans, and frequently moderately competent ones. To awaken their low, sluggish minds required infinite patience, infinite love, and unremitting toil. All this the early Franciscan fathers bestowed upon their friends. That they succeeded in teaching them as much as they did reflects such a vast amount of credit upon their patient labors, that criticism of their methods appears ungenerous. Yet the fact remains that the mission system was extremely defective. The Indians were completely under the control of the missionaries. Their occupation, their hours of work and recreation were arranged for them. At all times they were treated as children, they were not permitted to leave the mission without the consent of the padres; they could not own property or cultivate land on their own account; they were punished for delinquencies, rewarded for merit. From the second generation of neophytes, they became so dependent upon the friars that when left to their own resources to sustain life, they were pathetically bewildered and helpless.

Permanent civilization, under such feudal conditions, it is apparent, was impossible. The Indians were not treated like independent beings; they were never encouraged to act or think for themselves, or to be otherwise than servilely dependent upon the missionaries. They were destitute of natural rights. The system was at fault, not the friars. The ambition of the early Franciscan fathers was noble, instinct with lofty thought, with self-sacrifice and generosity.

In closing this chapter I can do no better than to quote from the letters to his government of that astute observer and enlightened, liberal-minded Frenchman, Sieur de La Perouse, concerning the Spanish missionaries in California.

It is with the most pleasing satisfaction that I speak of the pious and prudent conduct of these religious men which so perfectly accords with the object of their institution. I shall not conceal what I conceive to be blamable in their internal administration; but I must affirm, that individually good and humane, they temper by their mildness and charity the austerity of the rules which have been prescribed by their superiors.

A friend to the rights of men rather than to theology, I could have wished, I confess, that there had been joined to the principles of Christianity, a legislation, which might gradually have made citizens of men, whose state at present scarcely differs from that of the negro inhabitants of our colonies, in those plantations which are governed with most mildness and humanity. I am perfectly aware of the extreme difficulty of this new plan. I know that these men have very few ideas and still less stability and if they were to cease to be treated as children, they would escape from those who have taken the pains to instruct them. I know likewise that reasoning can produce very little effect upon them, that it is absolutely necessary to appeal to their senses and that corporal punishment with rewards in a double proportion, have hitherto been the only means adopted by their legislator.

But would it not be possible for ardent zeal and extreme patience to demonstrate to a few families the advantages of society founded on the rights of the people: to establish among them the possession of property, so bewitching to all men; and by this new order of things to engage everyone to cultivate his field with emulation or to direct his exertions to some other employment?

[Illustration] from Junipero Serra by A. H. Fitch


I admit that the progress of this new civilization would be very slow and the attentions necessary to be paid tedious and disgusting; that the theatre of action is very remote, and that the applauses of the enlightened part of mankind would never reach the ear of him who should thus have consecrated his life to deserve them. Neither do I hesitate to affirm that human motives are insufficient for such a ministry and that the enthusiasm of religion, with the rewards it promises, can alone compensate for the sacrifices, the disgust, the fatigues and the dangers of this kind of life. Still I could wish that the minds of the austere, charitable and religious individuals I have met with in these missions, were a little more tinctured with the spirit of philosophy. [La Perouse, Voyage Round the World, pp. 187-188]

With Neve at Montery

Certain rumors, which had been in circulation for some time past, regarding the probable removal of Rivera from his position of military commandant became verified by the arrival of couriers with authentic information that the first governor of California had been appointed and was on his way to Monterey. Felipe de Neve was lieutenant governor of Baja California when he received the appointment which made him governor of the two Californias. By royal command, Monterey was created the capital of both provinces. This was the first official recognition Spain had given that her new possession was of vastly greater importance than the long occupied Baja California. It had taken exactly six years of hard, indefatigable labor on the part of a lame friar to prove to Carlos III. the real value of his latest territorial acquisition. Junipero's bella cordona  of missions was the means of riveting the king's attention upon this favored corner of the world, and of finally spurring him on to firmly hold and carefully govern his new possession. The Majorcan peasant priest laid the foundation of the flourishing Spanish dominion in Alta California. He did this with perfect self-effacement, with absolute integrity, with an indomitable will, and with a tender devotion to his unchristianized fellowmen in the wilderness. He was a great missionary, a great pioneer, a great promoter, a great organizer, and, with it all, a very tired, lame old man.

Rivera was ordered to Loreto as lieutenant governor of Baja California, subordinate to Neve. That he was not considered competent to occupy the important office of governor was probably due not only to the reports of him that had gone to Mexico, but also to Galvez's knowledge of him. The former visitador general  was at that time in Spain and prominent at court, and without doubt was instrumental in removing Rivera from Alta California. We know, at least, that the powerful nobleman entertained small regard for the captain's natural capacities, from the fact that in 1769 he made him, despite his superior military rank, subordinate to Don Pedro Fages. Nor did the viceroy think favorably of his abilities since learning of the unwise policy Rivera pursued after the San Diego revolt.

We find in a letter dated December 25, written by Bucareli to Junipero, the following:

I do not doubt that the suspension of the re-establishment of the ruined San Diego mission caused your reverence much pain, in as much as the mere knowledge of it has given me displeasure, particularly the frivolous motives which occasioned the suspension and which were hinted to me in the letter of Lieut. Don Diego Choquet, Commander of the Paque boat el Principe.

The new governor, arrived at Monterey in February, 1777, having made the journey overland from Baja California. Junipero must have felt some uneasiness concerning the possible attitude of the governor towards himself and his missions. He was cognizant of the quarrels Neve had had with the Dominicans in Baja California. These quarrels—carried on with considerable acrimony on both sides—were at their height when they were abruptly interrupted by Neve's new appointment, which compelled him to reside at Monterey. Their dissensions arose over the Indians. There was a vast difference between the treatment given the Indians by the Franciscans under Fray Junipero and that accorded them by the Dominicans under Padre Mora. It was the difference between thrashing the savages into civilization and the arms of the Catholic church, and of leading them humanely to the same destination. The records of the Dominicans in Baja California, show them to have been harsh taskmasters, exacting excessive labors from their charges, and encouraging them by a free use of the lash. The consequences were such as one might expect. The Indians were constantly on the verge of revolt, when not actually revolting—a condition of things conducive to neither the prosperity of Baja California nor to the glory of the Catholic church. Neve's efforts were directed towards remedying these evils by restricting the power of the friars. It was these efforts which the Dominicans vigorously opposed and which were the origin of their quarrels. If the new governor entered on his duties in Alta California with feelings strongly prejudiced towards missionary friars in general, it need not excite our surprise.

He laid greater stress on the essential principles of individual liberty than did the missionaries or his predecessors. In matters of government however, much depends upon the men who administer, and a system defective in itself can be made to produce good results. It is not improbable that the keen-sighted governor was unconsciously forced into a recognition of this truism, when, with his escort, he traversed the well-beaten trail through Alta California to Monterey, and visited every mission en route, for after noting carefully the conditions of the neophytes, and the methods and management in vogue in the establishments, he found no serious complaint to make as a result of his scrutinizing inspection. At Monterey he was received with the customary military honors. Neve's first care was to review the troops. In San Diego he had found the soldiers poorly equipped, not only as to their clothing but their arms, presenting altogether a wretched appearance. What he thought of the force at Monterey he left unsaid in his amazement at the condition of the presidio, which was now the capital of California, a capital consisting of a miserable collection of huts behind a rickety fence, trying to do duty for a palisade.

In spite of the beauty of the surrounding country Neve was disheartened at the prospect of remaining in this sordid place, and in a land so remote. He determined to ask permission to resign; he was in poor health and moreover had been separated from his family in Seville for thirteen years because of his military duties in New Spain. He, no doubt, thought it small compensation to forego longer the pleasures of family life, and the luxuries of civilization for the privilege of being governor of Spain's most remote and isolated province on the Pacific.

Promptly after Neve's arrival in Monterey Fray Junipero came over from Carmel to see him and confer with him concerning the affairs of the province. Neve eyed with cold curiosity the shabbily gowned, drawn-faced little man, who greeted him with a mild and humble deference. This then was the master-spirit of the California conquest, represented in a lame, emaciated friar, in whose eyes glowed the strange light of fanaticism, yet whose extraordinary capabilities and talents were shown in the progress and prosperity of every mission in the province. The thought may have flashed through Neve's mind, that if his predecessors in California had possessed a tithe of this Franciscan's fertility in resources, a quarter of his energy and capacity, the presidio  would have presented an appearance somewhat different in character.

Junipero laid his plans before the governor with all his accustomed fervor. He had long been keenly anxious to establish missions in the thickly populated region of the Santa Barbara channel. One of these missions was, as we know, to be San Buenaventura, the establishment of which had been projected as long ago as 1769.

Neve listened, impressed, in spite of himself, as Junipero unfolded carefully his plans and stated his reasons for urging their adoption. The integrity of his character, the rush and whirl of his enthusiasm, the singleness of his purpose, in which selfishness and personal ambition had no share, stood out with sharp distinctness against the background of greed and tyranny furnished by the friars Neve had so recently encountered in the peninsula. Moreover, Neve recognized the wisdom of Junipero's plans, which would, if carried out, result in controlling the channel natives. This was a matter of considerable importance to the Spaniards, as the peculiar situation of the Santa Barbara channel country permitted the savages at any time to cut off land communications between the north and the south.

The governor, accordingly, wrote to Mexico, strongly advocating Junipero's projects. He advised the establishment of a presidio  in this region, also, as an additional precaution in protecting the new settlements. Yet at the same time that he forwarded these recommendations, he undoubtedly was already engaged in planning his reglamento  which, when put into effect, would change the entire mission system and restrict the authority of the friars by removing their temporal power. Junipero was an old man, he could not live many years longer; his successor in the presidency of the California missions might be a friar of totally different character, possessing little of his splendid patience in efforts to civilize the natives, little of his desire to maintain the peace and happiness of his charges and thereby of the country. In his attitude toward the established mission system Neve acted in entire good faith. We shall see later, however, that his judgment was at fault in the extent to which his reglamento  crippled the powers of the missionaries and in the time and place chosen for enforcing it. Junipero returned to his mission well pleased with the result of his interview with the new governor.

Although Neve was firmly determined to resign, he was not the man to remain idle in his post in the interim, or to accept quietly the existing conditions of the presidio. He promptly began the building of a stone wall, 12 feet high and more than 500 yards in circumference to replace the rickety wooden fence. He had the wretched huts demolished and substituted fair-sized adobe houses with barracks sufficiently commodious for the accommodations of additional troops.

So expeditiously were his plans executed, that within six months the new presidio  was completed. While this work was under way, he made a tour of inspection to the northern establishments, Santa Clara and San Francisco, and arranged for the founding of the first pueblo in California, San Jose de Guadalupe—now known as San Jose. Neve chose a site for the pueblo not far from the Santa Clara mission, in order that the padres there could attend to the spiritual requirements of the new community.

He then selected from among the San Francisco settlers who had accompanied Anza to California, five families, also fourteen soldiers who understood something of farming. Sixty-six men, women, and children were gathered together to form the original population of San Jose. Each settler received a tract of land sufficiently large to plant three bushels of maize; he was also given a house lot, soldier's rations, and ten dollars a month pay; in addition he was provided with "a yoke of oxen, two horses, two cows, a mule, two sheep and two goats, together with necessary implements and seed, all of which were to be repaid in products of the soil, delivered at the royal warehouse."

Brothers Meet and Part

A new policy in the military and civil administration of California had been in contemplation by the central government for some years, but it was not put into actual operation until now. When Jose De Galvez, the great visitador general, was in New Spain, he realized the difficult, if not impossible, task confronting a viceroy residing in the City of Mexico, who was called upon to govern vast territories lying thousands of leagues distant from the capital. He accordingly formulated a plan which was intended to remedy this difficulty, and laid it, when completed, before the King for his royal approval. The plan provided for two independent powers in New Spain. Eight provinces, including the two Californias, to be called the Provincias Internas—because they were in the interior as regards the City of Mexico—were to be ruled by a governor entirely independent of the vice-royalty of New Spain, and responsible only to the King. His Majesty approved of this plan. A royal order, dated Aug. 22, 1776 put it into effect.

The first governor of the Provincias Internas  was General Theodore de Croix, commonly called the Caballero de Croix. He was a nephew of the former viceroy, de Croix. He took up his residence in Neuva Vizcaino the following year. He himself wrote to Junipero announcing this change of administration. Though his letter was dated August 15, 1777, Junipero did not receive it until June, 1779, two years after it was written. This change of administration caused the venerable president not a little sorrow and anxiety. Bucareli had proved himself a firm friend of the Franciscan missionaries. He had given his hearty support to Junipero. In the frequent disputes between the military and ecclesiastic authorities, his decisions had invariably been favorable to the latter.

There had, of course, been long and vexing delays, and the uncertainties due to the great distances separating California from the central government, but this Junipero could bear patiently, assured in the knowledge that Bucareli's decisions, whatever they were, would never be prejudicial to mission progress nor heedless of the welfare of the province. Whether the Caballero de Croix would be equally friendly to mission interests, time alone would tell. Had Junipero been a few years younger, it is not improbable that he would have journeyed to Neuva Vizcaino, as once before, he had journeyed to Mexico, to personally solicit the interest of the new ruler in the California missions. But years of hard labor, years of pain, of sickness, of lameness, had made of him, at sixty-six, a very feeble, broken old man. His wonderful energy and enthusiasm were, to be sure, not a whit less than the day he first put foot on California's soil; but his body, wasted with disease and hardships, could no longer respond as formerly to his bidding. We see him now, pathetically anxious not to lost a moment of that earthly time which he felt was for him fast drawing to a close. He journeyed and, as was his habit, on foot, to every mission north and south, confirming neophytes and sons of Spanish soldiers in the presidios.

He was occupied with these duties when couriers arrived, bearing tidings of the death by pleurisy of Bucareli in Mexico, and of Spain's declaration of war against England.

Governor Neve received orders to strengthen the defenses on the Californian coast, and in event of any act of aggression on the part of English ships, to make prompt reprisals. These orders, though made public with the customary. formality, failed to create the least ripple of excitement in the province. Strange ships had never yet been seen off the coast and the Spaniards had no intentions of disturbing themselves with gloomy apprehensions because war had been declared by the mother county against a foe thousands of miles away.

Though the routine of their lives was, in point of fact, not affected then or afterwards because of Anglo-Spanish hostilities, yet these colonists were to learn later that Carlos III. had no mind to let any of his royal subjects in this remote California forget that he was waging war. Every Spaniard was asked to contribute his prayers and also two substantial dollars to the cause, and every mission was called upon to donate produce in proportion to the number of its male neophytes. The flourishing condition of the settlements is shown by the manner in which this royal request was answered. The amount sent out from Alta California was $2,683. In addition to this sum, Governor Neve personally contributed $2,000.

Junipero ordered public prayers said for the success of Spanish arms. But this distant war disturbed him far less than the death of Bucareli. Notwithstanding that California had been removed from the Viceroy's jurisdiction, his influence would still have been expended for the benefit of the province. Bereft of this influential friend, Junipero suddenly felt the responsibilities of his position weigh heavily upon him. Governor Neve's attitude towards him was not a friendly one. It would appear that two men, both ambitious for the good of California, both peculiarly adapted by their keen, practical intelligence to advance the march of civilization in a new country would have worked together harmoniously for this end. This unfortunately was far from the case.

The governor, while sagacious and broad-minded in many respects, was, nevertheless, neither sagacious nor broad-minded enough to tolerate in his little realm a missionary friar given to the senseless habit of self-torture, a man whose religious emotions took the form of hysteria, and whose lameness was the result of persistent refusal to accept medical treatment, who when urged thereto by anxious friends, responded, medicinam carnalem nunquam exhibui corpori meo. (I have never given carnal medicine to my body.) The sane qualities of Neve's mind revolted against all this, while his vanity was immensely hurt by the knowledge that in this fanatical friar existed intellectual forces superior to his own. It is difficult to ascribe any other motive than jealousy to Neve's actions. We find him, soon after the appointment of de Croix, writing to him complaining letters of the friars, accusing them of teaching the Indians to disregard the authority of secular officers, and to consider the padres' rule supreme. Again he writes that the padres had on four occasions surreptitiously conspired against the government; he attributes the failure of their efforts to his own policy and moderation. It is impossible to determine on what evidence the vigilant governor based his accusations. The most diligent student of early California history will find nothing to indicate that either Fray Junipero or his friars entertained the least desire to plot against the government whose support was absolutely essential to the continuance of the work to which they had dedicated their lives. The absurdity of the charges is altogether too self-evident to need refutation.

It is but necessary to follow Junipero's career as president of the California missions to recognize the utter incompatibility of these accusations with the character of the man. The governor was finally compelled to go far afield to seek a quarrel with Junipero, and we have the sorry spectacle of a singularly petty, unjustifiable interference on his part with the president's ecclesiastical prerogatives. He began by peremptorily questioning Junipero's right to confirm. In view of this fact it will not be amiss to relate here how he obtained his privilege. When Junipero first came to Baja California, he found in the archives of the expelled Jesuits a papal bull signed by Benedict XIV., conceding the power of confirmation to California missionaries, of the order of the "Society of Jesus." The right to confirm belonged exclusively to bishops, but as these church officials seldom, if ever, visited the remote peninsula, the Pope did not hesitate to grant one of their prerogatives to priests of lower grade, in order that settlers and neophytes should not be "deprived of the consolation of confirmation." Fray Junipero promptly forwarded this papal bull to the guardian of San Fernando and begged him to obtain a similar privilege for the Franciscan missionaries in California. The guardian sent the document to Rome, and Clement XIV. renewed it in favor of the Franciscans. It was then submitted to the royal council of the Indies for approval.

The papers, properly certified, were finally dispatched to America; and Junipero, many years after he first applied for the privilege, received his patente, permitting him to confirm. He lost no time in entering zealously into his new duties. He had confirmed 2,432 persons when Neve challenged his legal right to do so, in a manner curiously harsh and arbitrary, demanding to see the papal bull conceding Junipero his power.

As the original documents were in the archives of the Rev. Father Prefecto, in Mexico, Fray Junipero found himself unable to comply with this demand. He, however, offered to submit the papers he had in his own possession, including a letter from the viceroy Bucareli in which he was congratulated on having received the "faculty to confirm." This did not satisfy Neve. The provinces, he reminded Junipero, were no longer ruled through the channels of the viceroyalty, but were governed by the Comandancia General  and through him by the governor of California, namely himself.

"Then Senor," pleaded the old prelate, "in that case, cannot you remove the difficulties, by taking my papers and affixing to them your official seal, so that the poor people need not be deprived of confirmation?"

But Neve insisted that the original documents alone would satisfy him, and that until he had communicated with the Caballero de Croix on the matter, all confirmations must cease. In writing to de Croix, Neve expressed his belief that Junipero had in his possession the original documents, and that he deemed it useless to try to acquire them by searching the friar's papers, for Junipero "with his unspeakable artifice and shrewdness would only succeed in hiding them." It seems strange that the governor should have allowed his prejudice against Junipero to go to such lengths, and stranger still that de Croix should have sustained, even authorized, this petty persecution of an aged missionary, concerning a matter which surely could not have been of vital consequence to the secular authorities. It would be evident to anyone not blinded by prejudice, that had Junipero possessed the original documents, he would unhesitatingly have submitted them for inspection. He would have done this not only to avoid a suspension of his privilege, but to prevent the harm and the gossip which such a suspension would give rise to among the neophytes, when it became known that the legality of his sacraments was questioned.

Junipero wrote to the guardian of San Fernando, informing him of the situation and begging him to forward with all possible dispatch the required papers. Pending their arrival, he remained in seclusion in his mission. Broken in health, deeply humiliated, and full of anxiety for the future, the time passed sorrowfully enough for the old man. Finally, by the time de Croix had received and inspected the documents, sent to him by the guardian from Mexico, and found them to have been properly approved by both the crown and the church, and had communicated the fact to Governor Neve, more than a year had elapsed. In September, 1781, Junipero received a notification from Neve, stating that there were no longer any obstacles to his administering the sacrament. Thus ended this curious incident. Palou, after chronicling the bare facts, adds (with a spirit of generosity, the more praiseworthy in view of the warmth of his affection for Junipero) that "it is not to be supposed that this Senor (Governor Neve) was influenced by malice, but rather, lacking advisors, he acted as his judgment dictated."

When the president received Neve's letter, he lost no time in celebrating confirmation in his mission. Immediately afterwards he went to San Antonio for the same purpose, then returned to San Carlos to prepare for a tour of confirmation to the northern establishments. He was accompanied on this journey by his old friend Padre Crespi, who had long keenly desired to visit San Francisco, which he had seen only as a primeval wilderness in 1769.

With sandaled feet, coarse brown capote, and peaked cowl, the cord of St. Francis knotted about their waists, and a rosary and crucifix hanging at their sides, the two old friars set forth upon their journey one bright October day. They traveled slowly, stopping no doubt frequently to rest, for Padre Crespi was waxing feeble and, though younger than his friend, he felt the weight of years more heavily.

Fray Junipero was at this time in his seventieth year; Fray Juan Crespi, in his sixty-second year. As they approached the new pueblo, San Jose, Crespi noted with astonishment the change a few short years had wrought in the land. He came in view of a very different scene from the one which had greeted the eyes of the weary explorers in 1769. On the wide expanse of luxuriant plain, watered by the Guadalupe River, were cultivated fields of grain and fruitful orchards, while roaming through the woodlands and rich meadows were herds of sheep, goats, cows, mules, and horses. The pueblo itself, was but an assemblage of small earth-roofed houses of plastered palisades, suspended hides not infrequently doing service for front doors. Yet even then San Jose must have given promise of the beautiful flower-decked city which now spreads its palms beneath the friendly skies.

[Illustration] from Junipero Serra by A. H. Fitch


Sixty-six settlers formed the original population of the pueblo; among their number were a few women and children—a rare spectacle in early California days. The friars may have arrived in the settlement when the cows were being milked, in which event they saw a familiar scene oft enacted, no doubt, in their mission.

The Spanish-American cow had a character of her own. She was candid and not very civil—(a rare combination is candor and civility anywhere)—and the Spanish-American pioneer, who understood riding far better than milking, found her more difficult to manage than an unbroken colt. She was descended from the hardy cows who had tramped thousands of miles to California; she had all their mettle, independence, and muscular strength, and was, in fact, to be reckoned with when her milk, not her beef, was wanted, for it required the combined efforts of three men to draw it from her. Here, indeed, was a conspicuous absence of the proverbial pretty milkmaid with her shining pails and wooden stool! The men were carefully distributed.

One held the cow by the head: a second held the reata  confining her hind legs, and battled with the hungry calf, while the third milked with one hand holding the receptacle for it in the other. Milk-pails were unknown, and the rancho's  assortment of crockery was small, so that, if several cows were milked all the tumblers, tea-cups and bowls were brought into requisition. Meanwhile the ranchero, his wife and children, the unoccupied servants, and the stranger within the gates, assisted as spectators. [Bancroft, California Pastoral, p. 369]

The missionaries, however, learned to manage better with their cows, for we read further that in 1815 one of the San Francisco friars offered to supply the Russian explorer and naval officer, Otto von Kotzebue, whose ship was in the harbor, with two bottles of milk, at the same time assuring him that he was the only man in that part of the country who, after many difficulties, had succeeded in obtaining milk from cows!

Fray Junipero and Padre Crespi, after stopping a few days at Santa Clara mission, continued their journey, promising on their return to assist at the laying of the corner stone of the new church.

They traveled on up the coast, over undulating lengths of land densely covered with the knotted chaparral, the thirsty looking sage, the bright-berried cascara bush, sweet smelling little yerba buena, and with the rosemary and marjoram. They passed through wonderful forests of redwood, through smiling valleys and broad and fertile plains, and never far away the great Coast Mountains reared their rugged heads. Finally they came upon the eagerly anticipated shining sand dunes of San Francisco.

Where the dry loose sand had been thrown into wave-like hills, covered with a thick growth of dwarf trees and shrubs, stood the mission dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi. The mission was built on the Laguna de los Dolores, a fact which explains its later nomenclature—the mission Dolores, the name the old church still retains. The church was of frame and plastered with clay. It was fifty-four feet long. The mission-house, also of frame and plastered, was thirty by fifteen feet. Besides these buildings, there were the barracks for the guard and a few small huts for the converts. The presidio  overlooked the blue-gray harbor of the "Golden Gate," one of the most beautiful harbors in the world.

It was a fair day in October, when the two old friars, weary, but happy, passed through the mission gates. Palou was overjoyed at seeing them.

It was for me an occasion of extraordinary gladness to see again both my well-loved superior and my dear school fellow, Fray Juan Crespi. In view of what was soon to occur it was as if he had come to bid me farewell till eternity. [Palou, Vida, p. 230]

They remained two weeks in the mission, during which Fray Junipero confirmed all the neophytes prepared to receive this sacrament. "When they left," wrote Palou, "the pain of parting was for me, I believe likewise for their reverences, equal to the joy caused by their arrival." Palou never saw his old schoolfellow again. A few days after their return to San Carlos, Crespi was seized with a mortal illness, and on New Year's day, 1782, he peacefully passed into eternity. Junipero had remained in constant attendance upon him to the hour of his death. "He was the first of us to be called by God," says Palou sorrowfully. He was buried in the mission church, within the presbytery on the gospel side. The commandant of the Monterey presidio, together with all the troops, attended the funeral services. But the tears of the neophytes were the highest tribute paid that day to the memory of gentle Padre Juan.

The death of his old friend and companion was a severe shock to Junipero and one from which he never wholly rallied. The journals kept by Crespi during his life in California contribute valuable records for the present day historians of that country; and, although they are frequently but a dry chronicle of the happenings of each day, his unwearying, faithful labors in the cause of the conquest shine through them all.

Military Movements

Governor Neve had received his promotion to a lieutenant colonelcy. This caused him to abandon his former intention of resigning from the service and of returning to his family in Seville. He began, instead, preparation for the occupation and settlement of the Santa Barbara channel region, which included the establishment of a presidio  and the missions so long desired by Junipero. The soldiers destined to garrison the fourth presidio  of Alta California and to act as guards for the new missions were to be recruited in Sinaloa and Sonora. From these points settlers were also to be obtained for a new pueblo to be situated on the Rio Porciuncula, four leagues from the San Gabriel mission. The pueblo was to be called Nuestra Senora de los Angeles.

This recruiting duty fell to Lieutenant Colonel Rivera, who was ordered to leave Loreto in Baja California, cross the gulf to Sonora and gather recruits and settlers. Rivera's instructions were explicit. He was to enlist married men only; in addition, he was cautioned to take those only who were known to have good moral characters, and who were physically healthy and robust. They were to bind themselves to ten years of service. Both soldiers and settlers must be accompanied by their families, and "female relatives, of the settlers, if unmarried should be encouraged to accompany the families with a view to marriage with bachelor soldiers already in California." Each settler was to receive ten dollars a month, regular rations for three years, and an advance of clothing, live stock, seed and implements; these last were to be paid for later from the surplus products of the land.

Apparently these offers were not sufficiently seductive to induce more than twelve men to journey to Alta California, where, with their families, they were to form the population of El Pueblo de la Reina de los Angeles—that is, of Los Angeles. The requisite number of soldiers was more easily recruited. The expedition left in two detachments. The settlers, including among their number a sorry collection of Spaniards who had married mulattos, accompanied by a few soldiers, crossed the gulf to Baja California, and from there traveled overland to San Gabriel. The second division, commanded by Rivera and consisting of forty-two soldiers with their families, marched over the route opened by Colonel Anza in 1774. They reached the recently founded pueblo missions on the Colorado River late in June.

These pueblo missions Palou refers to laconically as un nuevo modo de conquistar. (A new method of conquest.) They were made by combining in one settlement a few of the attributes of presidio, mission, and pueblo. The friars had no part in the temporal management of these new establishments; they were relieved of every care beyond the strict confines of their spiritual duties. They acted as pastors to the soldiers and settlers, and as missionaries to the Indians. The converts were not required to live in a regular mission community, but were permitted to hold land and reside in the settlement with the Spaniards. To hazard this experiment among the fierce and warlike Yumas, was, as one historian declares "a criminally stupid blunder." A criminally stupid blunder it, was, indeed, particularly when viewed in the light of the facts presented to the government by Colonel Anza and Padre Garth, concerning the character of the Colorado River Indians. Palou says that when

. . . .Captain Rivera arrived with all his Expedition at the Colorado River where he found the two Missions which have been described, he saw that the greater part of the horses and mules were sick or exhausted and fearing that they would die on the long stretch of eighty leagues which had to be crossed before reaching San Gabriel, he determined to rest on the banks of the Colorado until they had recuperated. He sent the main body of the expedition on under the escort of an Alferez and nine veteran soldiers from one of the Sonora presidios, while he himself remained with a Sergeant and six men who had been sent from the presidio  of Monterey by the senor Governor to meet him. [Palou, Vida, p. 241]

Rivera made his camp on the eastern bank of the river, opposite the pueblo mission La Purisima Concepcion, which occupied the same site as the present Fort Yuma. He paid little heed to the warnings of Padre Garces that the Yumas were in a dangerous mood, that Palma, the former friend of the Spaniards was now their avowed and bitter enemy, and that in fact, a terrific storm was brewing which soon would burst upon them. In his disregard of these warnings, Rivera only followed the example of the commandant and every soldier and settler in the pueblo. Garces, and his brother friars had for many days vainly endeavored to rouse the Spaniards to an appreciation of their danger. Failing in this, they devoted all their time, not to the conversion of the few Indians who still remained friendly, but to "re-awaken interest in religious exercises and thus to prepare the souls of the unsuspecting men, women and children for death."

Rivera's presence had the effect of hastening the gathering tempest. The sullen and angry temper of the Yumas grew daily more pronounced when it became known that Rivera had no presents to give them and that his large herd of horses and mules had trampled down and destroyed their mesquite plants.

Three weeks after his arrival the storm broke with terrible fury. The pueblo missions, Concepcion and San Pablo (the latter situated some ten miles down the river), were simultaneously attacked. So indifferent had the Spaniards shown themselves to the morose temper of the savages, that the soldiers went abroad unarmed and, when working in the neighboring fields, neglected the ordinary precaution of leaving a guard in the pueblo. These conditions prevailed that July morning in 1781 when the Yumas swooped down upon the unprotected settlements, captured the women and children, massacred the men, and burnt the houses. The intrepid missionary explorer, Padre Francisco Garces, did not escape the fate of his compatriots, though valiant efforts were made by some of his Indian friends, to save him and his brother friars.

Rivera, in his camp across the river, realized too late his precarious position and too late attempted to take precautions to insure the safety of his men and himself. Entrenchments were hurriedly thrown up, but the surging, shrieking savages swarmed past them and entered the camp. The little handful of men fought desperately for their lives; but overpowered by the red-skinned demons, they fell gallantly resisting to the last. Rivera's uniform was stripped off of his body by a Yuma chieftain, who was seen later proudly arrayed in the dead officer's clothes.

So died Captain Fernando Javier de Rivera y Moncada. He was not a man of brilliant intellect, or great force of character, and possessed an exaggerated sense of his own dignity and importance, but he was an honest, kind-hearted Spanish gentleman, reserved in manner, generally liked by the padres and a decided favorite with the soldiers. His memory was long honored in San Diego, where funeral masses were said on the anniversary of his death.

The news of the revolt came like a thunderbolt from a clear sky upon the company at San Gabriel. In particular was Governor Neve deeply affected. The establishments on the Colorado, there is every reason to believe, were founded in accordance with his plans, approved and adopted by his friend de Croix.

The disaster caused Governor Neve to suspend further operations in California. He kept the troops massed and in readiness at San Gabriel in case the Yumas, hot with fight and victory, should in their arrogance swarm over the border and incite the Californians to a general uprising. These pre-cautions did not, however, interfere with the founding of the new pueblo, Nuestra Senora de los Angeles. The site selected was but a short distance from the. mission. In the event of an alarm the soldiers would be close at hand to afford protection to the settlers. The winter passed peacefully enough and without serious indications of a native revolt, although the Indians in the neighborhood of San Juan Capistrano and those below San Diego showed a smoldering hostility towards Spanish supremacy that caused for a time a little uneasiness. All winter the soldiers were encamped at San Gabriel. They lived in an enforced idleness, conducive neither to patience nor to discipline. With the coming of the spring, when the trees in the mission orchards were in bloom, the camp took on a sudden appearance of activity, indicative of departure.

Governor Neve had decided that it was no longer necessary or expedient to further postpone the occupation of the Santa Barbara channel region. He wrote to Junipero, requesting him to send two friars, one to administer the mission San Buenaventura and one for Santa Barbara. Junipero was at his own mission, San Carlos, eagerly awaiting Neve's decisions. The six friars promised from Mexico had not arrived. They were expected on the next transport. In the meanwhile Junipero had but two supernumerary priests in all California. One of these was Padre Cambon, who had recently returned from the Philippines and was recuperating in San Diego from an illness; the second supernumerary was at San Carlos, where he was needed to supply the president's place when the duties of the latter took him abroad. Junipero had long been too anxious to establish these missions in the populous channel country to permit any postponement because of an insufficient number of friars. He determined to take charge of the Santa Barbara mission and presidio  himself, until the arrival of the transport, which would bring six missionaries. He appointed Padre Cambon for the San Buenaventura establishment, and started south immediately, stopping at the intervening missions to confirm some neophytes he had baptized on a previous visit. Late in the evening of a day in March he arrived in the little pueblo, Los Angeles. Here he spent the night. At an early hour the next morning he was up, hastening towards San Gabriel. In his eagerness to arrive, and probably in his weariness, the four leagues separating the mission from the new pueblo appeared to him leagues of exceptional length. He limped along with all the haste his years and feeble strength permitted. But once he arrived, the indefatigable old friar forgot his fatigue.

It was the hour of mass; he himself officiated and delivered a fervorosca platica  (fervent discourse) as though he had not just completed a difficult cult foot journey of many wearying leagues. That evening Governor Neve called upon him. They did not discuss their plans, however, until the following day. The mission of San Buenaventura was to be founded first, then the presidio  and mission of Santa Barbara. The Governor was careful not to disclose to Junipero that the new missions were to exist under a system similar to the one which had been tried with such fearful consequences on the Colorado. Some of the more dangerous features of the experiment were to be omitted, but the departure from the usual mission system was pronounced, and was intended to pre-pare the way for a complete removal of the temporalities from the missionaries. So Junipero's joy remained for the present unclouded.

[Illustration] from Junipero Serra by A. H. Fitch


Governor Neve, with his personal escort of ten soldiers, headed the expedition. It consisted of seventy soldiers with their officers, including our old friend Lieutenant Ortega, who had been summoned from San Diego to take command of the more important post about to be established at Santa Barbara. Following the soldiers came their wives and families and a certain number of neophytes. The muleteers in charge of the baggage and provisions, together with the servants, brought up the rear. The padres, in this large assemblage, were few in number—only Fray Junipero and Fray Pedro Benito Cambon. The order to start was given. As the company set out with stout hearts upon their journey, many a Godspeed was sent after them by those remaining in the mission. For more than seven months the soldiers with their families had converted San Gabriel into a fair-sized, and probably lively, Spanish settlement.

Long after the expedition had made camp that night, a courier, breathless with fast riding, appeared before the governor's tent. He had been sent in hot haste from San Gabriel to overtake the travelers and deliver a message from Don Pedro Fages, who had unexpectedly arrived at the mission. Of Fages' career from the time of his removal from the office of military commandant of California until the present we know little. He now reappears upon the scene as a lieutenant colonel, and under orders from the Caballero de Croix to report to Governor Neve in California for the purpose of consulting with him regarding certain punitive measures contemplated against the Colorado Indians.

On receipt of the message, Neve turned his command over to Ortega and retraced his steps that same night to San Gabriel. The expedition continued its journey without him. Three days later the company arrived at a place called by Portola in 1769—Assumpta. Years ago it had been selected as an advantageous site for the mission San Buenaventura. It was a singularly beautiful spot, not far from the sea beach at the southeastern extremity of the channel. Junipero performed the usual religious ceremonies, then the work of building was at once begun.

Neve rejoined the expedition after an absence of two weeks. He found that the energetic president had the mission farm laid out, the digging of ditches for irrigating purposes well under way, and preparations generally established for a flourishing agricultural community. To make the most of time, to grasp and hold each moment lest it slip swiftly by him and so escape unprofitably from out his life, was, by the very constitution of his nature, characteristic of Junipero. It was this which caused him to push forward with unbounded energy, the establishment of San Buenaventura in all its various details, without the least suspicion that Neve had contemplated for the new missions a system in which missionary management of temporalities, laying out of farms, planting, sowing, and reaping under the customary mission supervision, were to have no part.

Whether Neve's recent conference with Fages on the disasters of the pueblo missions rendered him less keen to institute a change in California, or whether he preferred that Junipero should receive the first notification of this change from Mexico, it is certain that he said not a word to alter the conditions already existing at San Buenaventura.

This was the last mission founded by Junipero. With Neve's arrival preparations were at once made to proceed with the other establishments. A guard of fourteen soldiers were left with Padre Cambon. This was the largest number ever assigned to one mission. The precaution was considered necessary in a region where the natives numbered over ten thousand crowded together in a comparatively limited area.

Once again was heard the bustle incident to departure and the breaking up of camp. The women gathered their few household utensils together. The men hurried to and fro, busy with the loading of pack mules, and the adjustments of their arms and accoutrements, while the officers discussed with one another the most feasible route over which to travel. The presence of women in the expedition appears to have made slight, if any, difference in the number of leagues compassed during the day's journey.

On a beautiful little grass-covered plain, sloping abruptly down to the sea the travelers halted. Immediately behind this plain rose a rugged range of mountains.

The physical conditions of Santa-Barbara are almost perfect. The climate, while it tends to reposefulness, is not enervating. The sparkling atmosphere, the clear, unflecked sky, the blaze of light on sunny days—conditions which when continuous first excite, then weary, and gradually predispose the healthy man to a state of inactivity which has nothing in common with a state of serenity—are not repeated here day by day with unvarying regularity. Frequently soft mists sweep in from the sea, veiling the splendor of the sun, and imparting a refreshing moisture to the air. The traveler feels pleasantly braced, predisposed to contentment, and to forget any trials which may have beset him.

On a slight eminence, about a mile from shore, a site was selected for the Santa Barbara presidio. 1t was not far from a large native town called Yanonalit, after a powerful chieftain who ruled over more than thirteen rancherias. Neve took care to conciliate the great Yanonalit, hoping through his influence to gain the good will of the natives. He was successful to the extent of inducing the savages to assist in felling timber for the presidio  buildings. For this work they were paid by the Spaniards in food and clothing.

Junipero had arranged to remain in Santa Barbara pending the arrival of the friars from Mexico. But his plans were altered when he learned from Neve that the Santa Barbara mission could not be founded until the Santa Barbara presidio  was completed. As this implied a long delay, the president decided to return to Carmel in the interim and continue his mission duties there.

He accordingly sent for one of the friars administering San Juan Capistrano to look after the spiritual welfare of the soldiers, many of whom he had recently confirmed, and again took up his journey. He was happy in having founded San Buenaventura and in the prospect of adding soon another mission to his list. As he traveled northward, forgetful of his years and growing feebleness, he may have dwelt with a pleasant inward satisfaction on the work he had accomplished in this beautiful land. In their order from south to north, the missions he had founded were San Diego, San Juan Capistrano, San Gabriel, San Buenaventura, San Luis Obispo, San Antonio de Padua, San Carlos, Santa Clara, San Francisco. Four thousand neophytes were living in these establishments. Everywhere the farms were prospering. There were rich fields of wheat, maize, and barley, while fruit and vegetables were raised in abundance. Mission herds of horses, mules, and horned cattle had multiplied to 4,900 head. Of sheep, goats, and swine there were 7,000 head. New churches had been erected, buildings had been improved, fences and corrals made, irrigating works introduced. From a wilderness inhabited only by savages wellnigh the lowest in the scale of humanity, Fray Junipero had converted California into a flourishing Spanish province, where a traveler could start from San Diego on horseback, go north to San Francisco, and be assured a large part of the way of a good night's lodging with Spanish fare and hospitality, and a fresh horse with which to continue his journey.

Faithful Service to the End

Junipero arrived about the middle of June in the valley of the Carmello, at his mission San Carlos. His home-coming could not have been other than sorrowful. It was the first time in many years that the welcoming embrace of his old friend Crespi was not given him, the first time that the sight of the padre's familiar figure and benevolent face did not cheer him, as he passed, weary from his long travels on foot, through the palisade gates of his mission.

Besides his grief, another had come to him on the day of his arrival. Riding at anchor in the blue bay of Monterey was the long expected transport. Junipero's joy at this sight had changed to bitter disappointment when he learned that not a friar had come with the vessel. Instead of the six missionaries he had expected, he received letters from the guardian of San Fernando, the contents of which plunged him into deeper dejection. To a man, every friar in the college had declined to serve in California! The reason of this amazing refusal was made known to him and he learned for the first time of the new system to be inaugurated in the missions. With this system in force, the friars resolutely declined to undertake missionary labors in California.

Here then was the end of Junipero's beautiful dream. He would never see completed his bella cordona  of missions, for which he had prayed and worked unceasingly. Even the links in the chain he had already forged with so much pains, were threatened with destruction. A clause in the new reglamento  provided that in case of a missionary's death, or retirement, no one should be appointed to take his place. This was intended gradually to reduce the number of friars from two in each mission to one. So terrible a fate was this considered for the surviving friar that in his letter to Junipero, the guardian declared it would be better to abandon a mission than to subject a priest to such a life.

Sick at heart and sick in body, Junipero seems to have lost his usual clear perception of things. We find him, now, adding to the real anxieties harassing him the wholly unnecessary fear that unless he ordered the abandonment of San Buenaventura, he would be guilty of disobeying his superior.

He wrote to the friars of the missions nearest to his own and requested them to hasten to San Carlos for a conference. In response to his letter four friars came. Among them was Palou. The presence of this intimate friend was a comfort to Junipero; it gave him that support and loving human sympathy for which the feeble old man had, all unconsciously to himself, perhaps, been pining. He now read to the assembled missionaries the guardian's letter. Then he asked, must San Buenaventura be abandoned? And if not, will the instructions contained in the letter be complied with?

The missionaries, as may be supposed, did not find the question a difficult one to answer. The president was assured that San Buenaventura might continue to exist without the least infringement of the orders he had received. `Thus some of the soreness of his soul was relieved. To have abandoned a mission already established would have been to Junipero an almost insupportable sorrow.

These matters being settled, the friars returned to their several missions, leaving their president consoled.

In the autumn Junipero learned of the return of his old enemy, Don Pedro Fages, as governor of the province. It appears that in September Governor Neve had joined Fages, for the purpose of entering upon a campaign against the Yumas. Neve did not return to California. He received the appointment of Inspector General of the Provincial Internas, while Fages succeeded him as governor of California. The events connected with the Indian campaign cannot be related here, except to state briefly that it was in every respect a complete failure. The Yumas were not subjugated; the chieftains and their warriors were not captured; the Indians remained independent and hostile, and neither pueblo nor mission was again established on the Colorado, while traveling by that route became more dangerous than ever before.

When Fages entered upon his new duties as governor, he was instructed to continue the policy which Neve had inaugurated. But before long it became evident to the home authorities that affairs were not flourishing in California. The persistent refusal of the guardian to permit the founding of new missions and the fact that only with such aid could the savages be peacefully controlled, compelled, after a certain lapse of time, a restoration of the old system. This was a distinct triumph for the friars. But Junipero's consolation was small. He still was unable to continue his chain of missions for want of missionaries. At San Fernando College the friars numbered scarcely more than eighteen and only two missionaries could be spared for California, until longed-for reinforcements arrived from Spain.

Junipero dared not hope that he would live to welcome these friars from the mother country. Since his return from the south he had been growing continually weaker. To the old trouble in his leg was added a painful affliction in his chest, which caused him intense suffering, and brought on spasms of suffocation. This infirmity was due to those "acts of contrition" it had long been his custom to impose upon himself, in which he beat, burned, and bruised his chest without mercy.

Though weak and suffering he refused to rest. By the end of a year his excessive toil had brought on an acute and most grievous attack. He was not expected to live. But the arrival of the two friars from Mexico seemed to infuse new vitality into his bruised and suffering body. He now had someone to substitute for him at San Carlos, when he again went abroad to administer confirmation.

He began immediately to make preparations for leaving. Nothing could check him, not his own feebleness, not the earnest remonstrances of the friars. He felt that he would never be stronger, that on the contrary, his malady would steadily grow worse and it behooved him to make all possible haste, for his license to confirm would soon expire. The bull of Clement XIV. granting Junipero his power was void after July 16, 1784. It was considered improbable that it would be renewed. He had therefore but one year remaining in which he could administer confirmation. The sick old man therefore, was determined not to defer a single visit.

Before setting out for the southern mission he wrote to Palou. From this letter it is evident that he himself did not expect to survive the fatigue of his journey, for after giving his friend certain instructions, he concludes with these words: "All this I tell you because my return may be but a letter, for I find myself so much worse in health. Commend me to God."

With a fresh breeze the ship sped swiftly out to sea. She rounded Point Pinos, the rocky, pine-covered termination of the Santa Lucia Mountains, which, extending out into the sea, formed the bulwark of the Bay of Monterey, and sailed southward. The weather continued propitious. After a comparatively short voyage, for those days, the travelers saw the low, rounded hills of San Diego. It was the time of year when this part of California presents a uniform picture of yellow and brown; when the grasses and wild oats are parched and withered by the heat of rainless summer days. On the clean sandy beach an immense quantity of kelp added to the brown and yellow effect of the scene.

When the friar landed, he went immediately to the "mother mission," as the Spaniards called the San Diego establishment, and regardless of fatigue, or intense heat, began his work of confirming neophytes. Then, without resting, he started on his overland journey on foot, northward, intent only upon reaching each mission in order that he might give the sacrament to every new convert, each of whom he conceived as pining for this consolation. From San Juan Capistrano he passed on to San Gabriel. He found the missions prospering. Herds of cattle could be seen grazing on the tall grasses, wild oats, and California clover. Along the trail, now broadened into a highroad, were clumps of prickly pear, rising sometimes to the height of ten feet, which later would bear a beautiful purple fruit, exceedingly refreshing to the thirsty traveler. Here also were dense fields of wild mustard, growing to a great height, their yellow feathery tops quivering in the hot, still air.

As Junipero approached San Gabriel, he saw the large, flourishing fields of grain, the orchards, the vegetable gardens, and the busy neophytes in their midst. San Gabriel was one of the richest missions of California. The soil and climate were particularly favorable to the culture of grapes, and later this fruit became the most important production of the mission, over 100,000 vines being grown in the vineyards.

These vines bear enormous bunches of fruit, weighing from one to three pounds and more. Several varieties are cultivated but all of them are said to have been brought by the Padres from France and Spain. * * * There are fine clumps of palm trees near the Mission, and three grand vineyards, containing nearly two hundred thousand stocks. There are also four superb orchards and kitchen gardens and an immense garden of olives and another containing four hundred orange trees. The vineyards, gardens and orchards were surrounded by an impenetrable hedge of prickly pear, or Barbary figs. [Duflot de Mofras, Exploration du Territore de l'Oregon, Des Californies et de la Mer Vermeille, I. p. 350]

At the time of Junipero's last visit, San Gabriel, while prosperous, had not reached its period of greatest opulence. While he was painfully limping from mission to mission, confirming neophytes and baptizing Indians, Governor Fages was following leisurely in his wake, creating wherever he passed a certain pleasurable excitement, for he was accompanied by his young wife, Dona Eulalia de Callis, and his little son, Pedrito. The senor governor had with difficulty prevailed upon his lady to come to California. Dona Eulalia had not an adventurous spirit, moreover her honeymoon was past, and her interpretation of wifely duty did not include following her husband into the wilderness, exiling herself in a land leagues upon leagues away from Spanish civilization, where her only diversion would be riding through dark forests or roaming over pine shadowed cliffs by the sea. But after meeting General Neve in Sonora and being assured by him that California was no longer a "land of barbarism," that it was on the contrary, a delightful place in which to live, she yielded to her husband's entreaties to join him in the new province. Accordingly they journeyed to Loreto, where the happy Don Pedro met her and together they traveled up to Alta California. Writes the governor to his wife's mother:

The journey was delightful. Everywhere along the route padres, Dominicos and Fernandinos, troops, settlers and even Indians vied with each other in showering attentions upon the travelers. The Senora Gobernadora is the Benjamin of all who know her; she is getting on famously, and Pedrito is like an angel, so rest assured, for we live here like princes. Dona Eulalia, a native of Catalonia, like her husband, belonged apparently to a family of considerable position and influence, a fact which I suspect had something to do with Don Pedro's rapid promotion and good fortune at court. She was the first woman of her quality who ever honored California with a visit. It is related that on arrival she was shocked, and at the same time touched with pity, at the sight of so many naked Indians, and forthwith she began to distribute with free hand her own garments and those of her husband. She was induced to suspend temporarily her benevolence in this direction by a warning that she might have to go naked herself, since women's clothing could not be obtained in the country. Nevertheless, after a long residence at Monterey she left a reputation for her charities and kindness to the poor and the sick. [Bancroft, History of California, I. p. 390]

Whether Junipero personally welcomed Fages and the young "Senorita Gobernadora," on their arrival in Monterey, is doubtful, for the vital spark within him was nearly out. His license to confirm had expired on the sixteenth of July. When that day dawned Junipero had administered the sacrament to 5,036 persons and had baptized 5,800 Indians. His work was done. He was ready to die. The same day on which his license expired the yearly transport anchored in the harbor of Monterey. It had always been Junipero's custom to announce the arrival of this vessel to the missionaries and to forward to them the letters and packages they had received. He did so on this occasion, adding to every friar's mail a letter from, himself in which he bade them an eternal farewell. In these letters "seemed distilled drop by drop the very soul of the dying man."

[Illustration] from Junipero Serra by A. H. Fitch


The missionaries of San Antonio and San Luis were sufficiently near to come to him without great effort, and this he begged them to do that he might give them his farewell blessing. His letter to Palou was carried on the transport which sailed to San Francisco.

Promptly on receiving this message from his dying friend Palou left his mission and traveled hurriedly to San Carlos, where he arrived ten days before Junipero's soul took flight from his tired body. He found his old friend very weak and suffering intense pain in his chest. Towards evening he rallied and went to vespers. He conducted the services himself and concluded with singing a hymn in "celebration of the assumption of the Virgin."

As Palou listened to his rich, sonorous voice, in which no trace of weakness was apparent, his own hopes revived again. Turning to an old soldier who had known Junipero since the year 1769, he said to him: "The Padre President, it seems to me, is not so ill." The man, however, knew better. "Do not let yourself be deceived, father," he returned kindly, but with a conviction which dashed Palou's hopes, "he is very ill, but when this blessed padre prays or sings he always appears well; nevertheless he is going to die."

Five days before the faithful padre's death, the transport returned from San Francisco and dropped anchor in the bay. It was probably due to a hurried summons from Palou that the ship's surgeon passed immediately over to Carmel to see Junipero. The surgeon decided it was necessary to cauterize the sore chest. To this treatment the suffering old man consented.

When St. Francis was dying he also submitted to the application of the white-hot iron. There was however a difference in the manner in which these two remarkable men bore the cruel ordeal. Of St. Francis we read:

When the poor patient saw them bring in the brazier and the instruments, he had a moment of terror; but immediately making the sign of the cross over the glowing iron, "Brother fire," he said, "you are beautiful above all creatures; be favorable to me in this hour; you know how much I have always loved you; be then courteous today." [Sabatier's Life of St. Francis, p. 312]

Junipero, on the contrary, showed no fear, made no sign. He remained calmly standing while his ulcerated chest was burnt. He bore himself with a fortitude almost superhuman; not a muscle of his face quivered, not a sound escaped his lips.* The only result of this treatment, said Palou pityingly, was to afflict more that weary body.

No sooner was the chest burnt than Junipero went diligently to work cutting out garments for his neophytes from bolts of cloth which had arrived on the transport. So unmindful was he of his pain that we find him laughing cheerfully with Palou over some tale of the past. It had been brought to mind by the entrance into their apartment of an old Indian woman, more than eighty years of age. Before she left, Junipero, with his usual kind-heartedness, desired to give her a last token from himself. He had little left to give. Stepping into his cell, he returned with the blanket from his bed. His visitor was old; the blanket would help to keep her warm.

When the woman, well pleased with her gift, had gone, Palou said with a smile: "Are you paying her for the chickens?"

Junipero laughed and replied, "Yes."

It appears that years before, when San Carlos was first founded, Junipero had in his mission a solitary hen with her brood of chickens. This little feathered family the friar tended carefully, seeing in them many future lively cacklers, who would lay eggs and furnish food for his mission. But Fate decreed otherwise. An Indian woman with a palate apparently formed for delicacies, even those unknown to her—for chickens were never seen in California until the Spaniard's advent—ordered her small son to kill the entire brood, together with the mother hen. The culprits then enjoyed their feast. But the loss to Junipero's mission was great. The Indian who had killed and eaten the chickens was now cheerfully hobbling off with the friar's blanket.*

In the meantime the missionaries from San Antonio and San Luis failed to arrive. Their absence was a disappointment to Junipero. He told Palou that he feared his letters had not reached them. This proved to be true, for Palou, after making inquiries at the presidio, was informed that the president's letters had been "forgotten "and were still unforwarded. A courier was immediately dispatched to the two friars, bearing an urgent request from Palou to hasten to San Carlos; but the summons was too late.

The day before his death, Junipero expressed a wish to receive the viaticum—the sacrament administered to the dying. He announced his intention of going to the church for this purpose. In vain Palou urged him not to make the painful effort.

"I will adorn your cell as attractively as possible for the visit of His Divine Majesty," he said. But the dying man replied: "I desire to go to church. Since I am still able to walk, there is no reason why the Master should come here"—faith and veneration beautiful and touching.

When Junipero went to church that morning, it was as if he were officiating at his own obsequies. The commandant and soldiers from the presidio  came over to San Carlos to attend the solemn ceremony, and all the mission neophytes were present. Palou describes the scene.

He [Junipero] left the Sacristy attired in the vestments and went to the Altar. When he had prepared the incense for the holy office, this zealous Servant of God intoned the verse Tantum ergo Sacramentum. Though his eyes were filled with tears his voice was as strong and sonorous as when he was in health. He administered to himself, the sacred viaticum, with all the ceremonials of the ritual, and when he concluded the pious feast, which under such circumstances I have never before witnessed, he remained in the same posture on his knees giving thanks to the Master. He then returned to his cell, accompanied by all the people. Many were weeping, some because the service had affected them, others because of the pain and sorrow they felt that soon they would be without their beloved Padre. He remained alone in his cell, seated upon the chair by the table, in spiritual meditation. Seeing him thus I did not allow anyone to enter and disturb him. [Palou, Vida, pp. 271, 272]

It was well that Palou thus protected him, or the dying man would have been disturbed and in a manner that might have tried the fortitude of the most pious.

A well-meaning, but blundering carpenter attempted to enter the cell to ask the dying man how he would like his coffin fashioned. Palou, suppressing his tears, told him to make it as he had made Padre Crespi's.

Night fell. Silently a little flock of neophytes crept into the cell; they wished to be with their friend and protector to the end.

Junipero did not sleep, nor did he seek his couch. Part of the weary night he spent upon his knees, supporting his poor chest against the boards of his bed, a position which somewhat alleviated the fearful pain which tortured him.

We have another pathetic picture of him, lying upon the floor, his head resting in the arms of a devoted neophyte. The long night passed. Dawn broke, and still the worn, pain-racked body refused to die. Slowly the hours flowed by, while friars and neophytes watched.

As the morning advanced, the sufferer was cheered by the unexpected visit of two friends who knew him well. They were officers of the navy whose ship had arrived in the harbor of Monterey. Hearing of Fray Junipero's illness, they had hastened over to Carmel. Their coming seemed to reanimate the dying man. He rose and embraced them, greeting them with many expressions of pleasure, and ordered the mission bells to be rung in honor of their visit. Then seating himself again, he immediately asked concerning their recent voyage to Peru. He displayed a lively interest in the accounts they gave of their cruise. It was one of Junipero's charms, one of the many striking traits of his character, that he never failed to take a keen and sympathetic interest in others and this he did even now, when his eager spirit was preparing to take its lonely flight into eternity. Those about him, seeing him so animated, began again to hope. But Junipero, after hearing all the officers had to relate, said to them:

"And now, senors, I must give thanks that though so long, a time has passed since we last saw one another and though you have been so far away on your voyages, you have yet arrived in time to throw a little earth upon my grave." [Palou, Vida, p. 274]

Then, turning to Palou, he gave for the first and only time instructions concerning his burial.

"Let me be laid in the church by the side of Fray Juan Crespi; afterwards when the new stone church is built, they can put me where they will."

For a time profound silence reigned in the cell. Then happened a terrible thing. Junipero, still seated in his chair, suddenly called aloud in a voice of anguish, "I am afraid! I am afraid!" Turning his terror-stricken eyes on Palou he begged him to read the Recomendacion del alma. When the reading was over peace returned to the heart of Junipero.

"Thank God, thank God," he said, "now I am no longer afraid," and taking his diurno  he began to pray. It was now past high noon. For thirty-two hours Junipero had not slept or reclined upon his bed; he had endured incessant pain and had suffered fearful mental anguish, and still the vital spark within him continued to burn, now fitfully flaring into brilliant flame, now flickering so faintly it scarce could be discerned.

"Now I will sleep," he said and walked to his bed, formed of two rough planks fastened together. Without removing his monk's habit he lay down, placed his large wooden cross on his arms and peacefully closed his eyes to the world.

So died Fray Junipero Serra, in the seventy-first year of his age.

When the neophytes heard that their old padre was dead, they scattered into the woods and fields to gather for him the wild flowers he loved so well. This tribute of affection would have pleased Junipero more, could he have known of it, than all the honors bestowed upon him at his funeral. He had never sought or desired tokens of honor in his life-time; he had more than once evaded them. The motto of the Brothers Minor applied to him with equal truth as it did to St. Francis, "But God for-bid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."

It was, however, fitting that so brave a soldier of the Cross should be accorded the honors given to a general of the army. The guns of the ship in the harbor were fired at half hour intervals during the day, and their solemn booming was answered by the presidio  artillery and the dull tolling of the mission bells.

Officers, soldiers, mariners, and Indians attended the funeral services, which were conducted with great pomp and ceremony, and repeated again on the seventh day after his burial.

Little more remains to be said of Fray Junipero. The early history of California is necessarily that of Junipero; he was the heart and soul of the conquest; whatever was done to further the cause of civilization in California during his life, was done by him. He had brought into existence nine missions, four presidios  and two pueblos.

The resources of his own internal force accomplished for California what the combined efforts of his contemporaries in the province could not have succeeded in accomplishing. He contended with official blunders and official ignorance, with narrow pride, with petty jealousies of rival authorities, with disheartening failures, and he contended successfully.

[Illustration] from Junipero Serra by A. H. Fitch


It has been discerningly said that the great feature of the character of Hernando Cortes was constancy of purpose, "a constancy not to be daunted by dangers nor baffled by disappointment, nor wearied out by impediments and delays." What was true of the great warlike conqueror of Mexico was equally true of the peaceful conqueror of California. Nor is it to be forgotten that his first thought was always for the savages, whose fate affected him more nearly than his own. No man ever lived who strove harder to attain spiritual perfection than Fray Junipero Serra. He never spoke ill of anyone. He hated lies and all manner of hypocrisies. Neither in his youth nor manhood did he succumb to the temptations to which he, like other men, was exposed. He was full of tenderness, of genuine simplicity, of sincerity. If in enforcing the rules of the church, in punishing moral laxity, he was often severe, he was none the less a gentle, kind man, quick to note the good traits in others as he was quick to admit faults in himself, which may be said to be the only time he ever bestowed a thought upon himself. He was by nature neither hardy nor adventurous, possessing little, if any, of that passion for travel, that burning desire to visit strange lands, which has distinguished the labors of many a good and zealous missionary. He was a student, eminently fitted both by nature and inclination to remain in the peaceful shelter of his convent, absorbed in theological and dogmatic studies, preaching on Sundays and fete days to the people of the town. Yet out of an unutterable compassion for his fellowmen, he deliberately left this peaceful life he loved to travel many thousands of miles across seas and unknown lands, to endure hardships and unceasing toil.

Second only to his spiritual grandeur, was his intellectual greatness. Modest monk as he was, he was yet a born leader of men. Had nature framed him for a soldier instead of a friar, his men would have followed him into battle as devotedly as his loyal brethren followed him into exile in strange lands.

Had he been civil governor instead of president of an order only, his executive ability would have been known in high places. As it was, being but a simple friar, he was California's greatest pioneer, the first civilizer of our western coast.