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

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.