Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

California Romantic and Resourceful by John F. Davis

Adobe PDF icon
California Romantic and Resourceful by John F. Davis - Full Text Free Book
File size: 0.1 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the US
unless a copyright notice is included. Thus, we usually do not
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

The "legal small print" and other information about this book
may now be found at the end of this file. Please read this
important information, as it gives you specific rights and
tells you about restrictions in how the file may be used.

This etext was produced by David Schwan .

California Romantic and Resourceful

A plea for the Collection Preservation and Diffusion of Information
Relating to Pacific Coast History

By John F. Davis

The Californian loves his state because his state loves him. He returns
her love with a fierce affection that to men who do not know California
is always a surprise. - David Starr Jordan in " California and the

As we transmit our institutions, so we shall transmit our blood and our
names to future ages and populations. What altitudes shall throng these
shores, what cities shall gem the borders of the sea! Here all peoples
and all tongues shall meet. Here shall be a more perfect civilization, a
more thorough intellectual development, a firmer faith, a more reverent
worship. Perhaps, as we look back to the struggle of an earlier age, and
mark the steps of our ancestors in the career we have traced, some
thoughtful man of letters in ages yet to come may bring light the
history of this shore or of this day. I am sure, Ludlow citizens, that
whoever shall hereafter read it will perceive that our pride and joy are
dimmed by no stain of selfishness. Our pride is for humanity; our joy is
for the world; and amid all the wonders of past achievement and all the
splendors of present success, we turn with swelling hearts to gaze into
the boundless future, with the earnest conviction that will develop a
universal brotherhood of man.

- E. D. Baker, Atlantic Cable Address.


Charles Stetson Wheeler

An Able Advocate
A Good Citizen, A Devoted Husband and Father
A Loyal Friend
This Little Book is
Affectionately Dedicated


This plea is an arrow shot into the air. It is the result of an address
which I made at Colton Hall, in Monterey, upon the celebration of
Admission Day, 1908, and another which I made at a luncheon meeting of
the Commonwealth Club, at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco, on April 12,
1913. These addresses have been amplified and revised, and certain
statistics contained in them have been brought down to the end of 1913.
In this form they go forth to a larger audience, in the earnest hope
that they may meet a kind reception, and somewhere find a generous

The subject of Pacific Coast history is one of surpassing interest to
Californians. Some fine additions to our store of knowledge have been
made of late years, notably the treatise of Zoeth S. Eldredge on "The
Beginnings of San Francisco," published by the author, in San Francisco,
in 1912; the treatise of Irving Berdine Richman on "California under
Spain and Mexico, 1535-1847," published by the Houghton Mifflin Company,
of Boston and New York, in 1911; the warm appreciation of E. D. Baker,
by Elijah R. Kennedy, entitled "The Contest for California in 1861,"
published by the Houghton Mifflin Company, in Boston and New York, in
1912; the monumental work on "Missions and Missionaries of California,"
by Fr. Zephyrin Engelhardt, published by the James H. Barry Company, of
San Francisco, 1908-1913, and the "Guide to Materials for the History of
the United States in the Principal Archives of Mexico," by Herbert E.
Bolton, Ph. D., Professor of American History in the University of
California, the publication of which by the Carnegie Institution of
Washington, at Washington, D. C., in 1913, is an event of epochal
historical importance. All of these works and the recent activities in
Spain of Charles E. Chapman, the Traveling Fellow of the University of
California, the publications of the Academy of Pacific Coast History, at
Berkeley, edited by F. J. Teggart, and the forthcoming publication at
San Francisco of "A Bibliography of California and the Pacific West," by
Robert Ernest Cowan, only emphasize the importance of original research
work in Pacific Coast history, and the necessity for prompt action to
preserve the remaining sources of its romantic and inspiring story.

John F. Davis.

San Francisco, July 1, 1914.

Table of Contents

California Romantic and Resourceful

The Love-Story of Concha Argüello

Concepción Argüello (Bret Harte)

List of Illustrations

Discovery of San Francisco Bay by Portolá

Carmel Mission

Sutter's Mill at Coloma

Old Colton Hall and Jail, Monterey

Commodore Sloat's General Order

Comandante's Residence, San Francisco

Baptismal Record of Concepción Argüello

California Romantic and Resourceful

One of the most important acts of the Grand Parlor of the Native Sons of
the Golden West which met at Lake Tahoe in 1910 was the appropriation of
approximately fifteen hundred dollars for the creation of a traveling
fellowship in Pacific Coast history at the State University. In
pursuance of the resolution adopted, a committee of five was appointed
by the head of the order to confer with the authorities of the
university in the matter of this fellowship. The university authorities
were duly notified, both of the appropriation for the creation of the
fellowship and of the appointment of the committee, and the plan was put
into practical operation. In 1911 this action was reaffirmed, and a
resident fellowship was also created, making an appropriation of three
thousand dollars, which has been repeated each year since. Henry Morse
Stephens, Sather Professor of History, and Herbert E. Bolton, Professor
of American History, and their able assistants in the history department
of the university have hailed with delight this public-spirited movement
on the part of that organization.

The object and design of these fellowships is to aid in the collection,
preservation and publication of information and material relating to the
history of the Pacific Coast. Archives at Querétaro and Mexico City, in
Mexico, at Seville, Simancas and Madrid, in Spain, and in Paris, London
and St. Petersburg are veritable treasure mines of information
concerning our early Pacific Coast history, and the correspondence of
many an old family and the living memory of many an individual pioneer
can still furnish priceless records of a later period. Professor
Stephens has elaborated a practical scheme for making available all
these sources of historical information through the providence of these
fellowships, as far as they reach.

The perpetuation of these traditions, the preservation of this history,
is of the highest importance. Five years ago, at Monterey, upon the
celebration of the anniversary of Admission Day, I took occasion to urge
this view, and I have not ceased to urge it ever since. If we take any
pride in our State, if the tendrils of affection sink into the soil
where our fathers wrought, and where we ourselves abide and shall leave
sons and daughters after us, if we know and feel any appreciation of
local color, or take any interest in the drama of life that is being
enacted on these Western shores, then the preservation of every shred of
it is of vital importance to us - at least as Californians.

The early history of this coast came as an offshoot of a civilization
whose antiquity was already respectable. "A hundred years before John
Smith saw the spot on which was planted Jamestown," says Hubert H.
Bancroft, "thousands from Spain had crossed the high seas, achieving
mighty conquests, seizing large portions of the two Americas and placing
under tribute their peoples."

The past of California possesses a wealth of romantic interest, a
variety of contrast, a novelty of resourcefulness and an intrinsic
importance that enthralls the imagination. I shall not attempt to speak
of the hardship and high endeavor of the splendid band of navigators,
beginning with Cabrillo in 1542, who discovered, explored and reported
on its bays, outlets, rivers and coast line; whose exploits were as
heroic as anything accomplished by the Norsemen in Iceland, or the
circumnavigators of the Cape of Good Hope. I do not desire to picture
the decades of the pastoral life of the hacienda and its broad acres,
that culminated in "the splendid idle forties." I do not intend to
recall the miniature struggles of Church and State, the many political
controversies of the Mexican regime, or the play of plot and counterplot
that made up so much of its history "before the Gringo came." I shall not
try to tell the story of the discovery of gold and its world-thrilling
incidents, nor of the hardships and courage of the emigrant trail, nor
of the importance of the mission of the Pathfinder, and the excitement
of the conquest, each in itself an experience that full to the brim.

Let me rather call attention to three incidents of our history, ignoring
all the rest, to enforce the point of its uniqueness, its variety, its
novelty, its importance, as entitling it to its proper proportionate
place in the history of the nation.

And first of all, the story of the missions. The story of the missions
is the history of the beginning of the colonization of California. The
Spanish Government was desirous of providing its ships, on the return
trip from Manila, with good harbors of supply and repairs, and was also
desirous of promoting a settlement of the north as a safeguard against
possible Russian aggression. The Franciscans, upon the expulsion of the
Jesuits in 1767, had taken charge of the missions, and, in their zeal
for the conversion of the Indians, seconded the plans of the government.

"The official purpose here, as in older mission undertakings," says Dr.
Josiah Royce, "was a union of physical and spiritual conquest, soldiers
under a military governor co-operating to this end with missionaries and
mission establishments. The natives were to be overcome by arms in so
far as they might resist the conquerors, were to be attracted to the
missions by peaceable measures in so far as might prove possible, were
to be instructed in the faith, and were to be kept for the present under
the paternal rule of the clergy, until such time as they might be ready
for a free life as Christian subjects. Meanwhile, Spanish colonists were
to be brought to the new land as circumstances might determine, and, to
these, allotments of land were to be made. No grants of lands, in a
legal sense, were made or promised to the mission establishments, whose
position was to be merely that of spiritual institutions, intrusted with
the education of neophytes, and with the care of the property that
should be given or hereafter produced for the purpose. On the other
hand, if the government tended to regard the missions as purely
subsidiary to its purpose, the outgoing missionaries to this strange
land were so much the more certain to be quite uncorrupted by worldly
ambitions, by a hope of acquiring wealth, or by any intention to found a
powerful ecclesiastical government in the new colony. They went to save
souls, and their motive was as single as it was worthy of reverence. In
the sequel, the more successful missions of Upper California became, for
a time, very wealthy; but this was only by virtue of the gifts of nature
and of the devoted labors of the padres."

Such a scheme of human effort is so unique, and so in contradiction to
much that obtains today, that it seems like a narrative from another
world. Fortunately, the annals of these missions, which ultimately
extended from San Diego to beyond Sonoma - stepping-stones of
civilization on this coast - are complete, and their simple
disinterestedness and directness sound like a tale from Arcady. They
were signally successful because those who conducted them were true to
the trustee-ship of their lives. They cannot be held responsible if they
were unable in a single generation to eradicate in the Indian the
ingrained heredity of shiftlessness of all the generations that had gone
before. It is a source of high satisfaction that there was on the part
of the padres no record of overreaching the simple native, no failure to
respect what rights they claimed, no carnage and bloodshed, that have so
often attended expeditions sent nominally for civilization, but really
for conquest. Here, at least, was one record of missionary endeavor that
came to full fruition and flower, and knew no fear or despair, until it
attracted the attention of the ruthless rapacity and greed of the
Mexican governmental authority crouching behind the project of
secularization. The enforced withdrawal of the paternal hand before the
Indian had learned to stand and walk alone, coupled in some sections
with the dread scourge of pestilential epidemic, wrought dispersion,
decimation and destruction. If, however, the teeming acres are now
otherwise tilled, and if the herds of cattle have passed away and the
communal life is gone forever, the record of what was accomplished in
those pastoral days has linked the name of California with a new and
imperishable architecture, and has immortalized the name of Junípero
Serra[1] The pathetic ruin at Carmel is a shattered monument above a
grave that will become a world's shrine of pilgrimage in honor of one of
humanity's heroes. The patient soul that here laid down its burden will
not be forgotten. The memory of the brave heart that was here consumed
with love for mankind will live through the ages. And, in a sense, the
work of these missions is not dead - their very ruins still preach the
lesson of service and of sacrifice. As the fishermen off the coast of
Brittany tell the legend that at the evening hour, as their boats pass
over the vanished Atlantis, they can still hear the sounds of its
activity at the bottom of the sea, so every Californian, as he turns the
pages of the early history of his State, feels at times that he can hear
the echo of the Angelus bells of the missions, and amid the din of the
money-madness of these latter days, can find a response in "the better
angels of his nature."

In swift contrast to this idyllic scene, which is shared with us by few
other sections of this country, stands the history of a period where for
nearly two years this State was without authority of American civil law,
and where, in practice, the only authority was such as sprang from the
instinct of self-preservation. No more interesting phase of history in
America can be presented than that which arose in California immediately
after the discovery of gold, with reference to titles upon the public
domain. James W. Marshall made the discovery of gold in the race of a
small mill at Coloma, in the latter part of January, 1848. Thereupon
took place an incident of history which demonstrated that Jason and his
companions were not the only Argonauts who ever made a voyage to unknown
shores in search of a golden fleece. The first news of the discovery
almost depopulated the towns and ranches of California, and even
affected the discipline of the small army of occupation. The first
winter brought thousands of Oregonians, Mexicans and Chilenos. The
extraordinary reports that reached the East were at first disbelieved,
but when the private letters of army officers and men in authority were
published, an indescribable gold fever took possession of the nation
east of the Alleghanies. All the energetic and daring, all the
physically sound of all ages, seemed bent on reaching the new El Dorado.
"The old Gothic instinct of invasion seemed to survive and thrill in the
fiber of our people," and the camps and gulches and mines of California
witnessed a social and political phenomenon unique in the history of the
world - the spirit and romance of which have been immortalized in the
pages of Bret Harte.

Before 1850 the population of California had risen from 15,000, as it
was in 1847[2], to 100,000, and the average weekly increase for six
weeks thereafter was 50,000. The novelty of this situation produced in
many minds the most marvelous development. "Every glance westward was
met by a new ray of intelligence; every drawn breath of western air
brought inspiration; every step taken was over an unknown field; every
experiment, every thought, every aspiration and act were original and

At the time of Marshall's discovery, the United States was still at war
with Mexico, its sovereignty over the soil of California not being
recognized by the latter. The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was not signed
until February 2d, and the ratified copies thereof not exchanged at
Querétaro till May 30, 1848. On the 12th of February, 1848, ten days
after the signing of the treaty of peace and about three weeks after the
discovery of gold at Coloma, Colonel Mason did the pioneers a signal
service by issuing, as Governor, the proclamation concerning the mines,
which at the time was taken as a finality and certainty as to the status
of mining titles in their international aspect. "From and after this
date," the proclamation read, "the Mexican laws and customs now
prevailing in California relative to the denouncement of mines are
hereby abolished." Although, as the law was fourteen years afterwards
expounded by the United States Supreme Court, the act was unnecessary as
a precautionary measure[3] still the practical result of the timeliness
of the proclamation was to prevent attempts to found private titles to
the new discovery of gold on any customs or laws of Mexico.

Meantime, California was governed by military authority, - was treated
as if it were merely a military outpost, away out somewhere west of the
"Great American Desert." Except an act to provide for the deliveries and
taking of mails at certain points on the coast, and a resolution
authorizing the furnishing of arms and ammunition to certain immigrants,
no Federal act was passed with reference to California in any relation;
in no act of Congress was California even mentioned after its
annexation, until the act of March 3, 1849, extending the revenue laws
of the United States "over the territory and waters of Upper California,
and to create certain collection districts therein." This act of March
3, 1849, not only did not extend the general laws of the United States
over California, but did not even create a local tribunal for its
enforcement, providing that the District Court of Louisiana and the
Supreme Court of Oregon should be courts of original jurisdiction to
take cognizance of all violations of its provisions. Not even the act of
September 9, 1850, admitting California into the Union, extended the
general laws of the United States over the State by express provision.
Not until the act of September 26, 1850, establishing a District Court
in the State, was it enacted by Congress "that all the laws of the
United States which are not locally inapplicable shall have the same
force and effect within the said State of California as elsewhere in the
United States[4]."

Though no general Federal laws were extended by Congress over the later
acquisitions from Mexico for more than two years after the end of the
war, the paramount title to the public lands had vested in the Federal
Government by virtue of the provisions of the treaty of peace; the
public land itself had become part of the public domain of the United
States. The army of occupation, however, offered no opposition to the
invading army of prospectors. The miners were, in 1849, twenty years
ahead of the railroad and the electric telegraph. The telephone had not
yet been invented. In the parlance of the times, the prospectors "had
the drop" on the army. In Colonel Mason's unique report of the situation
that confronted him, discretion waited upon valor. "The entire gold
district," he wrote to the Government at Washington, "with few
exceptions of grants made some years ago by the Mexican authorities, is
on land belonging to the United States. It was a matter of serious
reflection with me how I could secure to the Government certain rents or
fees for the privilege of procuring this gold; but upon considering the
large extent of the country, the character of the people engaged, and
the small scattered force at my command, I am resolved not to interfere,
but permit all to work freely." It is not recorded whether the resolute
colonel was conscious of the humor of his resolution. This early
suggestion of conservation was, under the circumstances, manifestly

The Supreme Court of the United States, in commenting on the singular
situation in which Colonel Mason found himself, clearly and forcefully
states his predicament. "His position," says that Court, "was unlike
anything that had preceded it in the history of our country . . . . It
was not without its difficulties, both as regards the principle upon
which he should act, and the actual state of affairs in California. He
knew that the Mexican inhabitants of it had been remitted by the treaty
of peace to those municipal laws and usages which prevailed among them
before the territory had been ceded to the United States, but that a
state of things and population had grown up during the war, and after
the treaty of peace, which made some other authority necessary to
maintain the rights of the ceded inhabitants and of immigrants, from
misrule and violence. He may not have comprehended fully the principle
applicable to what he might rightly do in such a case, but he felt
rightly and acted accordingly. He determined, in the absence of all
instruction, to maintain the existing government. The territory had been
ceded as a conquest, and was to be preserved and governed as such until
the sovereignty to which it had passed had legislated for it. That
sovereignty was the United States, under the Constitution, by which
power had been given to Congress to dispose of and make all needful
rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property
belonging to the United States, with the power also to admit new states
into this Union, with only such limitations as are expressed in the
section in which this power is given. The government, of which Colonel
Mason was the executive, had its origin in the lawful exercise of a
belligerent right over a conquered territory. It had been instituted
during the war by the command of the President of the United States. It
was the government when the territory was ceded as a conquest, and it
did not cease, as a matter of course, or as a necessary consequence of
the restoration of peace. The President might have dissolved it by
withdrawing the army and navy officers who administered it, but he did
not do so. Congress could have put an end to it, but that was not done.
The right inference from the inaction of both is, that it was meant to
be continued until it had been legislatively changed. No presumption of
a contrary intention can be made. Whatever may have been the causes of
delay, it must be presumed that the delay was consistent with the true
policy of the Government[5]."

This guess, being the last guess, must now be taken as authoritative.

The prospectors and miners were, then, in the start, simply trespassers
upon the public lands as against the Government of the United States,
with no laws to guide, restrain or protect them, and with nothing to
fear from the military authorities. They were equal to the occasion. The
instinct of organization was a part of their heredity. Professor Macy,
in a treatise issued by Johns Hopkins University, once wrote: "It has
been said that if three Americans meet to talk over an item of business,
the first thing they do is to organize."

"Finding themselves far from the legal traditions and restraints of the
settled East," said the report of the Public Land Commission of 1880,
"in a pathless wilderness, under the feverish excitement of an industry
as swift and full of chance as the throwing of dice, the adventurers of
1849 spontaneously instituted neighborhood or district codes of
regulation, which were simply meant to define and protect a brief
possessory ownership. The ravines and river bars which held the placer
gold were valueless for settlement or home-making, but were splendid
stakes to hold for a few short seasons and gamble with nature for wealth
or ruin.

"In the absence of State and Federal laws competent to meet the novel
industry, and with the inbred respect for equitable adjustments of
rights between man and man, the miners sought only to secure equitable
rights and protection from robbery by a simple agreement as to the
maximum size of a surface claim, trusting, with a well-founded
confidence, that no machinery was necessary to enforce their regulations
other than the swift, rough blows of public opinion. The gold-seekers
were not long in realizing that the source of the dust which had worked
its way into the sands and bars, and distributed its precious particles
over the bedrocks of rivers was derived from solid quartz veins, which
were thin sheets of mineral material inclosed in the foundation rocks of
the country. Still in advance of any enactments by legislature or
Congress, the common sense of the miners, which had proved strong enough
to govern with wisdom the ownership of placer mines, rose to meet the
question of lode claims and sheet-like veins of quartz, and provided
that a claim should consist of a certain horizontal block of the vein,
however it might run, but extending indefinitely downward, with a strip
of surface on, or embracing the vein's outcrop, for the placing of
necessary machinery and buildings. Under this theory, the lode was the
property, and the surface became a mere easement.

"This early California theory of a mining claim, consisting of a certain
number of running feet of vein, with a strip of land covering the
surface length of the claim, is, the obvious foundation for the Federal
legislation and present system of public disposition and private
ownership of the mineral lands west of the Missouri River. Contrasted
with this is the mode of disposition of mineral-bearing lands east of
the Missouri River, where the common law has been the rule, and where
the surface tract has always carried with it all minerals vertically
below it.

"The great coal, copper, lead and zinc wealth east of the Rocky
Mountains has all passed with the surface titles, and there can be
little doubt if California had been contiguous to the eastern metallic
regions, and its mineral development progressed naturally with the
advantage of homemaking settlements, the power of common-law precedent
would have governed its whole mining history. But California was one of
these extraordinary historic exceptions that defy precedent and create
original modes of life and law. And since the developers of the great
precious metal mining of the Far West have, for the most part, swarmed
out of the California hive, California ideas have not only been
everywhere dominant over the field of the industry, but have stemmed the
tide of Federal land policy, and given us a statute-book with English
common law in force over half the land and California common law ruling
in the other."

I have spoken of these two incidents, the one of the peaceable
civilization of the missions, and the other of the strenuous life
issuing in the adoption of the mining law, as illustrative incidents of
the variety of California history. Let me briefly speak of a third one,
California's method of getting into the Union. But two other states at
the present time celebrate the anniversary of their admission into the
Union; the reason for California's celebration of that anniversary is
well founded. The delay incident to the admission of California into the
Union as a State was precipitated by the tense struggle then raging in
Congress between the North and the South. The admission of Wisconsin had
made a tie, fifteen free states and fifteen slave states. The destiny of
the nation hung upon the result of that issue, and when California
finally entered the Union, it came in as the sixteenth free State,
forever destroyed the equilibrium between the North and the South, and
made the Civil War practically inevitable. The debate was a battle of
giants. Webster, Clay and Calhoun all took part in it. Calhoun had
arisen from his death-bed to fight the admission of California, and,
upon reaching his seat in the Senate, found himself so overcome with
weakness and pain that he had Mason of Virginia read the speech he had
prepared in writing. Webster atoned for his hostility to the Pacific
Coast before the Mexican War by answering Calhoun. "I do not hesitate to
avow in the presence of the living God that if you seek to drive us from
California . . . I am for disunion," declared Robert Toombs, of Georgia,
to an applauding House. "The unity of our empire hangs upon the decision
of this day," answered Seward in the Senate. National history was being
made with a vengeance, and California was the theme. The contest was an
inspiring one, and a reading of the Congressional Record covering the
period makes a Californian's blood tingle with the intensity of it

The struggle had been so prolonged, however, that the people upon this
coast, far removed from the scene of it, and feeling more than all else
that they were entitled to be protected by a system of laws, had grown
impatient. They had finally proceeded in a characteristically
Californian way. They had met in legislative assembly and proclaimed:
"It is the duty of the Government of the United States to give us laws;
and when that duty is not performed, one of the clearest rights we have
left is to govern ourselves."

The first provisional government meeting was held in the pueblo of San
Jose, December 11, 1848, and unanimously recommended that a general
convention be held at the pueblo of San Jose on the second Monday of
January following. At San Francisco a similar provisional meeting was
held, though the date of the proposed convention was fixed for the first
Monday in March, 1849, and afterward changed to the first Monday in

The various assemblies which had placed other conditions and fixed other
dates and places for holding the same gave way, and a general election
was finally held under the provisions of a proclamation issued by
General Bennet Riley, the United States General commanding, a
proclamation for the issuance of which there was no legislative warrant
whatever. While the Legislative Assembly of San Francisco recognized his
military authority, in which capacity he was not formidable, it did not
recognize his civil power. General Riley, however, with that rare
diplomacy which seems to have attached to all Federal military people
when acting on the Pacific Coast, realizing that any organized
government that proceeded from an orderly concourse of the people was
preferable to the exasperating condition in which the community was left
to face its increasing problem under Congressional inaction, himself
issued the proclamation for a general convention, which is itself a gem.
The delegates met in Monterey, at Colton Hall, on the 1st of September,
and organized on the 3d of September, 1849.

The convention was one of the keenest and most intelligent that ever
assembled for the fulfillment of a legislative responsibility. Six of
the delegates had resided in California less than six months, while only
twenty-one, exclusive of the seven native Californians, had resided here
for more than three years. The average age of all the delegates was 36
years. The debates of that convention should be familiar to every
citizen of this State. No Californian should be unfamiliar with the
great debate on what was to constitute the eastern boundary of the State
of California, a debate accompanied by an intensity of feeling which in
the end almost wrecked the convention. The dramatic scenes wrought by
the patriotism that saved the wrecking of the convention stand out in
bold relief. The constitution adopted by this convention was ratified
November 13, 1849, and, at the same election, an entire State and
legislative ticket, with two representatives in Congress, was chosen.
The senators and assemblymen elect met in San Jose on December 15, 1849.
On December 20, 1849, the State government of California was established
and Governor Peter H. Burnett was inaugurated as the first Governor of
the State of California, and soon thereafter William M. Gwin and John C.
Frémont were elected the first United States Senators of the State of
California. Notwithstanding the fact that there had never been any
territorial form of government, notwithstanding the fact that California
had not yet been admitted into the Union, these men were all elected as
members of the State government, and the United States Senators and
members of Congress started for Washington to help get the State

Immediately upon the inauguration of Governor Burnett, General Riley
issued this remarkable proclamation:

"To the People of California: A new executive having been elected and
installed into office, in accordance with the provisions of the
Constitution of the State, the undersigned hereby resigns his powers as
Governor of California. In thus dissolving his official connection with
the people of this country he would tender to them his heart-felt thanks
for their many kind attentions and for the uniform support which they
have given to the measures of his administration. The principal object
of all his wishes is now accomplished - the people have a government of
their own choice, and one which, under the favor of Divine Providence,
will secure their own prosperity and happiness and the permanent welfare
of the new State."

No matter what the legal objections to this course might be,
notwithstanding the fact that Congress had as yet passed no bill for the
admission of California as a State into the Union, and might never pass
one, California broke all precedents by declaring itself a State, and a
free State at that, and sent its representatives to Washington to hurry
up the passage of the bill which should admit it into the Union.

The brilliant audacity of California's method of admission into the
Union stands without parallel in the history of the nation. Outside of
the original thirteen colonies, she was the only State carved out of the
national domain which was admitted into the Union without a previous
enabling act or territorial apprenticeship. What was called the State of
Deseret tried it and failed, and the annexation of Texas was the
annexation of a foreign republic. The so-called State of Transylvania
and State of Franklin had been attempted secessions of western counties
of the original states of Virginia and North Carolina, respectively, and
their abortive attempts at admission addressed to the Continental
Congress, and not to the Congress of the United States. With full right,
then, did California, by express resolution spreading the explanation
upon the minutes of her constitutional convention[7], avowedly place
upon her great seal her Minerva - her "robed goddess-in-arms" - not as
the goddess of wisdom, not as the goddess of war, but to signify that as
Minerva was not born, but sprang full-armed from the brain of Jupiter,
so California, without territorial childhood, sprang full-grown into the
sisterhood of states.

When it is remembered that California was not admitted into the Union
till September 9, 1850, and yet that the first session of its State
Legislature had met, legislated, and adjourned by April 22, 1850, some
appreciation may be had of the speed limit -if there was a limit. The
record of the naive self-sufficiency of that Legislature is little short
of amazing.

On February 9, 1850, seven months before the admission of the State, it
coolly passed the following resolution: "That the Governor be, and he is
hereby authorized and requested, to cause to be procured, and prepared
in the manner prescribed by the Washington Monument Association, a block
of California marble, cinnabar, gold quartz or granite of suitable
dimensions, with the word 'California' chiseled on its face, and that he
cause the same to be forwarded to the managers of the Washington
Monument Association, in the city of Washington, District of Columbia,
to constitute a portion of the monument now being erected in that city
to the memory of George Washington." California did not intend to be
absent from any feast, or left out of any procession - not if she knew
it. Looking back now, our belief is that the only reason she required
the word "California," instead of the words "State of California," to be
chiseled on the stone was that the rules of the Monument Association
probably prohibited any State from chiseling on the stone contributed by
it any words except the mere name of the State itself. And the
resolution was obeyed - the stone was cut from a marble-bed on a ranch
just outside Placerville, and is now in the monument!

On April 13, 1850, nearly five months before California was admitted
into the Union, that Legislature gaily passed an act consisting of this
provision: "The common law of England, so far as it is not repugnant to
or inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, or the
Constitution or laws of the State of California, shall be the rule of
the decision in all the courts of the State."

Among other things, three joint resolutions were passed, one demanding
of the Federal Government not only a change in the manner of
transporting the mails, but also in the manner of their distribution at
San Francisco, a second urging upon Congress the importance of
authorizing, as soon as practicable, the construction of a national
railroad from the Pacific Ocean to the Mississippi River - not from the
Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, but from the Pacific Ocean to
the Mississippi River - and a third urging appropriate grants of land by
the General Government to each commissioned officer of the Army of the
United States who had faithfully and honorably served out a complete
term of service in the war with Mexico. Each of the last two
resolutions, with grim determination, and without a suspicion of humor,
contained this further resolution: "That His Excellency, the Governor,
be requested to forward to each of our Senators and Representatives in
Congress, a certified copy of this joint resolution."

These resolutions were passed five months before the State was admitted
into the Union. If the Senators and Representatives were not yet
actually" in Congress" - well, they were at least in Washington - and
busy. The desire to be admitted into the Union had developed into a
yearning to be considered a part of the Union, had ripened into the
conviction that the State was, potentially at least, actually a part of
the Union, a yearning and a conviction that became almost pathetic in
their intensity. The Legislature adjourned, and for nearly five months
the population of San Francisco assembled on the Plaza on the arrival of
every Panama steamer, waiting - waiting - waiting for the answer, which,
when it did come in the following October, was celebrated with an
abandon of joy that has never been equaled on any succeeding Ninth of

It is indefensible that in the face of incidents of our history such as
these Californians should be ignorant of the lives and experiences of
those who preceded them on this coast. The history of their experiences
is a part of the history of the nation, and the record of the
achievement of the empire-builders of this coast is one that inspires
civic pride and a reverence for their memories. Why should the story
remain practically unknown? Why should every little unimportant detail
of the petty incidents of Queen Anne's War, and King Philip's War, and
Braddock's campaign be crammed into the heads of children who until
lately never heard the name of Portolá? The beautiful story of Paul
Revere's ride is known to everyone, but how many know the story of the
invincible determination in the building of Ugarte's ship[8]? William
Penn's honest treatment of the Indians is a household word to people who
never knew of the existence of Gálvez or Junípero Serra. The story of
the hardships of the New England pilgrims in the first winter on the
"stern and rock-bound coast" of Massachusetts, is not more pitiful than
that of the fate of the immigrants at Donner Lake. The thoughtful
magnanimity of Captain Philip of the "Texas" in the moment of victory,
in the sea-fight at Santiago, when he checked his men "Don't cheer,
boys; the poor fellows are drowning" - is enshrined in the hearts of
Americans that never thrilled with pride at Commodore Sloat's solemn and
patriotic proclamation upon landing his sailors to hoist the colors at
Monterey, a proclamation as fine and dignified as a ritual, that should
be committed to memory, as a part of his education, by every schoolboy
in California[9]. Longfellow's "Courtship of Miles Standish and
Priscilla" is found in every book of declamations, and Bret Harte's poem
of the tragic love story of Rezánov and Concha Argüello in complete
editions of his works[10]. Why herald the ridiculous attempt of Rhode
Island to keep out of the Union, and not acclaim the splendid effort of
California to break into it?

The importance to any community of its local history being incorporated
in the national story in its proper proportion and perspective cannot be
overestimated. When in all the ten volumes of Thomas B. Reed's
magnificent collection, entitled "Modern Eloquence," we find but one
speech that was delivered in California, and that, while the ancient and
admired anecdotage of Chauncey Depew is printed in detail, the flaming
eloquence of E. D. Baker is absolutely ignored, and the only discourse
reported of Thomas Starr King is one that he delivered in Boston, it is
time for the dwellers on these Western shores to ask themselves whether
these things have all happened by accident, or whether the older
commonwealths of this country have been moved by a pride in their
history and in their traditions to take such measures for their
preservation and for the promotion of their publication as to put us to

Let me not be misunderstood. I would detract nothing from the glory of
other sections of the country. I would minimize nothing of any State's
accomplishment. Some of them have a record that is almost a synonym for
patriotism. Their tradition is our inheritance; their achievement is our
gain. Wisconsin cannot become a veritable workshop of social and
economic experiment without the nation being the beneficiary. New
England does not enrich her own literature without shedding luster on
the literature of the nation. They and theirs belong also to us and to
ours. Least of all, do I forget the old Bay State and her high tradition
- State of Hancock and Warren, of John Quincy Adams and Webster, of
Sumner and Phillips and Garrison and John A. Andrew, of Longfellow and
Lowell and Whittier and Holmes. Her hopes are my hopes; her fears are my
fears. May my heart cease its beating if, in any presence or under any
pressure, it fail to respond an Amen to the Puritan's prayer: "God save
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."

But if they belong to us, we also belong to them. If their traditions
belong to us, so also our tradition belongs to them. We should simply
strive that California shall be given her proper proportionate place in
the history of the country. We do not find fault with them for having
taken the means of heralding abroad their story - we commend them for
it. We point to their activity so as to arouse our own people from their
amazing inaction. What have we of California done to collect, preserve
and diffuse information relating to the history of our State? And what
have other commonwealths done?

The California State Historical Society, first organized in 1853, and
incorporated in 1876, was in active existence from 1886 to 1894, and
published some valuable historical material, including Father Palou's
"Noticias," Doyle's "History of the Pious Fund," Willey's "History of
the College of California" and some interesting papers of Martin
Kellogg, George Davidson, Bernard Moses, William Carey Jones and T. H.
Hittell. From that time it has had no active existence. There has not
been a meeting of its board of directors since 1893, and since then most
of them have died. It has no maps and no manuscripts, and its library of
500 printed volumes was stored away in San Francisco, in the basement
cellar of the gentleman who is still nominally its president, until two
years ago. It never owned a building in which to do its work, was never
endowed, and to all intents and purposes has been dead for twenty years.

When we look beyond the Rockies, however, we begin to appreciate the
work that is being done by the State historical societies organized for
the purpose of collecting, preserving and diffusing historical
information concerning their respective states. The statistics outside
California, unless otherwise indicated, are down to 1905. The
Massachusetts and Pennsylvania societies are prototypes of the privately
organized and endowed organizations of the Eastern states, which,
without official patronage, have attained strength, dignity and a high
degree of usefulness, while Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas
similarly stand for the State-supported institutions of the West. Twelve
societies or departments own their own halls - those valued at $100,000
or over, being Wisconsin, $610,000; Iowa, $400,000; Pennsylvania (1910),
$340,000; Massachusetts, $225,000; and Kansas, $200,000. Thirteen are
housed in their respective State capitols, seven are quartered in State
universities, and six are in other public buildings. The largest State
appropriations are: Wisconsin (1910), $31,000; Minnesota, $20,000; and
Iowa (1910), $12,000. The Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin
societies are, of course, the wealthiest in endowments; possessing,
respectively (1912), $420,600, $170,000, and (1910), $63,000 in vested
funds. The largest libraries are Pennsylvania (1910), 285,000 titles;
Wisconsin (1910), 332,000; Massachusetts (1912), 170,000; Kansas (1910),
191,000; and New Hampshire (1910), 117,500.

Only a little less important in degree are a large number of historical
societies which represent some town or section. For example: The Essex
Institute of Salem, Massachusetts, with its income of (1913) $15,000,
library of 400,000 titles, and building valued at $175,000; New York
(City) Historical Society, with 1057 members, endowment fund aggregating
$236,000, yearly income of $12,000, and a building costing $400,000; the
Chicago Historical Society, with a library of 130,000 titles, housed in
a $185,000 building and supported by endowment funds aggregating
$111,814; the Long Island Historical Society of Brooklyn, with (1912)
102,500 titles in its own building; the Western Reserve of Cleveland,
with 60,000 titles in a $55,000 building; the Worcester (Massachusetts)
Society of Antiquities, housing 110,000 titles within a building valued
at $50,000; and the Buffalo Historical Society, which has a library of
34,000 titles in a $200,000 building and receives a municipal grant of
$5,000 and incidental expenses per annum. These are simply the most
highly endowed. Every important town and city in those sections of the
country are represented. In the State of Massachusetts alone, there are,
besides its State Historical Society, thirty-six local historical
societies, all of them alive and active and doing good work. The only
historical societies worthy of the name in California, outside of the
institution I shall refer to later on, are the Historical Society of
Southern California, in Los Angeles, with a membership of fifty, now
owning a library of 6,000 titles, housed in the Museum of History,
Science and Art in Exposition Park, owned by the county, with the
publication of eight volumes of local history to its credit, and the
Archeological Institution of the Southwest, also of Los Angeles, the
latter institution, however, being not exclusively a historical society.

I submit to you, as Californians, whether this is a record in which we
can take any pride. With the exception of the pitiful attempts of its
loyal friends from time to time to revive the California Historical
Society, absolutely no organization work whatever, except what has
lately been initiated at Berkeley, has been done by any public
institution to promote the publication of California history or the
collection of material therefor. With a history such as ours, with its
halo of romance, with its peculiarity of incident, with its epoch-making
significance, is it not a burning shame that our people have not long
ago, either through private endowment or through public institutions,
taken as much pride in the preservation of our history as its makers did
in the creation of it? Is it not time that civic societies in every
section of this State should combine and work together for the creation
of a public sentiment which will support and uphold any institution that
will strive to perpetuate the record of the history of this great

Though there has been no sustained or organized effort on the part of
the State, or of any community in the State, to recognize the duty of
collecting and preserving the priceless records of its historical
growth, yet, by the luck that often attends improvidence, we have the
nucleus of a library which goes far toward offsetting our culpable

One of the great fires that swept San Francisco in its early stages just
missed the Bancroft Library, then at the corner of Merchant and
Montgomery streets. The later fire that burned the building on Market
Street, near Third, next door to the History Building, again barely
missed the Bancroft Library. And when it was moved to the building
especially constructed for it at Valencia and Mission streets, the great
conflagration of the 18th of April, 1906, just failed to reach it. In
this State it had remained for a private individual, by his life work,
to collect and preserve a library that to the State of California is
almost priceless in value. This magnificent library the State of
California has recently purchased and installed in the California
Building, at the State University, where its usefulness is being
developed by the Academy of Pacific Coast History, an association
organized in connection with the history work of the University. By a
series of happy accidents, then, we are in a position to start with as
great a nucleus of its historical data as any commonwealth ever had.
There remains the great work of cataloguing and publishing, rendering
available to the investigation of scholarship this mass of original
data, and the State should immediately provide the liberal fund
necessary for the mechanical and clerical administrative work.

While the State is completing the trust with reference to the material
it already has on hand, the all-destroying march of Time still goes
swiftly on, however. Manuscripts in foreign lands are fading and being
lost, parchments are becoming moth-eaten or mildewed, whole archives
without duplicate are at the mercy of a mob, or a revolution, or a
conflagration, and a generation of men and women still alive are quickly
passing away, carrying with them an "unsung Iliad" of the Sierras and
the plains. In the presence of these facts, we should not stand idle.
One great fraternal organization has already done, and is still loyally
doing, more than its share. In the great work of endowing fellowships in
Pacific Coast history at Berkeley there is room enough for all. Here is
an opportunity for private munificence. A fine civism will not find a
more pressing necessity, or a more splendid opportunity. An endowment of
$100,000 invested in five per cent bonds will yield an annual fellowship
fund of $5,000. A citizen looking for an opportunity to do something
worth while could find few worthier objects. The fruit of such an
endowment may not be as enduring as a noble campanile, or an
incomparable Greek theater, yet, in a sense, it will be more lasting
than either, for facts become history, and history survives, when
campaniles fall and Greek theaters are ground to powder.

It may be that we have not realized that, as it took conscious effort to
create the history of the Pacific Coast, it will take conscious effort
to see that it is recorded and given its proper place in the history of
the country at large. If we have not understood this fact, the recital
of the activities of historical societies and other agencies in the East
should admonish us that it is time, it has long been time, for us to be
up and doing. The record of the history that is now in the making will
take care of itself, and the machinery is at hand for its preservation.
If we shall become the center of a new culture, be assured that it will
be its own press-agent. If we shall see grow into fruition a new music
among the redwoods of our Bohemian Grove, there are signs that the world
will not be kept ignorant of its origin. Literature reflecting local
color will survive as the historic basis for it is known and made
secure. The debt we owe to Bret Harte for "The Outcasts of Poker Flat,"
"The Luck of Roaring Camp," and all the individual types his genius made
live again, to Helen Hunt Jackson for her immortal "Ramona," to Charles
Fletcher Lummis for his faithful chronicles of splendid pioneering and
research, will only be more appreciated as our knowledge of the historic
past becomes more accurate and sure.

But it is the record of that very past, the record of our brief,
eventful and enthralling past, that concerns us now. Monuments and
reminders of it exist on every side. The record also exists, but
scattered over the face of the earth, and it has not yet been collected
and transcribed. This history cannot be properly taught until it is
properly written, and it cannot be properly written until all essential
sources shall have been explored. Mines of information are still open
that may soon be closed, perhaps forever. Let us promote such action
that no element of the grand drama of world-politics once played on
these Pacific shores shall be lost. Let us see to it, also, that our
fathers' high achievement in a later day shall not be unknown to their
descendants. In this cause, let us, with hearts courageous and minds
determined, each make good his "full measure of devotion." Thus, may
California's story become known of all Americans, and sink into the
hearts of a grateful people.

Appendix A.

The Love-Story of Concha Argüello.

[The occasion of the following remarks was the placing of a bronze
tablet upon the oldest adobe building in San Francisco, the former
residence of the Comandante, now the Officers' Club, at the Presidio,
under the auspices of the California Historical Landmarks League, on
Serra Day, November 24, 1913. Maria de la Concepción Marcela Argüello
(pronounced Arg-wail'-yo), daughter of Don José Dario Argüello, the
Comandante of the Presidio, and his wife, Maria Ygnacia Moraga, was born
at this Presidio, February 19, 1791 (Original Baptismal Records of Old
Mission Dolores, vol. 1, fol. 96, No. 931). The dates of Feb. 26, 1790,
given by Bancroft, founded on mere family correspondence, and of Feb.
13, 1791, given by Mary Graham, founded upon a mistaken reading of the
baptismal record, are both incorrect. The Spanish pet-name for
Concepción (pronounced Con-sep-se-own', with the accent on the last
syllable) is Concha (pronounced Cone-cha, the accent strongly on the
first syllable, and the cha as in Charles), and its diminutives are
Conchita and Conchitita.

Her father was afterward transferred to Santa Barbara, and from there,
while he was temporary Governor of California, under the Spanish regime,
on Dec. 31, 1814, appointed Governor of Lower California. Her brother,
Luis Antonio Argüello, born June 21, 1784, also at the Presidio, died
March 27, 1830. He entered the military service as cadet, Sept. 6, 1799;
was alférez (ensign), Dec. 23, 1800; lieutenant, March 10, 1806;
succeeded his father as Comandante of San Francisco in 1806; was the
first Governor of California under Mexican rule, and is buried in the
old Mission Dolores cemetery, where the finest monument in the cemetery
stands erected to his memory.]

I am glad to see this bronze tablet affixed to this noble adobe
building. I take it, that when some of the wooden eye-sores that here
abound are torn down, in the necessary beautification that should
precede 1915, this old historic building - a monument to Spanish
chivalry and hospitality - will be spared. We have too few of them left
to lose any of them now. And of all buildings in the world, the Presidio
army post should guard this one with jealous care, for here was enacted
one of the greatest, sweetest, most tragic love stories of the world - a
story which is all the Presidio's own, and which it does not have to
share with any other army post.

To you, men of the army, my appeal ought to be an easy one. You have no
desire to escape the soft impeachment that the profession of arms has
ever been susceptible to the charms of woman. The relation of Mars to
Venus is not simply a legend of history, is founded on no mere mythology
- their relationship is as sure as the firmament, and their orbits are
sometimes very close together.

There is one name that should be the perennial toast of the men of this
Presidio. We have just celebrated by a splendid pageant the
four-hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the Pacific Ocean by
Balboa, and we chose for queen of that ceremony a beautiful girl by the
name of Conchita. There was another Conchita once, the daughter of the
comandante of this Presidio, the bewitching, the beautiful, the radiant
Concha Argüello.

In this old Presidio she was born. In the old Mission Dolores she was
christened. Here, it is told, that in the merry exuberance of her
innocent babyhood, she danced instead of prayed before the shrine. In
the glory of these sunrises and day-vistas and sunsets, she passed her
girlhood and bloomed into womanhood. In this old adobe building she
queened it supremely. Here she presided at every hospitality; here she
was the leader of every fiesta.

To this bay, on the 8th of April, 1806[11], in the absence of her stern
old father in Monterey, and while the Presidio was under the temporary
command of her brother Luis, there came from the north the "Juno," the
vessel of the Russian Chamberlain Rezánov, his secret mission an
intrigue of some kind concerning this wonderland, for the benefit of the
great Czar at St. Petersburg. He found no difficulty in coming ashore.
Father was away. Brother was kind. Besides, the Russian marines looked
good, and the officers knew how to dance as only military men know how
to dance. The hospitality was Castilian, unaffected, intimate, and at
the evenings' dances in this old building their barrego was more
graceful than any inartistic tango, and in the teaching of the waltz by
the Russians - there was no "hesitation."

Then came Love's miracle; and by the time the comandante returned to his
post, ten days later, the glances of the bright-flashing eyes of the
daughter had more effectively pulverized the original scheme of the
chamberlain, than any old guns of her father on this fort could have
done. Their troth was plighted, and, as he belonged to the Greek Church,
with a lover's abandon, he started home to St. Petersburg, the
tremendous journey of that day by way of Russian America and across the
plains of Siberia, to obtain his Emperor's consent to his marriage. No
knight of chivalry ever pledged more determined devotion. He assured
even the Governor that, immediately upon his return to St. Petersburg,
he would go to Madrid as ambassador extraordinary from the Czar, to
obviate every kind of misunderstanding between the powers. From there he
would proceed to Vera Cruz, or some other Spanish harbor in Mexico, and
then return to San Francisco, to claim his bride.

On the 21st of May, about four o'clock in the afternoon, the "Juno"
weighed anchor for Sitka, and in passing the fort, then called the fort
of San Joaquin, she saluted it with seven guns - and received in return
a salute of nine. The old chronicler who accompanied the expedition says
that the Governor, with the whole Argüello family, and several other
friends and acquaintances, collected at the fort and waived an adieu
with hats and handkerchiefs[12]. And one loyal soul stood looking
seaward, till a vessel's hull sank below the horizon.

How many fair women, through the pitiless years, have thus stood -
looking seaward! Once more the envious Fates prevailed. Unknown to his
sweetheart, Rezánov died on the overland journey from Okhotsk to St.
Petersburg, in a little town in the snows of central Siberia. With a
woman's instinctive and unyielding faith, the beautiful girl waited and
watched for his return, waited the long and dreary years till the roses
of youth faded from her cheeks. True heart, no other voice could reach
her ear! Dead to all allurement, she first joined a secular order,
"dedicating her life to the instructions of the young and the
consolation of the sick," and finally entered the Dominican sisterhood,
where she gave the remainder of her life to the heroic and self-effacing
service of her order. Not until late in life did she have the
consolation of learning - and then quite by accident - that her lover
had not been false to her, but had died of a fall from his horse on his
mission to win her. Long years afterward she died, in 1857, at the
convent of St. Catherine; and today, while he sleeps beneath a Greek
cross in the wilds of Siberia, she is at rest beneath a Roman cross in
the little Dominican cemetery at Benicia, across the Bay[13].

This history is true. These old walls were witnesses to part of it.
These hills and dales were part of the setting for their love-drama. One
picnic was taken by boat to what is now called the Island of Belvedere
yonder. One horseback outing was taken to the picturesque cañon of San
Andrés, so named by Captain Rivera and Father Palou in 1774. Gertrude
Atherton has given us the novel, and Bret Harte has sung the poem,
founded upon it[14].

When we think of the love stories that have survived the ages, Alexander
and Thais, Pericles and Aspasia, Antony and Cleopatra, and all the rest
of them - some of them a narrative unfit to handle with tongs - shall we
let this local story die? Shall not America furnish a newer and purer
standard? If to such a standard Massachusetts is to contribute the
Courtship of Miles Standish, may not California contribute the Courtship
of Rezánov? You men of this army post have a peculiar right to proclaim
this sentiment; in such an enlistment you, of all men, would have the
right to unsheathe a flaming sword. For this memory of the comandante's
daughter is yours - yours to cherish, yours to protect. In the barracks
and on parade, at the dance and in the field, this "one sweet human
fancy" belongs to this Presidio; and no court-martial nor departmental
order can ever take it from you.

[Translation of Baptismal Record.]

931. Maria Concepción Marcela Argüello, Female Spanish Infant 65.

On the 26th day of February of the year 1791, in the church of this
Mission of our Holy Patron St. Francis, I solemnly baptized a girl born
on the 19th day of the said month, the legitimate daughter of Don José
Argüello, lieutenant-captain, and commander of the neighboring royal
presidio, a native of the city of Querétaro, New Spain, and of Doña
Maria Ygnacia Moraga, a native of the royal presidio of El Altar,
Sonora. I gave her the names of Maria de la Concepción Marcela. Her
godfather was Don José de Zuñiga, lieutenant-captain and commander of
the royal presidio of San Diego, by proxy, authenticated by the colonel
commandant-inspector and Governor of this province, Señor Don Pedro
Fages, in the presence of two witnesses, namely, Señor Manuel de Vargas,
sergeant of the company of Monterey, and Juan de Dios Ballesteros,
corporal of the same, delegated in due form to Manuel Baronda, corporal
of the company of this royal presidio of our Holy Patron St. Francis,
who accepted it, and held the said girl in his arms at the time of her
baptism. I notified him that he was not contracting kinship nor the
obligations of godfather, and that he should so advise his principal, in
order that the latter might be informed of the spiritual kinship and of
other obligations contracted, according as I explained them to him. And
in witness whereof, I sign it on the day, mouth and year above given.

Fray Pedro Benito Cambon (rubric).

Appendix B.

Concepción De Argüello.

(Presidio de San Francisco, 1806.)

By Bret Harte.


Looking seaward, o'er the sand-hills stands the fortress, old and
By the San Francisco friars lifted to their patron saint, -

Sponsor to that wondrous city, now apostate to the creed,
On whose youthful walls the Padre saw the angel's golden reed;

All its trophies long since scattered, all its blazon brushed away;
And the flag that flies above it but a triumph of today.

Never scar of siege or battle challenges the wandering eye,
Never breach of warlike onset holds the curious passer-by;

Only one sweet human fancy interweaves its threads of gold
With the plain and homespun present, and a love that ne'er grows old;

Only one thing holds its crumbling walls above the meaner dust,
Listen to the simple story of a woman's love and trust.


Count von Resanoff[15], the Russian, envoy of the mighty Czar,
Stood beside the deep embrasures, where the brazen cannon are.

He with grave provincial magnates long had held serene debate
On the Treaty of Alliance and the high affairs of state;

He from grave provincial magnates oft had turned to talk apart
With the Comandante's daughter on the questions of the heart,

Until points of gravest import yielded slowly one by one,
And by Love was consummated what Diplomacy begun;

Till beside the deep embrasures, where the brazen cannon are,
He received the twofold contract for approval of the Czar;

Till beside the brazen cannon the betrothèd bade adieu,
And from sallyport and gateway north the Russian eagles flew.


Long beside the deep embrasures, where the brazen cannon are,
Did they wait the promised bridegroom and the answer of the Czar;

Day by day on wall and bastion beat the hollow, empty breeze, -
Day by day the sunlight glittered on the vacant, smiling seas;

Week by week the near hills whitened in their dusty leather cloaks,
Week by week the far hills darkened from the fringing plain of oaks;

Till the rains came, and far breaking, on the fierce southwester tost,
Dashed the whole long coast with color, and then vanished and were lost.

So each year the seasons shifted, - wet and warm and drear and dry;
Half a year of clouds and flowers, half a year of dust and sky.

Still it brought no ship nor message, - brought no tidings, ill or meet,
For the statesmanlike Commander, for the daughter fair and sweet.

Yet she heard the varying message, voiceless to all ears beside:
"He will come," the flowers whispered; "Come no more," the dry hills

Still she found him with the waters lifted by the morning breeze, -
Still she lost him with the folding of the great white-tented seas

Until hollows chased the dimples from her cheeks of olive brown,
And at times a swift, shy moisture dragged the long sweet lashes down;

Or the small mouth curved and quivered as for some denied caress,
And the fair young brow was knitted in an infantine distress.

Then the grim Commander, pacing where the brazen cannon are,
Comforted the maid with proverbs, wisdom gathered from afar;

Bits of ancient observation by his fathers garnered, each
As a pebble worn and polished in the current of his speech:

"'Those who wait the coming rider travel twice as far as he;'
'Tired wench and coming butter never did in time agree;'

"'He that getteth himself honey, though a clown, he shall have flies;'
'In the end God grinds the miller;' 'In the dark the mole has eyes;'

"'He whose father is Alcalde of his trial hath no fear,' -
And be sure the Count has reasons that will make his conduct clear."

Then the voice sententious faltered, and the wisdom it would teach
Lost itself in fondest trifles of his soft Castilian speech;

And on "Concha," "Conchitita," and "Conchita" he would dwell
With the fond reiteration which the Spaniard knows so well.

So with proverbs and caresses, half in faith and half in doubt,
Every day some hope was kindled, flickered, faded, and went out.


Yearly, down the hillside sweeping, came the stately cavalcade,
Bringing revel to vaquero, joy and comfort to each maid;

Bringing days of formal visit, social feast and rustic sport,
Of bull-baiting on the plaza, of love-making in the court.

Vainly then at Concha's lattice, vainly as the idle wind,
Rose the thin high Spanish tenor that bespoke the youth too kind;

Vainly, leaning from their saddles, caballeros, bold and fleet,
Plucked for her the buried chicken from beneath their mustang's feet;

So in vain the barren hillsides with their gay serapes blazed, -
Blazed and vanished in the dust-cloud that their flying hoofs had

Then the drum called from the rampart, and once more, with patient mien,
The Commander and his daughter each took up the dull routine,

Each took up the petty duties of a life apart and lone,
Till the slow years wrought a music in its dreary monotone.


Forty years on wall and bastion swept the hollow idle breeze,
Since the Russian eagle fluttered from the California seas;

Forty years on wall and bastion wrought its slow but sure decay,
And St. George's cross was lifted in the port of Monterey;

And the citadel was lighted, and the hall was gayly drest,
All to honor Sir George Simpson, famous traveler and guest[16].

Far and near the people gathered to the costly banquet set,
And exchanged congratulations with the English baronet;

Till, the formal speeches ended, and amidst the laugh and wine,
Some one spoke of Concha's lover, - heedless of the warning sign.

Quickly then cried Sir George Simpson: "Speak no ill of him, I pray!
He is dead. He died, poor fellow, forty years ago this day,

"Died while speeding home to Russia, falling from a fractious horse.
Left a sweetheart, too, they tell me. Married, I suppose, of course!

"Lives she yet?" A deathlike silence fell on banquet, guests, and hall,
And a trembling figure rising fixed the awestruck gaze of all.

Two black eyes in darkened orbits gleamed beneath the nun's white
Black serge hid the wasted figure, bowed and stricken where it stood.

"Lives she yet?" Sir George repeated. All were hushed as Concha drew
Closer yet her nun's attire. "Señor, pardon, she died, too!"

[1] Pronounced Hoo-neep-ero, with the accent on the second syllable.

[2] The best pen-picture of San Francisco just before the discovery of
gold that I know of is that given by one who was an eye-witness: "At
that time (July, 1847), what is now called San Francisco was called
Yerba Buena. A naval officer, Lieutenant Washington A. Bartlett, its
first Alcalde, had caused it to be surveyed and laid out into blocks and
lots, which were being sold at sixteen dollars a lot of fifty varas
square; the understanding being that no single person could purchase of
the Alcalde more than one in-lot of fifty varas, and one out-lot of a
hundred varas. Folsom, however, got his clerks, orderlies, etc., to buy
lots, and they, for a small consideration, conveyed them to him, so that
he was nominally the owner of a good many lots. Lieutenant Halleck had
bought one of each kind, and so had Warner. Many naval officers had also
invested, and Captain Folsom advised me to buy some, but I felt actually
insulted that he should think me such a fool as to pay money for
property in such a horrid place as Yerba Buena, especially in his
quarter of the city, then called Happy Valley. At that day Montgomery
Street was, as now, the business street, extending from Jackson to
Sacramento, the water of the bay leaving barely room for a few houses on
its east side, and the public warehouses were on a sandy beach about
where the Bank of California now stands, viz., near the intersection of
Sansome and California streets . . . . . . . The population was
estimated at about four hundred, of whom Kanakas (natives of the
Sandwich Islands) formed the bulk." - Personal Memoirs of General W. T.
Sherman (Charles L. Webster & Co., New York, 1891), p. 61.

[3] United States vs. Castellero, 2 Black (67 U. S.), 17-371.

[4] A vivid and most interesting account of General Sutter's helpless
attempt to obtain from the military Governor a recognition of his title
to the land upon which his tail race was situated is given by General W.
T. Sherman: "I remember one day in the spring of 1848, that two
men, Americans, came into the office and inquired for the Governor. I
asked their business, and one answered that they had just come down from
General Sutter on special business, and wanted to see Governor Mason in
person. I took them in to the Colonel, and left them together. After
sometime the Colonel came to his door and called to me. I went in, and
my attention was directed to a series of papers unfolded on his table,
in which lay about half an ounce of placer gold . . . . . . . Colonel
Mason then handed me a letter from Captain Sutter, addressed to him,
stating that he (Sutter) was engaged in erecting a sawmill at Coloma,
about forty miles up the American Fork, above his fort at New Helvetia,
for the general benefit of the settlers in that vicinity; that he had
incurred considerable expense, and wanted a 'preëmption' to the quarter
section of land on which the mill was located, embracing the tail-race
in which this particular gold had been found. Mason instructed me to
prepare a letter, reciting that California was yet a Mexican province,
simply held by us as a conquest; that no laws of the United States yet
applied to it, much less the land laws or preëmption laws, which could
only apply after a public survey. Therefore it was impossible for the
Governor to promise him (Sutter) a title to the land; yet, as there were
no settlements within forty miles, he was not likely to be disturbed by
trespassers. Colonel Mason signed the letter, handed it to one of the
gentlemen who had brought the sample of gold, and they departed . . . .
. . . That gold was the first discovered in the Sierra Nevada, which
soon revolutionized the whole country, and actually moved the whole
civilized world." - Personal Memoirs, p. 68.

[5] Cross vs. Harrison, 16 Howard (57 U. S.), 164, 192.

[6] "In 1850 the Congress of the United States passed what is called a
series of compromise measures. Among them was a fugitive slave law, the
indemnity to Texas, the creation of territories in Utah and New Mexico,
the admission of California, and the change in the Texas boundary. Four
of them had direct relation to the question of slavery, and one was the
admission of this State. Being in Congress, as a member of the House, at
that time, I know well what you remember. The admission of California as
a State was delayed for some nine or ten months, because the leaders of
the Pro-Slavery Party were determined to secure their own way on all the
other measures before California should he admitted." - E. D. Baker,
Forest Hill speech, Aug. 19, 1859.

[7] J. Ross Browne: Debates in the Convention of California on the
Formation of the Constitution in 1849, pp. 304, 322, 323.

[8] The "Triunfo de la Cruz" was begun July 16, 1719, and finally
launched at Mulegé, near Loreto, Lower California, on the Feast of the
Exaltation of the Cross, Sept. 14, 1719, on its mission to determine
whether California was an island, as described and delineated in many
official accounts and maps of the period.

[9] The original Proclamation of Commodore Sloat, July 7, 1846, signed
by his own hand, here produced, is preserved in Golden Gate Park Museum,
San Francisco, to whose Curator, Mr. George Barron, it was recently
presented in person as authentic by the lately deceased Rev. S. H.
Willey, the chaplain of the Constitutional Convention of 1849 in Colton

[10] See Appendices A and B.

[11] G. H. von Langsdorff, Voyages and Travels in Various Parts of the
World (Henry Colburn, London, 1814), part 2, page 150. Langsdorff, of
course, gives it as March 28, 1806, old style, in that year twelve days
earlier than our calendar west of the 180th degree of longitude, and
eleven days earlier than our calendar cast of that degree. H. H.
Bancroft states that "the loss of a day in coming eastward from St.
Petersburg was never taken into account until Alaska was transferred to
the United States" (Bancroft, Hist. of California, II, page 299,
foot-note 9). Certainly, Langsdorff makes no such allowance in his
narrative of old-style dates, and in the only place east of the 180th
parallel where he computes the corresponding new style he adds eleven
days, instead of twelve (Voyages and Travels, II, page 136). Bancroft
adopts the date of April 5th, basing it on the Tikhmenef narrative.
Richman and Eldredge follow him in preferring the Tikhmenef narrative to
the Langsdorff narrative as a basis, though they differ from each other
in reducing it to the new style. from the old style, Richman making it
April 5th, following Bancroft in this regard also, and Eldredge making
it April 4th, I prefer, with Father Engelhardt, to follow as a basis the
painstaking German, Langsdorff, who kept his diary day by day.

[12] G. H. von Langsdorff, Voyages and Travels, part 2, pages 183, 217.
Tikhmenef's narrative would make the "Juno" leave on the 19th of May,
but Langsdorff was himself aboard and kept a log.

[13] Nicolaï Petróvich Rezánov, Chamberlain to the Czar, died March 13,
1807 (March 1, old style), at the little town of Krasnoïarsk, capital of
the Province of Yenisseisk, now a station on the Trans-Siberian
Railroad, where his body is still interred. Von Langsdorff visited his
grave Dec. 9, 1807 (Nov. 27, old style), and found a tomb which be
described as "a large stone, in the fashion of an altar, but without any
inscription." (Voyages and Travels, part 2, page 385.) Sir George
Simpson visited the grave in 1842, and states that a tomb had been
erected by the Russian American Company in 1831, but does not describe
it. Whether this is a mistake in the date on his part, or whether a
later and more elaborate tomb displaced the first one, I have not yet
been able to ascertain. It is certain, however, that Sir George Simpson
had read von Langsdorff's book.

The body of Sor Dominga Argüello, commonly called Sister Mary Dominica
(Concepción Argüello) after her death, which occurred Dec. 23, 1857, was
first interred in the small cemetery in the convent yard, but in the
latter part of 1897 (Original Annals, St. Catherine's, Benicia), when
the bodies were removed, it was reinterred in the private cemetery of
the Dominican order overlooking Suisun Bay, on the heights back of the
old military barracks. Her grave is the innermost one, in the second
row, of the group in the southwesterly corner of the cemetery. It is
marked by a humble white marble slab, on which is graven a little cross
with her name and the date of her death. This grave deserves to be as
well known as that of Heloïse and Abelard, in the cemetery of Père

[14] "Rezánov," by Gertrude Atherton (John Murray, London). See also
Appendix B. The quaint poem of Richard E. White to "The Little Dancing
Saint" (Overland, May, 1914) is worthy of mention, though the place of
her childhood is mistakenly assumed to be Lower California instead of
San Francisco. It is to be hoped also that the very clever skit of
Edward F. O'Day, entitled "The Defeat of Rezánov," purely imaginative as
a historical incident, but with a wealth of local "atmosphere," written
for the Family Club, of San Francisco, and produced at one of its "Farm
Plays," will yet be published, and not buried in the archives of a club.

[15] If the facsimile of the chamberlain's signature, when written in
Roman alphabetical character, is as set forth in part 2 of the Russian
publication "Istoritcheskoé Obosrénié Obrasovania Rossiisko-Amerikanskoi
Kompanii," by P. Tikhmenef, published in 1863, by Edward Weimar, in St.
Petersburg, then the proper spelling is "Rezanov," the accent on the
penult, and the "v" pronounced like "ff."

For metrical purposes Bret Harte has here taken the same kind of liberty
with "Resanoff," and in another poem with Portolá, as Byron took with
Trafálgar, in Childe Harold.

[16] The mention of Monterey is a poetic license. Sir George Simpson
actually met her and acquainted her for the first time with the
immediate cause of her lover's death, at Santa Barbara, where she was
living with the De la Guerra family, Jan. 24, 1842, after her return
from Lower California, following the death of her parents. "Though Doña
Concepción," wrote Sir George Simpson, in 1847, "apparently loved to
dwell on the story of her blighted affections, yet, strange to say, she
knew not, till we mentioned it to her, the immediate cause of the
chancellor's sudden death. This circumstance might in some measure be
explained by the fact that Langsdorff's work was not published before
1814; but even then, in any other country than California, a lady who
was still young, would surely have seen a book, which, besides detailing
the grand incident of her life, presented so gratifying a portrait of
her charms." (An Overland journey Round the World, during the years 1841
and 1842, by Sir George Simpson, Governor-in-chief of the Hudson Bay
Company's Territories, published by Lea and Blanchard, Philadelphia, in
1847, page 207.)

[17] She did not actually receive the white habit till she was received
into the Dominican sisterhood, April 11, 1851, by Padre F. Sadoc
Vilarrasa, in the Convent of Santa Catalina de Sena (St. Catherine of
Siena), at Monterey, being the first one to enter, where she took the
perpetual vow April 13, 1852 (Original Records, Book of Clothings and
Professions, page 1, now at Dominican College, at San Rafael, Cal.), and
where she remained continuously till the convent was transferred to
Benicia, Aug. 26, 1854. There being no religious order for women in
California until the Dominican sisterhood was founded at Monterey, March
13, 1851 (Original Annals, at Benicia, Reg. 1, pages I and 14), she had
at first to content herself with joining the Third Order of St. Francis
"in the world," and it was really the dark habit of this secular order
which constituted the "nun's attire" at the time Sir George Simpson met
her in 1842.

Book of the day: