Chimes of Mission Bells by Maria Antonia Field

Produced by David Schwan Chimes of Mission Bells An Historical Sketch of California and Her Missions By Maria Antonia Field To the Revered Memory of Junipero Serra And of My Great Grandparents Estéban and Catalina Munrás This Book Is Affectionately Dedicated Acknowledgment of Gratitude In producing this book I wish to thank my Mother, who
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Produced by David Schwan

Chimes of Mission Bells

An Historical Sketch of California and Her Missions

Maria Antonia Field

To the Revered Memory of
Junipero Serra

And of
My Great Grandparents
Estéban and Catalina Munrás

This Book Is
Affectionately Dedicated

Acknowledgment of Gratitude

In producing this book I wish to thank my Mother, who wrote for me in modern notation the music of the hymns of the Mission Fathers which are contained in this work, and gave me much welcome information; also Rev. Raymond M. Mestres, my zealous parish Priest, successor and compatriot of Junipero Serra and the Mission Padres, for valuable data, and for allowing me access to the early archives of San Carlos Mission and of the Mission Church of Monterey.

Maria Antonia Field
Monterey, California, June 1, 1914


Translation of the Names of the Missions

Tribute to Junipero Serra and the Mission Padres

Chapter I
Junipero Serra, Leader of the Heroic Band of Spanish Missionaries of California. His Coming to San Fernando, Mexico, Thence to California

Chapter II
Brief Sketch of the Conquest of California and of the Founding of the Missions. Hospitality of the Missions. Care and Benevolence of the Missionaries Toward the Indians

Chapter III
More About San Carlos Mission and Monterey

Chapter IV
California Under Spanish Rule

Chapter V
California Passes from Spanish to Mexican Rule. Secularization of the Missions

Chapter VI
California Passes from Mexican to American Rule

Chapter VII
Mission Anecdotes and Hymns

Chapter VIII
Retrospection of the Work of the Spanish Missionaries, Explorers and Settlers and their place in California’s Appreciation

Chapter IX
Rev. Raymond M. Mestres Writes Historical Drama “Fray Junipero”

A Letter of Junipero Serra.
The Meaning of California Missions. Dances of Early California Times


In presenting this modest volume to the public, I wish to call the attention of my readers to the following facts. Firstly, my humble work is a work of love–love simple and unalloyed for the venerable Spanish Missionaries of California and for the noble sons and daughters of Spain who gave such a glorious beginning and impetus to our state. Being a direct descendant of pioneer Spaniards of Monterey, I take a particular interest in California’s early history and development and as my family were staunch friends of the Missionary Fathers and in a position to know the state of affairs of those times, and to family tradition I have added authentic knowledge from reading the earliest archives of San Carlos Mission, as well as other historical references, I feel I can fearlessly vouch for the truthfulness of my little work. Secondly– while fully appreciating the sympathy and interest of many charming and intellectual characters who grace California to-day, it must be admitted that there is a sadly ignorant or misinformed number who scarcely seem to know who Spaniards and their descendants are, judging from the promiscuous way the term “Spanish” is used, and what is the result of this among many? Prejudice, and absurd misunderstanding of the golden days of Spanish California as well as of the Spanish race and character. It is far from being my wish to offend, but I wish to present correct historical facts. Thirdly–there is no pretense to consider this brief sketch a complete or detailed history, but only a truthful outline of the heroic and chivalrous Mission days.

Maria Antonia Field.

Translation of the Names of the Missions.

1. San Diego.–A Spanish form of Saint James, who is the Patron Saint of Spain.

2. San Carlos.–Saint Charles. Mission San Carlos and the Royal Chapel of Monterey were so named in honor of Saint Charles the Patron Saint of King Carlos III under whose reign the mission was founded.

3. San Antonio De Padua.–St. Anthony of Padua.

4. San Gabriel.–St. Gabriel (the Angel of the Annunciation.).

5. San Luis Obispo.–Saint Louis, Bishop.

6. Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores.–Our Lady of Sorrows.

7. San Juan Capistrano.–St. John Capistrano.

8. Santa Clara.–Saint Clara.

9. San Buenaventura.–Saint Bonaventure.

10. Santa Barbara.–Saint Barbara (whose feast is commemorated on December 4, the date of the foundation of the Mission.)

11. Purisima Concepcion.–Most Pure Conception (of the Blessed Virgin Mary). This feast is celebrated on December 8, the day on which this mission was founded.

12. Nuestra Señora De La Soledad.–Our Lady of Solitude. (In the Catholic Church the Blessed Virgin Mary is venerated under this title to commemorate her solitude from the time of our Saviour’s death until His Resurrection).

13. Santa Cruz.–Holy Cross (so named in honor of Our Saviour’s Passion).

14. San José.–Saint Joseph.

15. San Juan Bautista.–Saint John, Baptist (whose feast occurs on June 24, the day this mission was founded).

16. San Miguel.–Saint Michael.

17. San Fernando, Rey De Espana.–Saint Ferdinand, King of Spain.

18. San Luis, Rey De Francia.–Saint Louis, King of France.

19. Santa Ynez.–Saint Agnes.

20. San Rafael.–Saint Raphael.

21. San Francisco Solano.–Saint Francis Solano.

Chimes of Mission Bells

Tribute to Junipero Serra and the Mission Padres.

By Maria Antonia Field.

Read at the Crowning of the Serra Statue, Monterey, Nov. 23, 1913.

The fickle world ofttimes applauds the rise Of men whose laurels are but vainly won, Whose deeds their names could not immortalize For their soul-toils were wrought for transient ends; But heroes of the Cross, they truly great Shall live, their halo shall no hand of fate

Have power to rob, albeit oblivious years May veil the radiance of their glorious works, Or slight their excellence, their light appears But brighter, statelier in its splendor calm, Or like the flowers that sleep through winter’s snow To bloom more fair, their lives’ pure beams shall glow

With greater brilliance and sweetly gleam As lodestars in the firmament of worth;
Such is the memory whose holy stream Of noblest virtue, valor, truth and Faith, Illumes our path and stirs our souls today, Immortal Serra by whose tomb we pray!

What peerless aureole wreathes his saintly brow? What stately monument doth bear his name? Let this admiring thousands tell us now! Let youthful lips pronounce his name with love! Let California proudly sing his praise!
Let scions of fair Spain their voices raise,

And tell of him to whom so much we owe, Tell of his interceding power with God,
His strong and lofty soul his children know, His prayers where Carmel’s River flows so clear; O this his aureole, this his monument,
The lasting kind which ne’er will know descent.

Another lesson must the worldly learn, From him who sought nor praise nor fame; His birth, ten score agone, and still we turn To him in reverence, his name is sweet
As vernal bloom, his life shows forth God’s might, Through him this soil received Faith’s warm sunlight!

This beauteous land was strange, unknown and wild, Spite all its treasures, lordly trees and flowers; For tribes with pagan rites its wastes defiled, Till came Spain’s noble band of godly men, Explorers true and zealous priests who gave Their lives’ best years, forgotten souls to save!

‘Tis just we venerate each hallowed stone Which rears the wond’rous “Temples of the West”; The tears, the toils, the nightly vigils lone; The pilgrim-journeys of Saint Francis’ sons, The rescued souls by lustral waters cleansed, The wealth of hospitality dispensed.

All this and more if but their walls could speak, Would tell this day; and we in whose veins flows The fervent blood of Spain, to us each streak Of light which doth reveal a picture true Of gentle friar and lovely vanished times Is tender as the Angelus’ sweet chimes.

Well may each Mission have a holy spell, And Serra’s name become a household word, What marvels can each yellowed archive tell Of him and of his martyr-spirit band.
O faithful, dauntless hearts! What brilliant sons Of that great galaxy of Spain’s brave sons!

We love their saintly lives to ponder o’er, While childhood’s fireside tales come back to us, And memory unfolds her precious store,
The bygone glories of the Mission towns, The grand old hymns sung at sweet Mary’s shrines The Spanish color rich as luscious wines

Of Mission vineyards, and the festive hours So full of life yet innocent and good,
When blessings seemed to fall as welcome showers, The Indian tribes were ruled with Christian love, And shared the sons and daughters of Castile Their loved Franciscan Fathers’ patient zeal!

But still we love each altar and each cross Of these dear fanes; e’en as departing rays Of sun doth kiss the crags outlined with moss, We love to linger by their altars’ light. But oh fair Carmel, she of Missions Queen What guarding spirits hover here unseen!

Sweet Carmel, center of the hero-band, What holy treasures hold thy sacred vaults? Junipero and others! Here we stand
In awe of all thou hast been and art still! Cruel times took glory, splendor, power
From Missions all, but not their priceless dower,

Religion, love and all we hold as dear, No hand can tarnish and no might destroy, And from each hallowed altar ruddy, clear, Still burns the mystic lamp, for God is there! The cross-crowned towers tell that all is not dead, E’en though more splendid times have long since sped.

And like a glowing ember in the night Our Lady’s love has burned through every change; ‘Tis thus the Missions ever saw the light Through labors, ripened harvest-joys and wrongs; Their noon-sun splendors of well won renown Will shine their glorious heritage to crown.

O Saintly Serra we implore thy prayer, Thy dauntless spirit sowed the “mustard-seed” Which grew as if by miracle of wonder rare, Upon this now rich land which thou did’st till, O let they mantle on thy clients fall
Who on thy gracious aid do humbly call.

Chapter I.

Junipero Serra, Leader of the Heroic Band of Spanish Missionaries of California. His Coming to San Fernando, Mexico, Thence to California.

Junipero Serra, whose name and labors may be termed a compendium of Christian virtues, was born on November 24, 1713, in Petra, a village of the picturesque Island of Majorca, on the northeastern coast of Spain, and a part of the Province of fair Catalonia, one of the most valuable and beautiful portions of Spain. This child, around whom our story clusters was baptized on the day following his birth, and received the names of Miguel José. His parents were poor people from a material standpoint, but gifted with a rich heritage of the noblest, and sublimest character; qualities which make the Spanish peasant so delightful.

From his tenderest youth, Miguel José evinced an ardent desire to enter the priesthood and displayed a zealous missionary spirit. His pious parents placed no obstacle in the way of their gentle boy’s vocation, and being too poor to pay for his education, the Church did it for them. At the age of sixteen, Miguel José left his father’s small estate and began his studies in his native village, completing them at the Franciscan College of Palma, the Capital of the Island of Majorca. He made rapid progress, and a brilliant future opened before him, while his virtuous qualities were noted by all with whom he came in contact. A proof of his worth may be seen from the facts that he was ordained before he attained his majority; also taught in different schools as professor of theology and received the degree of doctor soon after his ordination. The fame of his eloquent preaching and persuasive oratorical powers spread not only throughout Spain but reached other European countries. Still Junipero Serra (as he was known by his own choice after an humble disciple of Saint Francis of Assisi, noted for his charity) was not dazzled by his brilliant mental gifts, and his thirsting desire to evangelize the heathen savage of the New World grew apace with his fame. He declined the offer to become the Court preacher and other ecclesiastical dignities, which he would have been entirely justified in accepting, and practiced those virtues which clung to him with even more perfect maturity throughout his life; heroic virtues which enabled him to undertake wonderful things. In him too were noted those sweet simple qualities invariably found in great and holy men and women, such as gentleness, amiability, a tender affection for children and a love for the beautiful in nature; sun, moon, stars, flowers, birds, the woods and ocean, all found responsive chords within him. In a few brief lines we have endeavored to convey an idea of Serra’s character, let us now follow his steps in company with the band of heroic workers who accompanied him in his voyage across the dark Atlantic, and his apostolic journeys through Mexico and California to “break the bread of life” to the unfortunate heathen. Among the notable band of missionaries was Father Francisco Paloú, life-long friend and co-laborer of Father Junipero Serra.

But why did these heroes choose Mexico and California as the vineyards of their labors? Why did they not go to Africa or other heathen shores? Here is the answer: Spain and all Europe were filled with stories of the New World since the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492, and several other Spanish discoveries in later years, among which must be remembered that in 1521, Hernando Cortes, one of the great Spanish explorers of the sixteenth century, explored the hitherto unknown land of Mexico, and as Spain always accompanied her conquests and explorations with her missionaries to evangelize the heathens, at the time that Father Junipero Serra set sail for the New World, which was in 1759, there were in Mexico an archbishopric and several missions conducted by Spanish priests, among them a well established Franciscan College in San Fernando, a settlement in the northern part of Mexico, which the Spanish explorers and missionaries so decided to name after Saint Ferdinand, a King of Spain, who lived in the thirteenth century. And to this College, Father Junipero Serra and his companions came after a perilous voyage of nearly one year; for the date of their arrival was January 1, 1760; and here they began their labor! Of the nine years which Junipero Serra toiled in Mexico, six were spent in Sierra Gorda, some distance north of San Fernando, and one of the wildest and roughest of those half explored regions. And what marvels attended the labors of Serra and the other self-sacrificing sons of Saint Francis here! With Junipero Serra at the helm, the good priests learned some of the Aztec dialects in order to convert the savages. Then what followed? With the greatest patience the missionaries acquitted themselves to the task of teaching the classic, cultured language of Spain to these poor aborigines, whose languages like those of the still cruder California Indians, did not contain expressions for even the simplest words of scripture or of the liturgy of the Church. And can we wonder at this? But what were the astonishing results of the good priests’ labors? They were truly God-wonders! Daily were recorded numerous conversions, and at the close of six years many Indian congregations of those regions could be heard singing the ancient Latin hymns of the Church, and in poor but intelligible Spanish supplying in their prayers and conversations what was wanting in their dialects. It was while at Sierra Gorda that Junipero Serra became afflicted with a painful sore which broke out on his right leg and which never healed in all his eventful and laborious career. Many historians allude to this sore as a “wound,” but no record is extant to indicate it as such, the most authentic conclusions being that this sore was due to natural causes greatly augmented and brought on by the hardships and climatic conditions he encountered in this missionary field.

The average person would think Junipero Serra and his companions had surely satiated their thirst for missionary labors during the nine long toilsome years they spent in Mexico, far, far away from loving home, affectionate kindred and the Old World culture to which they bade farewell when the last glistening silhouette of the Spanish Coast vanished from their view in 1759, but not so! Their pilgrimage was but begun! The pilgrimage which was to blossom heavenly and earthly blessings as beautiful and countless as the flowers which jeweled the slopes and valleys they traversed. The monstrous undertaking begun so gloriously, blessed with the benison of prayers, sacrifices, tears; blessed later with superhuman success and crowned with an immortal halo for endless days!

Here we will make a slight digression for the sake of our story. In 1548, just twenty-seven years after Cortes discovered the land of Mexico, Cabrillo’s expedition had sailed up the Coast of California, and in 1602 Sebastian Vizcaino had made further discoveries accompanied by two Carmelite priests, and landed on the shores of Monterey. Both of these expeditions, however, were abandoned and California remained the “mysterious vineyard,” as it was called. But Vizcaino drew a map of California placing upon it the harbor of Monterey, and wrote glowing accounts of the beauty of the spot. On Point Lobos he planted a Cross, and the Carmelite Fathers named that beautiful Valley, four miles from Monterey, Carmelo, in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, venerated under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Of these facts we will have occasion to speak of more fully later on in this work.

Years after these expeditions the good Jesuit Fathers established several missions in Lower California, but were recalled to Spain by King Carlos III and by this sovereign’s request the Franciscan Fathers of the College of San Fernando were commissioned to take the newly vacated missions and accompany as missionaries the great and glorious enterprise of Don Gaspar de Portolá, with Vizcaino’s map as guide, to further explore California and add it to the Crown of Castile and Leon.

The Father Guardian of the College of San Fernando, on receiving the letter from King Carlos, immediately appointed Junipero Serra, whose zeal and sanctity were so well known, as the Father President of the band of missionaries to set out for California. Among the missionaries who volunteered to evangelize California were Fathers Francisco Paloú, Francisco de Lasuén and Juan Crespí.

Here we will introduce a few characters, not of the missionary band, but who may well be termed faithful co-operators of their labors, men of unimpeachable honor, whose names add luster to the pages of Spanish annals. Don Jose Galvez, the Visitador General (general visitator) of the Spanish possessions in Mexico, a man as pious and noble as he was brilliant, managed the expedition of gallant Don Gaspar de Portolá and the missionaries, and gave Junipero Serra and the brave officers and soldiers much encouragement. This wonderfully managed and well equipped expedition, on which hinged the future of California, was wisely divided into two parts, one to go by sea, the other overland. The sea expedition consisted of three ships the San Carlos, the San José, and the San Antonio, the last named was a relief ship and was started after the other two. The San Carlos and San José carried a large portion of the troops, all of which received the Sacraments before embarking. On these ships were also placed the Church ornaments, provisions, camping outfits and cargoes of agricultural implements. Father Junipero Serra then blessed the ships and placed them under the guidance of Saint Joseph, whom the missionaries had chosen as the Patron Saint of California. Each ship had two missionaries on board and among the crew were bakers, cooks and blacksmiths; on the San Antonio went the surgeon, Don Pedro Prat. Simultaneously with these ships started two land parties, one in advance of the other in order to stop at La Paz in Lower California, to pick up cattle and sheep wherewith to stock the new country, also to bring some of the converted Indians of the mission in that region, to aid the missionaries and soldiers by translating the speech of the Indians of Alta or Higher California; for while the Indian dialects were numerous, there was some similarity among them. This first land expedition was in command of Captain Rivera y Moncada. The second land party was in command of the newly appointed governor, Don Gaspar de Portolá, the first governor of California, and wise indeed was the choice of this good and excellent man! This second land party was doubly blessed with the presence of Junipero Serra. Many were the dangers and hardships encountered by these sterling men both by land and sea; and as the repetition of what is noble never tires, we will again allude to the painful sore on Junipero Serra’s leg, which caused him such intense suffering, that his continuation of the journey many times seemed miraculous even before he reached Saint Xavier (the mission established at La Paz). When his fellow missionary, Father Paloú advised him to remain a little longer at Saint Xavier’s until he would be in a better condition to travel, his only answer was “let us speak no more on the subject, I have placed my faith in God and trust to His Goodness to plant the holy standard of the Cross not only at San Diego but even as far as Monterey.” And God overshadowed the enterprise undertaken in His Name. The ship San José was never heard from, but its noble crew were always considered martyrs who brought blessings on the rest of the expedition. The San Carlos and the two land parties reached San Diego, their first goal almost simultaneously. Here was chanted the first Te Deum in California! Here Serra, head of the religious portion of the expedition, and Portolá head of the civil and military, conferred with each other on the course they were to follow. And here we will leave these incomparable pioneers to celebrate the birthday of California, July 1, 1769.

Chapter II

Brief Sketch of the Conquest of California and of the Founding of the Missions. Hospitality of the Missions. Care and Benevolence of the Missionaries Towards the Indians.

Father Junipero Serra and Don Gaspar de Portolá decided on the following plan; that Junipero Serra with Fathers Francisco Paloú and Francisco de Lasuén would remain in San Diego, where Serra was to establish his first mission while Portolá with Fathers Crespí and Gomez, Captain Rivera y Moncada, Lieutenant Fages and some of the Spanish dragoons and muleteers started overland to explore the country, and in quest of the Harbor of Monterey, carrying with them the map of Sebastian Vizcaino. This expedition was to result in the memorable “March of Portolá,” which lasted about eight months. Missing the Harbor of Monterey on account of an error in the reckoning of Vizcaino’s map, the explorers marched as far north as what is now San Francisco and discovered the Harbor that bears that name; so named later by Junipero Serra in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order. After continuing a fruitless search for Monterey, the expedition returned to San Diego. Junipero Serra was overjoyed at the unexpected discovery of the Harbor of San Francisco, which Portolá and his companions so enthusiastically extolled, and was not discouraged over their failure to find the Port of Monterey, but hoped to make another trial to find that Port on which their most laudable ambitions were centered. But here a sad difficulty presented itself. Governor Portolá returned to San Diego with sad gaps made into his ranks by sickness and hardship, but hopeful with the expectation that the relief ship promised by Don José Galvez had arrived, and that the San Diego Mission well established would be able to give his forces a well deserved chance to recuperate. But what was his dismay? The relief ship had not arrived, and Junipero Serra had indeed founded a mission with the usual elaborate ceremonies of the Church, but the untiring zeal and labors of himself and his companions had not been blessed with a single convert. No neophyte could be counted among the numerous natives of the place, who had even proved hostile at times; and the mission too, was in the sorest need; Junipero Serra and his companions ofttimes adding to their usual fasts and abstemiousness, “that others might have more.” Still the relief ship was delayed! Surely this was not the fault of good Don José Galvez, but it might have met a tragic fate; thus thought the discouraged land and sea forces; and Governor Portolá was too good a soldier not to know that the best course to follow was to start at once back to Mexico and abandon the glorious dream, before starvation and death overtook everyone of them. But here Junipero Serra interposed, and as if inspired pleaded with the Governor for “one more day;” Portolá out of respect did grant just “one more day” before ordering the whole expedition back.

Junipero Serra then repaired to the summit of the Presidio Hill and with arms extended, prayed as if in ecstasy from sunrise until sunset, “storming the heavens” that the relief ship might come, and the conversion of the heathen of California be realized. O unquestionable miracle! “More things are wrought by prayer, than this world ever dreamed of!” As the last rays of sun kissed his venerable brow, from out the gold and purple horizon, he sighted the top-most point of a mast, which while he was still “pouring his soul” no longer in supplication but in thanksgiving, grew into the unmistakable figure of the long expected ship. But for that “one more day” what would California be now? No converted Indians, no monumental missions, no exploration and colonization no civilization! The ship had been delayed on account of the rough voyage it encountered. But now relief, contentment, renewed hope, renewed courage; and the Mission of San Diego was but the first of the twenty-one which were to strew El Camino Real (the Royal Road, literally, commonly called the King’s Highway) of California. And chivalrous Portolá, filled with even greater reverence for the humble priest Junipero Serra, whom his lofty soul had always appreciated, once more gathered his forces, and started anew in search of Monterey. Junipero Serra left the Mission of San Diego in charge of two of the good fathers and a small garrison as guards, and set out with Portolá on his second expedition; and it was Serra whose very presence seemed to draw the blessings of heaven, who pointed out to the Governor the error on Vizcaino’s map which caused him to miss the Port of Monterey.

This expedition was also divided into two parts, one to go overland the other by sea. Father Serra went with the sea party which sailed on the Paqueboat San Antonio. A number of Spanish dragoons from the fair province of Catalonia, muleteers, and some of the convert Indians recruited from the mission of La Paz were in the overland party.

On May 24th, 1770, the expedition reached Point Pinos on the Coast of Monterey; after going south about six miles and encamping on a picturesque spot on the shores of the Bay, the missionaries raised an altar and Junipero Serra celebrated the first Mass on the shores of Monterey on June 3rd, 1770. It is more than likely that the Carmelite fathers who came here with Vizcaino had done so one hundred and sixty eight years before, but as there is no official record of the fact, the Mass celebrated on the improvised altar under the oak (which is preserved in the premises of San Carlos Church, Monterey), is recorded as the first. Mass over, Junipero Serra and Gaspar de Portolá exhorted the Spanish soldiers to hold to the traditional faith and purity of the Spanish race, and to kindness to the natives, calling them “weaker brethren who should be christianized, not debauched.” Then Junipero Serra planted a Mission Cross and blessed the Spanish flag which Portolá hoisted, taking possession of the land in the name of “His Most Catholic Majesty King Carlos III, by right of discovery.”[1] Junipero Serra also blessed the sea and land.

As Monterey was from the first established as the civil, military and religious headquarters of the Spanish kingdom in California, her Presidio was known as el Presidio Real (the Royal Presidio), and the present parish church of Monterey, which was built as a chapel for the Presidio was la Capilla Real de San Carlos (the Royal Chapel of Saint Charles).

Junipero Serra found the Indians of Monterey and the surrounding country very docile, while the Indians from Lower California soon learned their dialect and acted as interpreters of the missionaries. The Cross which Vizcaino had planted in 1602 was found decked with skins and shells. On inquiry the Missionaries were told by the Indians that they had often seen mysterious rays of light around it, and thinking that some god was angry they were trying to propitiate him by means of those offerings.

As we have already noted Junipero Serra said his first, Mass in Monterey on June 3rd, 1770, and two years later he recorded his first baptism. From that date the Indians would come in dozens to present themselves for instruction. Then the marvels that had attended Junipero Serra at Sierra Gorda in Mexico, were repeated in Monterey. The naked savages were clothed, many of them were beginning to learn Spanish and to sing the Latin responses of the Mass and hymns both in Spanish and Latin, playing such musical instruments as the cymbal and triangle, keeping perfect time to every beat. The flocks and cattle were increasing and the harvest fields were golden with grain. While some of the Indians were taught to till the soil others were herdsmen, and some were taught to work as artisans. Nearly fifty trades were taught the California Indians under the supervision of the Missionaries. In 1771 Junipero Serra founded the San Carlos Mission in the most entrancing location of the Carmelo Valley that the nature loving Serra could have chosen; the forests of oak, pine and cypress for which Monterey is noted to this day, stretch with even greater beauty as we pierce farther into the interior, while the fertility of the land drained by the beautiful Carmelo River together with the commanding position of the spot, made the site of the Mission ideal. And this Mission of the Carmelo Valley of Monterey, was Junipero Serra’s headquarters, here he lies buried, and here was the center of that unequalled hospitality and pure society for which every mission was noted. The Spanish Government made large grants of land to the missions, and under the labor, care and excellent methods of the missionaries, they became powerful and wealthy institutions, the pride and blessing of New Spain. Fine stock, teeming grain fields and luscious orchards graced every mission, and Mission San Carlos was no exception, indeed it was one of the most prosperous and beautiful.

Fathers from the Mission at Carmelo, attended the Royal Chapel of San Carlos in Monterey and continued to do so until long after the last Act of Secularization in 1835 had been passed by the Mexican Government, and San Carlos of Carmelo was left desolate with no priest to guard her own altar light. But of this we shall, alas, have but too much reason to speak later. Junipero Serra did not stop his arduous work by founding beautiful San Carlos of Carmelo and consecrating the Royal Chapel of Monterey; he was to christianize all California, for all California had now been added to the Crown of Castile and Leon. Spain followed in California the same policy which has distinguished her in her other possessions such as Cuba, the Philippines and other colonies, steeped in idolatry until the Spanish Missionary, whose zeal is proverbial, wrested their countless inhabitants from the cymmerian gloom of paganism. Thus as soon as San Carlos Mission was founded, the glorious march of El Camino Real continued.

Mission San Antonio de Padua, the third mission, was established in July 1, 1771. The beauty of the spot and wonderful eagerness of the Indians to receive baptism greatly touched Junipero Serra and the other two Franciscan Fathers who accompanied him as well as some of the soldiers who were in the party. To-day Mission San Antonio is almost in ruins, but its very ruins are piles which speak of mystic beauty, and in the days of mission glory San Antonio was one of the fairest of the missions.

On returning to Carmelo, Junipero Serra filled the other missionaries with joy over this latest conquest of souls, and sent messengers to Fathers Soméra and Cambón whom he had left in charge of the Mission at San Diego, to establish a mission in southern California, which they would name San Gabriel. The two Fathers, with ten soldiers as guards, started a march northward until they came to the present sight of San Gabriel, which they saw immediately was a good location for a mission, particularly as a beautiful stream flowed through the Valley, and wherever possible the Fathers chose a spot where there was water for the mission orchards and gardens.

Here we may add that the Fathers had a system of irrigation by means of ditches, traces of which may be seen to this day in the sites where stood many of the old mission orchards. The fruits from these good Fathers gardens were the fairest and most luscious that California has ever seen, none of our lovely grapes compare with theirs, and their olives were larger and better than any of which California boasts to-day.

Although not deviating from our subject we have wandered from the thread of our story in the foundation of Mission San Gabriel. One incident contained in the records of this Mission may hardly be passed over in silence. The good Franciscans and their brave little bodyguard found the Indians in a very hostile mood, still they blessed a Mission Cross and planted it; but the Indians increasing their threatening attitude, the Fathers unfurled a large white banner bearing the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, placing the side of the banner with the image in full view of the heathens. Priests and soldiers then knelt and implored the intercession of the Redeemer’s Immaculate Mother for their safety and for the conversion of the Indians to the Faith of her Divine Son. Immediately came the answer from Heaven! The Indians not only abandoned every sign of hostility, but came forward towards the Fathers with every sign of sincere submissiveness, and after due instruction were baptized. For it must be remembered that the Church does not, and cannot force her belief on anyone who does not willingly accept it; the poor savage is no exception; instruction, kindness, prayers may always be employed, no more. As in many cases the nature of the Indian was too elementary to be moved at first by the lessons and exhortations of suffering and self-denial of Our Saviour, and the bridling of the human passions; in many instances the Fathers would first win the Indians’ confidence by giving them blankets, beads and such things as attracted them, then by degrees unfolded the tenets of religion and mysteries of faith, to which in most cases these erstwhile savages clung with firmness and gave many edifying signs of true and sincere christianity. A band of white beads around the head distinguished the christian Indians from the pagan.

The flocks, vineyards and orchards of Mission San Gabriel, as well as the skill of its Indians, in time became famous throughout California, and it was from here that Governor Felipe de Neve, third Governor of California, started in 1781 with several of the Fathers and a company of soldiers to found the present city of Los Angeles.

The fifth Mission, San Luis Obispo, was founded on September 1, 1772, by Junipero Serra in person; the saintly Father making a pilgrimage there for that purpose. Thus in the space of three years, five missions were founded. A royal record of the zeal of the missionaries and of the humanity of the Spanish Government and Authorities.

In 1774 the Spanish Viceroy of Mexico informed Junipero Serra that he intended to establish a presidio in San Francisco “for the further extension of Spanish and Christian power.” Junipero Serra, on receipt of this letter, selected Fathers Paloú and Cambón to accompany the soldiers, and Lieutenant Juan de Ayala was ordered with his ship stationed at Monterey to further explore the San Francisco Bay; Juan de Anza, another brilliant officer, was entrusted with the establishment of the new presidio; the site he chose being the identical one on which the Presidio of San Francisco stands today. Lieutenant Juan de Ayala of the Royal Navy of Spain, was the first to steer a ship through the Golden Gate, and a strange coincidence was that his ship was the San Carlos which had come to San Diego with a portion of the first Spanish pioneers in 1769. With Lieutenant Ayala was Father Vincente de Santa Maria who, with Fathers Paloú and Cambón, planted a Mission Cross and founded Mission Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, which has withstood so many ravages of time and change, of man and elements.

The seventh Mission was San Juan Capistrano, founded November 1, 1776, by Father Lasuén. This Mission was also a very flourishing Mission, the Indians were laborers in its construction, which lasted nearly fourteen years.

Mission Santa Clara was the eighth to be established. It was founded on January 12, 1777. The original lines of this once beautiful Mission are almost entirely changed but like all its sister missions it still retains much of its dear old atmosphere, and can boast of the tomb of Father Magin Catalá who died there in 1836 “in the odor of sanctity.” Mission Santa Clara was founded by Father Tomas de la Peña y Saradia; and its history is fascinating and romantic. The Mission Cross which Father de la Peña y Saradia planted here, is still standing.

The ninth Mission was San Buenaventura, founded also by Junipero Serra in person, in company with Governor Felipe de Neve, on Easter Sunday of March 31, 1783.

From San Buenaventura, Junipero Serra and Governor de Neve marched to what is now Santa Barbara. Here the Indians were numerous and more intelligent than any in California, where the Indians were far denser than either the Incas of South America or the Aztecs of Mexico. Delays, caused by military differences, retarded the foundation of Santa Barbara Mission, which would have been the tenth, but Junipero Serra planted a Mission Cross and selected the site on which it was destined to be founded four years after his death. From here Serra returned to Carmelo; his journeys from one Mission to another being always on foot.

And here we must pause: We have come in our narrative to that momentous year in the history, not only of the missions, but of California. The year when. Junipero Serra, true priest of God, christianizer, civilizer, wonderful among wonderful pioneers, or as Governor Gaspar de Portolá had spoken of him years before, “the humblest, bravest man of God I ever knew,” had done his work! Junipero Serra was ready for his throne in Heaven, his crown awaited him, his rough Franciscan habit was to be glorified. We have briefly glanced at his chief characteristics from his boyhood in historic Spain, and must have gauged the measure of his untiring and tried virtue from the time he landed in Mexico and San Diego, on through the years he labored as the Apostle of California; to these let us add just a few of the private practices of mortification which he imposed on his innocent flesh, notwithstanding his age, his physical infirmities, extraordinary labors and hardships in a new, half explored country. Virtually they sound like a passage from the lives of the Saints. His journeys were always on foot, although the old sore on his leg remained like an instrument of torture throughout his life, nothing being able to help him. El Camino Real, from San Francisco to Monterey and from Monterey to San Diego, with its rough roads, was as familiar to him who walked it with so much difficulty as it is to us who enjoy it by comfortable travel on the railroad or pleasurable motor trips; his fasts were austere and frequent, wine he never used, the discipline was no stranger to him, a bed was not among his possessions, on the bare floor or bench at most he would rest his sore missionary body; yet he never imposed unnecessary penance on anyone, he was hard only on himself, he was gentle and affectionate to a marked degree, his faith, trust in Providence, humility and charity, were heroic. Of his seventy-four years of life, fifty-four he had been a Franciscan Priest and thirty-five he had devoted to missionary work, of which nine were spent in Mexico and fourteen in California. His wonderful eloquence and magnetic power for preaching which had won him honors in the Old World even as a newly ordained priest, he had used and adapted for the instruction of thousands of heathens of the New World; and now that christianity and civilization were beginning to bud with springtime loveliness like the Castilian roses he had planted in some of the mission gardens, while the sun of Spanish glory was still in the ascendency and no threatening omens of the fall of Spanish or Franciscan power, or nightmares of the Acts of Secularization disturbed the cloudless skies, while the Presidio Real of Monterey bore the arms of the Spanish King and the Capilla Real do San Carlos was thronged with gallant officers and brave men of the Royal Army and Navy of Castile and Leon, and Our Lady seemed to smile blessings on her Valley of Carmelo, before the beauteous dream, nay, realization of noble ambitions, had vanished like a fair sun, God called His faithful Servant unto Himself, in his cell at his beloved San Carlos Mission about 2:30 P. M. on August 28, 1784, according to the entry of Father Francisco Paloú, in the archives of San Carlos Mission, preserved in San Carlos Church of Monterey. And what a day this was! The archives here are full of touching detail. Solemn salutes were fired from the ships stationed in the Harbor of Monterey, and the grief of the people was inexpressible. The Indians were inconsolable. The officers of the Royal Navy claimed his sandals as a precious keepsake, and the Fathers could not restrain the people from cutting pieces of his habit to carry away as souvenirs; the Indians claimed his Franciscan cord and many cut locks of his silver hair; his corpse had to be dressed twice on account of this pious proceeding. In a plain redwood coffin his precious remains were laid in a vault “on the gospel side of the altar within the sanctuary of San Carlos Mission.” O! holy grave, how many changes thou hast seen! O happy Serra, from the dazzling splendors of God’s light how often thou must have prayed for thy work, thy people, thy neophytes! In God’s inscrutable Providence the good are ofttimes permitted to suffer, but the same All Wise Hand can brush away with a single stroke, the wrong done to His own, and His time seems near!

We will now resume the story of the foundation of the missions, for we really stopped at the ninth. Junipero Serra’s life-long friend, Father Paloú was chosen temporary President of the Missions, for within a year he retired to the Franciscan College of San Fernando, where he gave most of his time to writing, and to him we are indebted for a complete and accurate biography of Junipero Serra. After Father Paloú’s resignation, Father Francisco de Lasuén was appointed Father President of the Missions. Father Lasuén was an arduous laborer and able priest of the original heroic band of missionaries, and his first act was to establish Mission Santa Barbara, where Junipero Serra had planted a Mission Cross nearly four years previous. This was accomplished on December 4, 1787, and of the twenty-one missions which were spoliated in later years, Santa Barbara was the only one which tyrannical laws could never dispossess of its lawful owners, hence to this day the Sons of Saint Francis are there to guard the “altar light.”

From Santa Barbara, Father Lasuén traveled north to Lompoc, and founded Mission La Purisima Concepcion on December 8, 1787.

Mission de Nuestra Señora de in Soledad was founded in October of 1791. The last Act of Secularization in 1835 fell very heavily on this lovely Mission of which scarcely a trace remains today. This mission was noted for its fine stock and luxuriant pastures.

On Christmas day of 1791 was founded the Mission of Santa Cruz. This Mission never rivaled the other missions in wealth, but in later years it was honored with a martyr. Here is the authentic story of Father Quintana, whose martyr’s death occurred here as late as 1817. Father Quintana was a holy and zealous priest of this mission, who had carried on the work of the conversion of the Indians most of whom were already christian, but a small portion still remained heathen, and these were very hostile. As was later discovered, while the good priest was reading his breviary in his office, some of these hostile Indians entered, and most cruelly murdered him, then taking his body into the mission orchard placed it against a capulin tree (a tree much resembling the cherry tree in fruit and form). On thus discovering the corpse the other Fathers immediately sent a message to the surgeon of the Royal Presidio of Monterey, who at the time was Don Manuel Quixano (step-father of the writer’s great grandmother). After holding an autopsy on the martyred body, Dr. Quixano found that the saintly Father had been horribly and cruelly murdered. The details are preserved in the Santa Cruz Mission archives, but are not given to the public. The capulin tree which the Indians made use of to make it appear that the Father’s death was a natural one, was at the time in full bloom, and in a few hours became a dry lifeless trunk. A remarkable act of Providence indeed!

The fourteenth and fifteenth missions established were Mission San Jose and beautiful Mission San Juan Bautista, founded respectively on June 11th and June 24th of the year 1797.

We have generously used words denoting beauty and prosperity in describing the missions, but no less can be said of these mighty and bountiful institutions, who, even in their regal ruins are California’s chief attraction to this day.

The sixteenth mission was San Miguel, founded by Fathers Francisco de Lasuén and Buenaventura Sitjar, with very impressive and elaborate ceremonials, on July 25th, 1797. The brilliant frescoing of this mission was done in 1824 by the writer’s great grandfather, Estéban Munrás, a Spaniard from Barcelona, who had studied art in his native city, and who was intimately connected with the early missionaries, especially those of Monterey, where he resided. Estéban Munrás did the frescoing of San Miguel Mission at the request of Father Juan Cabot, also a native of Barcelona. Thus we see the undaunted steadfastness of these early missionaries who, although California had already passed from Spanish to Mexican rule, and mission power was beginning to wane, still were zealous for the greater adornment of God’s holy temples.

On September 8, 1797, Mission San Fernando, Rey de España was founded. In June of the following year San Luis, Rey de Francia, fifty-four Indian children being baptized on the day of its foundation. It was in the patio (court yard) of this mission that the first pepper tree in California was planted by Father Antonio Peyri.

On September 17, 1804, beautiful Santa Ynez Mission was founded. Here Father Arroyo, a brilliant scholar, prepared a working grammar of the language of the Indians of the San Juan region. In December, 1817, San Rafael was founded, and made a splendid record of conversions. Not a trace of this mission remains today.

The last mission was San Francisco Solano within the city limits of the present town of Sonoma, and was founded as late as 1823, thus again is shown the wonderful courage and zeal of the missionaries in the face of obstacles, for at this date as we have already noted Spanish Mission power had begun to wane, and while Mexico was unable to wipe out entirely Spanish rule and influence for many years, still she had already claimed California as her own. Many wealthy Russian traders lived in the country about Sonoma, who showed themselves extremely friendly to the missionaries, assisted at the ceremonies of the founding of the mission and made generous contributions for its adornment.

And now our march of El Camino Real is ended; but let us take another look at mission life. The plan of the missions was most wonderful, situated in the most beautiful spots, the journey of one day from one another, and the seats of learning and well earned prosperity in California; their architecture was the best imitation of the Spanish Gothic style which the Spanish laborers could build with the tools and materials which were then possible to have in the New World. The only share the Indians had in the building of the missions was in assisting to carry beams, stone, making the beautiful red tiles found in every mission roof, and the like, but the actual construction was done by Spanish workmen under the supervision of the Fathers.

Besides the church proper, the missions consisted of groups of buildings set aside for converted Indians and their families, a storehouse, a guardhouse, a monastery and spacious quarters for guests. For at a mission not only friends of the Fathers and persons of standing, but every wayfarer whoever he might be “found warmth and plenty” as long as he chose to remain under their blessed shelter. And so great was mission hospitality that a pile of silver was laid in the bedroom of a guest to be taken by him or left as he saw fit; of course no well bred guest who was not in need would impose on the holy Fathers’ generosity, but it was their delicate way of assisting an unfortunate pilgrim who might be in need. The missions too, were the centers of important gatherings and peaceful rendezvous of persons of social standing, even after the first two Acts of Secularization had been passed in after years. But these noble entertainment’s, wealth of luscious fruits, golden sheaves, luxuriant pastures and fleecy lambs, were as the least gifts of these matchless institutions, for we can never exaggerate the marvels wrought for the betterment of the heathen natives, or the fairer fruits of the countless heroic virtues practiced within these enclosures. The Indians clung to the Fathers like little children to their parents, and from the vices of paganism, under a healthy and kind rule drawn for them by the wise Fathers, christian virtues took a deep root in at least a great many of these poor “children of the soil” and so great was the care exercised by the Fathers that nightly they would make a round of the rooms allotted to every christian and neophyte Indian family to see that order and decency reigned in each group; for we must remember these souls were but recently rescued from the dark sins of heathenism.

Blessed temples! noble hospices! heroic priests! We are loathe to change the scene, but winter’s storms must come ere the laurel wreath crowns the glorified brow! Still, we need not leave the “enchanted palace” yet, vernal loveliness still charms the eyes and summer is just begun.

If it be but for one brief moment let us ruminate the glories, the wealth, the beauty of mission joys, before the least cruel echoes of Secularization are heard. The sun of Franciscan and Spanish glory is still mounting the firmament higher and higher. The sky still wears Our Lady’s blue[2] and no penitential purple has appeared with the departing rays of sunset, only the royal purple and gold which years before had made the scene a fairylike setting for the heavenset relief ship to San Diego and assured the noble enterprise of the exploration and christianizing of California.

[1] Official title of the Kings of Spain.

[2] Blue and white are the symbolical colors of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Chapter III

More About San Carlos Mission and Monterey

As we have seen in the preceding chapter, Monterey was the capital of the Spanish Possessions in California, consequently San Carlos Mission was the headquarters of Junipero Serra. And what was not San Carlos Mission of Carmelo in the days of her glory! We are in a maze of thought as to how to begin to tell her story. Of the beauty of the spot where this mission was built we have already spoken, as well as of how the golden valley of Carmelo came to be named. And here we may well exclaim with that dear English Saint of the thirteenth century, Saint Simon Stock, who invoked the Immaculate Virgin with the following beautiful lines:

“Carmel’s fair flower
Rod blossom laden
Smile on thy dower
Meek Mother–Maiden
None equals thee.
Give us a sign
Thou dost protect us
Mark us for thine
Guide and direct us
Star of the Sea.”

A more perfect replica of the country surrounding the shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Palestine would be hard to find, and the “Meek Mother-Maiden” did give many a sign of her protection to her clients in this new Carmel of the West. And it was at San Carlos Mission of Carmelo, that the superiors of the different missions convened and gave accounts of their work and numbers of baptisms etc. to the Father President. And how glowing are the records of those accounts! Here on festival days after the religious services were held social gatherings and entertainment’s of the purest yet merriest order. Marriages, baptisms, all notable events had their share of attention. The hospitality of the missions, the care and kindness shown to the Indians, the numerous flocks, harvests and orchards which embellished them under the wonderful management of the good Fathers, all existed in copious measure at San Carlos.

The huge, beautiful bells of this mission the chimes of which were heard clearly in Monterey were cracked during the years when the mission was neglected but some of the pieces were later recast and as far as known the present bells of the mission were made from them.

We cannot consider a sketch of this mission however brief, complete, without giving due credit to the Very Reverend Angelo Casanova, parish priest of Monterey from 1869 until the time of his death in 1893. This zealous priest undertook the work of restoring the mission for a portion of it was in ruins, and to-day there would be but little of San Carlos to see and admire but for Father Casanova’s timely work of restoration, which he accomplished with some help of friends, but chiefly with his own private fortune which he inherited. Many a time was Father Casanova seen assisting the laborers with his own hands. And what a happy day it was for Monterey when the first Mass was sung in the restored mission after years of vandalism and neglect! The old statues which had escaped the ravages of time were replaced in their niches, the sanctuary lamp was re-lighted for the Sacramental Presence once more enthroned on His altar and the organ pealed forth the ancient Latin hymns of the Church once more. Another very significant event of this restoration was that Father Casanova had the four bodies contained in the vaults of the mission exhumed and placed on new vaults, built however near the original spots “on the gospel side of the altar, within the sanctuary.” The four bodies are the remains of Fathers Junipero Serra, Juan Crespí, Francisco de Lasuén and Julian Lopez. Another good outcome of this event was that it exploded the utterly unfounded story that a Spanish ship had carried away the remains of Junipero Serra to Spain. The vestments on each body were found in a perfect state of preservation at the time this work was done in 1882.

For years the saintly Serra’s body was buried under a pile of debris, but his “sepulchre has become glorious” in spite of all. And since the restoration of this mission, the feast of Saint Charles Borromeo, (its Patron Saint) has again been celebrated here every November the twenty-fourth, and a relic of Saint Charles which Father Junipero Serra brought from Spain, is as of old carried in procession. While this is of course a Catholic festival, reverent visitors of various creeds attend it. The mission is guarded by a care-taker, living in the premises of what remains of the old mission orchard.

It was also due to Father Casanova, that Mrs. Leland Stanford donated, in 1890, the Serra Monument[3] which crowns a slope just above the spot where this wonderful missionary said his first Mass in Monterey.

We cannot give sufficient credit to Reverend Raymond Mestres, the present parish priest of Monterey, and a Spaniard from the Province of Catalonia, like Junipero Serra and many of the early missionaries. Father Mestres has given time, energy and noble efforts unstintingly to perpetuate the memory of Junipero Serra and to more fully restore not only San Carlos Mission and San Carlos Church, but is encouraging a movement to restore if possible all the California Missions according to their traditional and historical plans; may his great enterprise be blessed with all the radiance of crowning success!

We will have ample reason to speak more of Father Mestres’ good work elsewhere in this sketch, hence we will pass into Monterey itself. Monterey was named after the Spanish Viceroy of Mexico, who at the time of her discovery, was the Count of Monterey. As we have many times noted this city was of royal birth. Unlike any of the other Presidios, her Presidio was el Presidio Real, the chapel attached to it la Capilla Real, and the ships which sailed the blue waters of her crescent bay were the ships of the Royal Navy of Spain. No mission town was without its glories, its fascinating history or delightful surroundings, but Monterey was like a fair empress of them all. Yet no jealousy or feelings of rivalry were felt for Monterey by her sister towns, nor was her right to the sceptre ever contested. From the time that Sebastian Vizcaino placed her on his map in 1602 and glowingly described her beautiful harbor, noble forests and majestic hills, Spain focused her attention on Monterey, and when her Port was at last found by Portolá, and the stout old ship San Antonio under the command of Captain Juan Perez entered her harbor on May 31st, 1770, without any discussion or preamble she was made the capital of New Spain.

The news of her discovery and of Junipero Serra celebrating Mass on her shores were sent with all possible haste to the Viceroy of the Spanish possessions in Mexico and to good Don Jose Galvez, also a complete statement of her discovery was drawn up and sent to the Court of Spain. And how were these news received? Solemn masses of thanksgiving were celebrated in some of the Spanish cathedrals, attended by many of the highest religious, civil and military authorities, while congratulations from every side poured into King Carlos and his Viceroy. And all this exultation over the discovery of the lovely spot we all know and love so well! Monterey, like a “pearl of great price” had been hard to find, but like a “pearl of great price” was worth the quest. Beautiful Monterey with her shores decked with Vizcainos Cross since 1602, Monterey with her bay blue like a turquoise, matching the azure of heaven, Monterey with her forests and flowers, with her Valley of Carmelo and glorious sunsets, adding to natures charms, her historical and sacred atmosphere, her landmarks and the improvements of man. No wonder thousands yearly throng this gifted spot of God’s earth!

As may be needless to say, Monterey, became the center of the social life, beauty and culture of the mission towns. From Monterey, inspiration flowed as from a fountain head. And even to this day she is irresistible. Even to this day, in spite of the many sad scenes and oblivious years which have stamped their trace upon her loveliness and impaired her regal splendor, her charm is told by her landmarks and crowned by her natural fortress of hills, her forests and flower robed meadows, and lulled at evening by the murmur of the iridescent waters of her bay reflecting the sunset splendors of the sky.

About 1810 Monterey was ravaged by buccaneers under Blütcher, who was such a terror to many sea-port towns, these pirates sailed up the Pacific Coast, and appeared in Monterey Bay in four large vessels arriving at midnight. Before they could be driven out of the town they set fire to some of the Spanish Presidio homes and carried away precious jewels and silver belonging to the Spanish ladies, and provisions from the garrison.

The former Capilla Real de San Carlos is now the parish church of Monterey, guarding like a fond mother all that remains of the massive silver altar vessels and candelabras, paintings, statues, vestments, manuscripts and archives of the pioneer missionaries of this mission.

Among the modern attractions of Monterey we must not fail to mention Hotel Del Monte built and owned by the Pacific Improvement Company, and the many beautiful drives constructed by the same, company. Mr. Frank Powers was the founder of the flourishing settlement of Carmel-by-the-Sea, a few minutes walk from San Carlos Mission and a favorite resort of artists and literateurs. These with many others have been no small contributors to the old Capital. Thus while we deplore years of vandalism, and the thousands who have joined the “careless throng” we can always turn to the pleasing contrast of sympathizers and friends who are always, willing to give “honor to whom honor is due,” and in doing so have spared neither purse nor efforts in aiding those who under difficulties have guarded the flame of tradition and love of the splendid past with its bright galaxy of “heroes, martyrs, saints.” True, the glowing embers often smouldered beneath a debris of neglect and even harsh misrepresentation but were not and could not be extinguished. And now faithful hearts may beat fast with holy joy for the feeble light fanned by loving zephyrs has burst into a glowing flame destined to diffuse its love and influence to all, regardless of creed, race or station.

[3] The Very Reverend Angelo Casanova selected the writer of this sketch and her brother, then little children to unveil this monument.

Chapter IV

California Under Spanish Rule

With the landing of Serra and Portolá at San Diego in 1769, began the Spanish period of California. The chief events of this period are in a pith, the following: The establishment of the missions, the christianizing of the Indians and the exploration and colonization of California. It is from the Spanish period that the history and standing of California date. The ten Spanish Governors of California as well as the officers of the Army and Navy were men of honor and ability, and the record left by the Spanish settlers is one of which any country might be proud. During the Spanish period the geographical lines of California were settled and her harbors surveyed[4]. It was during this period that most of the present cities of California were founded, Spain following the plan of building the towns around the missions. The first Governor, Don Gaspar de Portolá, was a great and good man as well as a brilliant officer, gentle and reasonable in every respect, he was beloved by all; to him California owes the discovery of San Francisco Bay, and the great co-operation he gave to Junipero Serra, as well as his reverent esteem for this saintly man has endeared his memory to every true Californian, and immortalized his name in Spain. After a period of two years in office Portolá went to Mexico, then under Spanish rule, and from there returned to Spain.

Portolá was succeeded by Gov. Felipe de Barri, who after three years was removed from office on account of infringing on the rights of the missionaries and siding with Captain Rivera Y. Moncada who was a somewhat arrogant man, who also on several occasions infringed on the rights of the missionaries; but the faults of the latter have been very exaggerated by some historians, namely, some declare that he was ex-communicated from the church on account of insolence to the missionaries, whereas there is no record of such a fact. Excepting their officiousness and arrogance, Barri and Rivera were moral and able men.

Barri was succeeded by Felipe de Neve, a statesman, scholar and worthy governor who at once declared himself the friend and protector of the missionaries. It was Governor de Neve who drew up California’s first code of legislation dated from the “Royal Presidio of San Carlos at Monterey” in June 1779. This code known as the “Reglamento” is regarded by capable judges as a most remarkable and valuable document. It was also Governor de Neve who founded the present city of Los Angeles, the original name of which was Neustra Señora de los Angeles, later shortened into Los Angeles. The towns of San Jose and Santa Clara also owe their foundation to de Neve, who selected the location of these cities around the mission sites. After eight years of office de Neve was marked for higher honors, and was succeeded by Governor Pedro Fages.

Governor Fages was a good and energetic man, but better fitted for the army than for the state; he was noted for his lofty principals of morality. Fages resigned his office and returned to Spain; he was not a tactful ruler, but like many others his name has suffered at the hands of unscrupulous writers. Fages was succeeded in 1790 by Governor José Antonio Romeú, a bright and able but very sickly man. Dr. Pablo Soler the excellent physician and surgeon of the Province of California was unable to help him; and Romeú died in Monterey in less than two years of office.

José de Arrillaga was the sixth governor. This governor was a finished general, and placed the presidios of California on a solid basis; he was painstaking and careful of detail. He resigned on account of private business affairs but later returned as he was reappointed governor of California.

The seventh governor was Diego de Boríca. Around this Governor cluster many beautiful pages of Spanish history in California; his was a character as gentle, religious and home-loving as he was scholarly and tactful. It was under Boríca’s administration that the boundary lines of Upper and Lower California were clearly defined. Boríca, however, was not a man who courted public life or honors, and resigned his office, returning to Spain with his charming wife and daughter who always longed for their mother country.

Before leaving Boríca did a good service to Spain and California in recommending the reappointment of José Joaquin Arrillaga. Arrillaga continued to organize strong military defenses for California. He served as Spanish Governor of California fourteen years, and first of all declared himself on all occasions “a loyal son of the Church.” He died at Mission Soledad on July 25, 1813, and was buried there. The only Spanish Governor to be buried in California.

The ninth Spanish Governor was José Dario Arguello, who was in office one year, the interval between the death of Arrillaga and the advent of Pablo Vicente de Solá the last Spanish Governor of California.

When Governor Solá took office in 1814, California had already bloomed into a garden of beautiful men and women, many of them from the mother country, others their children born in this distant province of Castile. Also many Yankee, Russian and English trading ships came to California then, and the Spanish presidios were the scenes of many brilliant dances and entertainment’s. These foreign vessels were always welcome; while the Governors were careful that the power of Spain was not infringed upon, perfect courtesy and friendliness was always maintained by both Spaniards and visitors. Thus when Governor Solá arrived to take his office he was given a royal welcome. Of course, it was in Monterey that every governor took up his residence (at the Royal Presidio) and their first act was to attend Solemn High Mass at the Royal Chapel of San Carlos of Monterey. Solá was no exception to the rule; amid salutes from the cannon of the Presidio and the cheers of loyal subjects, by the Catalonian cavalry, and their officers in their gorgeous velvet uniforms, gold swords and plumed hats, Solá proceeded to the Royal Chapel where the Franciscan Fathers awaited him in their priestly vestments. Three days of carnival followed, but on the second day Governor Solá withdrew from the festivities, made the Stations of the Cross[5] which the fathers had erected between Monterey and Carmelo, and on reaching San Carlos of Carmelo was shown to the tombs of Junipero Serra, Juan Crespí and Francisco de Laséun. Here the Governor knelt and remained long in prayer.

In California Solá found a pleasing contrast from the conditions of affairs he had seen during his sojourn in Mexico. In that country clouds of revolt against Spanish rule were rapidly gathering. California he found intensely loyal to the Crown. The neophytes and converted Indians greatly touched his generous soul, and the beauty of the country delighted him. Solá was in office eight years; his work was well done, and if California was lost to Spain under his administration, no less credit can be given to his ability and high principals of honor. Many times did Solá quell disturbances from revolutionary vessels which landed in Monterey from Mexico, and several attacks from pirates, and many a noble act is recorded of this loyal governor as well as of the no less loyal Spanish subjects of the Province. If the Mexican Government supplanted Spanish rule and “laid desolate” much of the work done by this brilliant period of California, we repeat it was due to no treachery or cowardice of Solá and his compatriots as we shall see elsewhere in this sketch. Spain came into possession of California with honor, maintained it with honor, and after her three-fold honorable policy of exploration, colonization and christianizing of its heathen natives, left it with honor, but her monuments remained. If a few political troubles and abuses existed, they pale before the light of the myriad of great deeds and purposes, and where is the country or people who are utterly flawless individually? No cruelties or uncleanness can ever be proven against Spain or her people here. Spanish society and refinement was the first which California saw; under Spain were thousands of Indians rescued from savagery, and under Spain was California made known to the world, as well as discovered. Under Spain too were the first land grants made to her subjects in California.

Some historians and casual observers are inclined to blame Spain for not having lent more aid to her loyal California colonies and enabled her presidios to have more and better fortifications. But let us examine these points more coolly. First of all this province was far away from the mother country, means of travel and communication were then far different from what they are now, and Spain was also busy with political troubles at home; she had always sent her most representative men as governors and officers, her settlers were no less worthy, most of them coming here with no “empty purse” as adventurers, but were men of education and standing in their country. The galaxy of saintly missionaries is superfluous to mention, so above are they of the least sting of reproach, and lastly so clean are the pages of Spanish history in California that no serious student of whatever race or creed he or she may be, can but deplore the calumnies that have at times been hurled at this golden period of California history. It was from the Spanish period of California that the present capital of the state dates having been named Santisimo Sacramento (Most Holy Sacrament) in honor of the Eucharistic Presence of the Altar. Thus we see the vein of piety of the Spanish settlers who gave names of religious significance to so many of the towns they founded, and even to their land grants. In fine these sterling men were worthy compatriots of those giant men and women which have appeared at different times in Spain. We refer to Saints, Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Dominic, Theresa of Jesus and a myriad others, also to the fair array of kings and queens, poets, artists, explorers, whose illustrious names would fill volumes.

When treading El Camino Real and kneeling by the sacred tombs of Junipero Serra and his hero band of soul-conquerors we may well recall that passage of the beautiful Hymn of the Knights of Columbus.

“Brothers we are treading
Where the saints have trod.”

[4] Alberto de Cordoba, an excellent engineer, surveyed the Harbor of San Francisco in 1813, at the request of Governor Boríca.

[5] A Catholic devotion in honor of Our Saviour’s Passion.

Chapter V

California Passes From Spanish to Mexican Rule, Secularization of the Missions

Amidst the beauty and glory of Spain’s dominion in California, while the gold emblazoned banners of Castile and Leon floated proudly under azure skies, while the Spanish governors, officers and colonists were doing honor and credit to their ancient race, and the saintly missionaries were working marvels for the souls and bodies of the aborigines of the land, while Spain was thus lending “her beauty and her chivalry” to California; Mexico, forgetting her old debt to Spain, when she explored her then heathen shores, had revolted against Spanish rule and set up an empire of her own, making Augustin Iturbide, a man of half Indian blood her Emperor. Immediately Mexico claimed California, as well as Texas, Arizona and New Mexico as a portion of her empire, although the people of California, with the exception of a handful of Mexicans, had never shown the least desire of change of government, for the greatest number of her settlers were Spaniards or their children who were intensely loyal to the Crown of Spain. Here we will add that no person who held any office of importance was any other than a Spaniard, or of purely Spanish blood or parentage, hence missionaries, bishops, army and navy officers, surgeons, etc. were all “children of Spain,” the highest decoration that a mixed blood could attain in the Spanish army of California or of Mexico was that of Corporal or Sergeant. But when Mexico gained her independence all these corporals and sergeants were suddenly made generals by their country, Mexico; and here was clearly seen “who was who” for all mixed bloods as well as those of purely Indian birth, both in Mexico and California raffled around their standard, the new Mexican flag; in this number we will only except many of the Christian Indians, in California, who clung piteously to the missions, and who had more of their share of suffering. This state of affairs enabled the new Mexican authorities, exultant over their victory in the gain of their independence, to send several war vessels to Monterey late in 1822 and demand of Governor Solá, the surrender of California in the name of Emperor Augustin Iturbide. As we have already seen, nowhere in Spain’s New World possessions was loyalty to the mother country more intense than in California, and the people, army and navy were loud in their demonstrations of opposition, and expressions of willingness were offered to the governor to fight the intrusion of Mexico to the end. But the comparative handful of soldiers of the various garrisons, as well as the few ships which the Spanish could muster in California were no match to the overwhelming forces from Mexico, and Governor Solá considered it no cowardly act but rather his conscience-bound duty to prevent a useless carnage, wisely preferring an honorable surrender under the circumstances. The prudence of this decision was soon seen in a clearer light by the people. It was thus that the grand old flag of Spain was hurled from her state fifty-three years after she had been hoisted amid the blessing of Junipero Serra, the salutes of her proud ships and the loyal acclamations of Portolá and her other gallant sons. Now Spanish rule was virtually ended in California, but we repeat, not dishonorably. Spain’s, work was well done, her chief purpose gained, namely, the exploration and christianizing of California.

As it took sometime for Mexico to mobilize her troops and settle her rule in California, the Royal Presidio of Monterey was not immediately emptied of its officers or of the Spanish families, whose positions entitled them to a residence there, and who continued to live there close on to 1824. Thus although the old familiar standard gave place to Mexico’s new red, white and green, the imprint of Spanish rule remained.

Indeed it was several years before Mexico could change the face of California, and the Spanish element continued to rule social life at least to a great extent through virtually all the Mexican period. The Mexican society of the time certainly contained some excellent exceptions, but as a general rule it was a sad contrast to that of the preceding period, nor had the ten governors of this era the energy or standing of the ever remembered Portolá, Boríca, de Neve, Arrillaga or Solá. At times, the Mexican authorities treated Spaniards shabbily for it is important to note that contrary to what many histories state, Spaniards unanimously refused to take the Constitutional Oath of Allegiance to Mexico, and withdrew as a consequence from all public affairs, only inasmuch as their family interests or the good of the community demanded their intervention. Thus we find no Spaniard as Governor, General, or the like during this period. But here a curious thing occurred. In later years when writers and historians of California became numerous many Mexicans declared themselves Spaniards or classed themselves as of purely Spanish descent, passing as such into some histories, while at the same time they did not hesitate to “sting” the Spanish name; and there are many California families who are referred to as “Spanish” whose ancestors in the baptismal and marriage records of the various mission archives are recorded as “neófita de la mission” (“neophyte of the mission”) for the Spanish missionaries were most accurate of details, and their records of marriages, baptisms and funerals are like sketches of the persons concerned; parentage, birth all are given in detail. Thus a child born of Spanish parents is referred to as “de calidad Española” (“of Spanish quality”) or if of some other purely foreign extraction the same is mentioned. And fortunate indeed, that this care of detail was had in the new country, else how would much valuable knowledge be obtained?

During our narrative we do not wish to lose sight of the fact that we have professed our work to be primarily a work of love, avoiding bitter truth, which can do no good, and avoiding personalities, hence the absence of names may be noted in this chapter, but it is invariably the unpleasant duty of a writer to tell some unpleasant things in a historical sketch, else how could justice be done to others, and how straighten misunderstandings? We do not wish to merely cast aspersions at the Mexican race or any other, for the gross and sordid not to say sinful delight of doing so, but we wish to present to the reader plain facts of this period of history. Here we will add that even as “there is beauty in a blade of grass” there were and are good qualities and virtues in many individual Mexicans, but we cannot but wonder at the contrast of the two first periods of our state’s history, and at the difference so vast between two races and characters so often absurdly confused. Here, we must mention perhaps the most deplorable incidents of this period, incidents to which in spite of ourself we have so often alluded, namely the Acts of Secularization of the missions. First, we will mention that some writers accuse Spain of having passed an Act of Secularization of Mission property in 1813, but such an assertion is considered unfounded by good authorities, perhaps it had rise from the fact that disturbances against Spanish rule were felt in Mexico as early as that period and echoes of it reached the small Mexican faction of California, causing much uneasiness to the missionaries. But three Acts of Secularization of the missions were passed in the years 1826, 1829 and 1835. And what did not the good fathers with their neophytes and converts suffer! And what did not the many loyal friends of these beloved fathers not suffer with them through sympathy! Indeed no Spaniard or his descendants can speak of those Acts without the crimson of just indignation mounting to the cheek. But Spaniards were powerless to check the lawlessness of the times. The missions were gradually but slowly dispossessed of their lawful property, and all their wealth confiscated, several times were many of the dear Spanish fathers deported; they returned to Spain where a warm welcome awaited them, but how sad to leave their missions reared by the most heroic labors of the “martyr stuff” within them or their immediate predecessors, Serra, Lasuén, Lopez, Dumetz, Crespí, Paloú, names “held in benediction;” and what would become of their poor converted Indians who clung to them so faithfully and whom they had raised to the plane of christian men and women from nakedness, savagery and paganism! Besides the missionaries, many other Spaniards, too, were put on a list of those to be deported, among these there would not have been much resistance offered, as the changes of the government were sad enough, but before the resolution was carried out, while many of them were settling their affairs and preparing to leave, a few of the better class of Mexicans interposed, saying, “the Spaniards’ are of greater value to the Province than any harm which could ever come from their presence, it behooves us to let them remain,” so under the condition that they would not be interfered with, and that no oath of allegiance to Mexico would be forced from them, the Spanish families remained, and their presence indeed was of “greater value” than for which credit has been given them. American, English and Russian trading ships continued to make their appearance in Monterey, to these were added French ships. Several mercantile establishments existed, carried on chiefly by Spaniards and Englishmen, and gay little social gatherings and dances still went on.

In 1823 Mexico overthrew her empire and established a republic. But throughout this period, disturbances and guerrillas scarcely ever ceased, while the gradual but sure devastation of the missions and the behavior of the authorities towards the beloved padres heightened the indignation of all noble-minded citizens and increased the unpopularity of the governors and authorities, most of whom were so very different to the Spanish governors, who at all times declared themselves “loyal sons of mother Church” and of whom no record of the practice of the contrary exists save a very few minor differences in defining the extent of military and ecclesiastical power. Good Bishop Garcia Diego, Bishop of California and worthy Prince of the Church was also a sufferer on several occasions from the disrespect of the civil authorities of Mexico, who even tried to prevent his landing in Monterey, the seat of the diocese then. Let us repeat a few Mexican authorities were exceptions of this type, but as we have said, these were few indeed, and slowly Mexican power began to wane. United States, England and France all stood in line for possession of California as soon as a ripe opportunity presented itself. This plan was most welcome to the Spaniards, who contrary to the statements of some prominent historians, entertained no dislike for any of these nations. Spaniards, like some others only wished that a happier and better government would supplant the inactive yet turbulent government of Mexico, who had hurled the Spanish flag from her position years before and despoiled the missions of their wealth and glory. Thus United States Consul, Thomas Larkin was always well received in the homes of the Spanish families and in turn Mr. Larkin always referred to them in words of praise. Meantime, things went from bad to worse, a change of government seemed inevitable. We will soon see how this came about.

The only things for which Mexican rule in California was noted, was the continuation of the making of large land grants, and an easy, careless existence without the “hurry and flurry” of today; feasting, making merry, and great parties in the “rancherias” where there were always large “spreads;” it was during this period chiefly that the typical Mexican dishes of tamales, enchiladas, and others which are still relished in California were introduced in this province. In a word this was the period of the sweet “mañana,” where everyone seemed to have time to enjoy the “dolce far niente” and exercised an open handed generosity with regard to the “fleeting goods of earth.”

Chapter VI

California Passes From Mexican to American Rule

The year 1846 found the Mexican government in California struggling with a poor exchequer and some of its leaders in an unfriendly mood towards one another on account of petty differences, while France, England and United States waited eagerly for an opportunity to seize California, nor may their desire be termed dishonest since a change of government each day seemed more inevitable.

Americans had often been treated with hostility and not given their lawful rights under the existing form of government in California. Just about this time United States Consul, Thomas O. Larkin had been sent to Monterey and Captain John Fremont to Northern California, the latter presumably to survey the country of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Coast in the interests of travel, but the real reason of the presence of these gentlemen in California was thought to be, that they should keep a close watch on the turn of affairs.

When circumstances shaped themselves for the worst, a party of Americans at Sonoma headed by Captain Ezekiel Merritt gave the first signal of uprising which led to the establishment of the Bear Flag Republic of California. These men applied to Captain Fremont for help, but as Fremont was an officer in the United States army, he could not personally take a hand in the affair without authority from the United States Government, but left his men free to join Captain Merritt’s ranks, and many did so. Under Captain Merritt the Americans captured horses and arms from a Mexican regiment on the march for Sonoma, also the garrison of Sonoma; encouraged by this William B. Ide, one of Merritt’s chief advisers and successor issued a Proclamation which launched the Bear Flag Republic into its existence of twenty-four days. This Proclamation was a praiseworthy document, stating the grievances of the American settlers, namely unfriendliness and threats of expulsion, also declaring the justice of overthrowing a government which had confiscated mission property calling upon the assistance of peace-loving citizens of California and promising not to molest persons who had not taken up arms. The Bear Flag of the Republic of California was then designed by a Mr. William Todd and hoisted in Sonoma on June 14, 1846, also in Monterey. The American flag could not be hoisted because the actions of this party of Americans had virtually been unauthorized, and they would have been responsible to the United States for so doing, however, it was their intention to turn over their conquests to the United States as soon as possible. But the Mexican military authorities regarded the actions of these Americans as a gross hostility, and from all sides prepared to attack them. The position of this plucky little band now became very perilous, and again they laid their cause and dangers before Fremont, who was in his camp on the American River. Now the Captain did not hesitate in his decision and with a small mounted force began action on the field. Fremont was a man of many commendable qualities, possessed of bright mentality, unwavering and extremely loyal to the American cause, but he had his failings, among them being that on several occasions he took advantage of the tangled state of affairs, to seize upon personal property considered without the range of his lawful power to take, hence the dislike that exists for him among many old California residents; still it was the “Pathfinder” as he was called, who with Commodore Robert Stockton, Lieutenant Archibald Giliespie in command at Los Angeles, General Stephen Kearny and some others fought the brief battles which terminated in the raising of the American flag at the Custom House of Monterey on July 7, 1846, thus was California admitted into the Union as a territory. By a treaty of peace which followed the Mexican War, California was ceded to the United States for the sum of $15,000,000 in 1848. Among Monterey’s landmarks Colton Hall is pointed out as the place where representative men from various parts of California convened and framed the first American Constitution for the State, September 3, 1849. On November third of the same year the first election was held, with the result that Peter H. Burnett was elected Governor, John McDougall, Lieutenant-Governor, and Edward Gilbert and John Wright first Congressmen from California. From Monterey the State Capital was removed to San José, where John Fremont and William Gwin were appointed senators, and it was they who pressed the Government to admit California as a state, with the result that California was admitted as such on September 9, 1850. Major Robert Selden Garnett, U. S. A. designed the state seal.

In 1854 the capital was removed to Sacramento from Benicia which held it one year, San José having held it two years as, also Vallejo.

The discovery of gold in 1849 brought on a mad rush of all classes of people into California and acts of lawlessness and violence became numerous and frequent; for the purpose of checking these disorders the “Committee of Vigilance” was formed in San Francisco in 1851. This committee was composed of responsible men and much good came of it but like in so many enterprises of the kind, many abuses were committed and many innocent persons were unjustly punished.

As soon as affairs became settled and order established, American rule in California became marked by progress and order, the discovery of gold brought on a wonderful increase in population and more towns and cities sprung throughout the state.

Much indeed could be said of the present, but as our story is only a brief sketch intended to deal chiefly with the beloved old missions and missionaries, and unravel if but a few of the tangled skeins of misrepresentation cast about the older history of the state which is more wrapt in mystery, with warm gratitude for what the present is and for what the future will bring, we will return to the traces of the good fathers whose missions are still the wonders of California, with them we can still hear the chimes of mission bells.

Chapter VII

Mission Anecdotes and Hymns

Told of Father Vicente Sarría

Father Vicente Sarría, a venerable and saintly missionary in charge of Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad at the time the first two acts of Secularization were passed, was one of the keenest sufferers from the injustices of the times, undergoing untold labors and hardships, which in no small degree contributed to his death in 1833, which found him at his post of duty at the mission. Father Sarría’s reputation for sanctity was well known throughout California, particularly in Monterey and Soledad, and after his death it was no strange thing to hear both from Caucasian and Indian such an ejaculation as “alma de nuestro Padre Sarría, ayudanos con tu intercesion” (soul of our Father Sarría help us by your intercession). Of course this pious demonstration was not public because for many wise reasons, the church forbids the public veneration or invocation of a saint until the required process of canonization has authorized it, however, the allowable private invocation was freely practiced as it has been done in the case of other saintly missionaries, namely, Junipero Serra, Magin Catalá and others. And the following sweet legend is told of Padre Sarría. As the Indian carriers lowered the humble redwood coffin which contained the Father’s precious remains into the mission vaults, the edifice was filled with an exquisite fragrance as of roses, and this story told with all earnestness was given much credence about the mission towns. While not authenticated by infallible investigation, may not this incident be classed at least as a probability by the spiritual minded? For is it not in the power of the God of the beautiful in nature to proclaim thus His appreciation for the heroic charity of one of His servants, especially to strengthen the faith of the sorely tried convert Indians who clung so lovingly to the mission in the days of its trials?

Father Junipero Serra’s Promise

One beautiful summer day while walking about the San Carlos Mission Garden, Junipero Serra pondered over the wonderful progress of California both in the spiritual and material order; filled with joy the good priest blessed the land, and made a solemn promise to celebrate one hundred masses for the future peace and prosperity of California, moreover he promised to begin the fulfillment of his promise on the following November, twenty-fourth, feast of Saint Charles, the patron saint of the mission. Soon after, the venerable Serra was overtaken by his last illness and went to his reward before November, the twenty-fourth. But every year on the eve of the feast of Saint Charles just before midnight a ghostly procession wended its way to San Carlos Mission, for all the missionaries, Spaniards, or their descendants who had ever lived in California would arise from their graves and with them all the Christian Indians of the mission towns joined the “ghostly throng” to San Carlos where Junipero Serra would arise from his tomb and celebrate mass while the spirits sang their ancient hymns, after which all the scene vanished like silver fumes of smoke, and this continued for one hundred years. This most unlikely legend has been told in beautiful Spanish and English poetry, and for all its unlikelihood has found its way with its weird charm into many homes.

A True Story

Somewhere in the eighteen fifties a non-catholic of very irreligious character, made targets of the eyes of a statue of Saint Benedict, belonging to San Carlos Mission, taking advantage of the neglected condition of the place at the time. A few days after this proceeding the man was struck blind. This incident is no legend, but within the remembrance of many old residents of Monterey. The unfortunate man later acknowledged that his calamity was a direct visitation of Almighty God for his gross and intentional irreverence to the image of a saint. The writer refrains from giving the name of this man who has long ere this passed to the “Great Beyond” but many Montereyans, who will read this sketch will know it.

Countless stories and legends of mission times are told and written without the least foundation for veracity, for example the story of “The Lost Pearls of Loretto;” others are founded on facts but distorted beyond recognition. Still this is not startling in a land as full of sentiment and romance as California, where so many writers, (most of them “New-comers”) have given vent to their poetical imaginations, and it is not hard to believe that the eventful history of the state contained many authentic stories, and legends with some ground of truth.

Hymn to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary[6].

“Para dar vida mortál
A Un Dios Autor de la vida
Sois Maria concebída
Sin pecádo originál.”

“Para humillar la serpiénte
Que con su mortál venéno
Dejó todo el mundo lléno
De su aliento pestilénte
Que marcó à todo viviénte
Con el sello mas fatál
Sois Maria concebida
Sin pecado originál.”

“Como Estér la mas amada
Del mas generoso Asuéro
Gracia recibes priméro
Que estés del crimen manchada
Pues para no ser contáda
En la indignacion reál
Sois Maria concebida
Sin pecádo originál.”

“Ciudad fuérte y mas hermósa
Que de Asírio acometida
No logrará vérte herída
Su saeta ponzoñosa
Pues para ser victoriosa
De su poder infernál
Sois Maria concebida
Sin pecado originál.”

“Luna lléna de esplandor
Sin ser nunca eclipsáda
Porque fuiste iluminada
De un sol de poder, y amor
Pues por no ver el horror
De un eclipse criminál
Sois Maria concebida
Sin pecado originál.”

“Mujer heróica y valiente
Que con divino valor
Pisas gloriósa el furor
De la engañósa serpiente
Pues por no temer el diente
De aqeste monstro infernál
Sois Maria concebida
Sin pecado originál.”

“Virgen que de nuestro suélo
Subes vestida de estrellas
Mas bela que las mas bellas
A ser la gloria del ciélo
Pues para tan alto vuélo
Con un favor sin iguál
Sois Maria concebida
Sin pecado originál.”

“Patrona la mas amada
De nuestro suélo Español
Nuestro mas luciente sol
En la noche desgraciada
Pues para ser proclamada
Con el voto mas cordiál
Sois Maria concebida
Sin pecado originál.”

“Concede en fin Madre amada
A tus hijos este dia
La mas cristiána alegria
Y la muerte deseada
Para que seas cantada
En la patria celestial
Sois Maria concebida
Sin pecado originál.”

[6] This beautiful hymn is found in many ancient Spanish books of devotion.

Chapter VIII

Retrospection of the work of the Spanish Missionaries, Explorers and Settlers and their place in California’s Appreciation

We have followed the venerable band of missionaries from their homes in Spain, where fired with zeal for the conversion of the savage heathen of the New World they set out for the comparatively newly discovered land of Mexico, where Spain had already a few establishments and churches, an archbishopric in the city of Mexico, and the Franciscan Fathers a well equipped monastery and mission at San Fernando in the northern part of the country. We have seen the Spanish Franciscans’ zeal in the land of the Aztec, and we have also seen the noble cooperation given them by the government and civil authorities of Catholic Spain. We have traced the missionaries’ steps, followed by gallant Portolá, and his fellow officers and men, and have sympathized and rejoiced with them in their hardships and joys. We have no doubt, often marveled at the stupendous work of the Sons of Saint Francis in the conversion of the unenlightened heathen, and have seen the Indian tribes turn from the worship of idols to the altar of the one true God.

Let us now give a brief glance at the work so nobly done by the immortal heroes which Catholic Spain sent to these shores. Many a time, winter blasts of misunderstanding and wrong have been cast upon them, and many a time have noble sympathizers fought just battles with prejudice in their behalf, with the blessed result that the thickest clouds of errors and “threadbare calumnies” have almost entirely disappeared, and with them the remaining mists of wrong are fast vanishing at the powerful approach of truth’s sun, so that in relating the glories of that legion of splendid characters whose names are so tenderly clasped about the fondest memories of mission times, we shall not forget their friends and champions of later years.

But first let us see what the brave Spanish pioneers did for California. We will begin with the missionaries. To them we owe the conversion of the heathen and savage Indians, which work was super-human in itself, and which contrary to the statements of libelers, the fathers accomplished with heroic patience and charity, teaching the Indians besides religion, useful trades, civilizing them, and taking such conscientious care of them that they made a nightly round of their quarters, not with whip in hand to punish imaginary misdemeanor, but to see that the spiritual and temporal welfare of their converts and neophytes, was guarded, and so great was the attachment of the Indians to the fathers that if a father was called on business from one mission to another, the Indians would follow him a long distance weeping. Very few of the Indians were taught the art of reading, not because the fathers were in any way unwilling to teach it, but because for this one art most of the Indians showed no desire or willingness to learn, yet this has given the ever ready, unscrupulous writer food for saying that “the fathers endeavored to keep the Indians in ignorance” and the healthy rule of the fathers with its hours of prayer, labor, instruction and recreation for the Indian families in the mission quarters, has been distorted by erroneous histories, and statements have been made by some writers to the effect that “the Indians were treated harshly and oppressed.” Whereas under what nation were Indians or unenlightened natives christianized, allowed to remain in their lands or treated with more humanity than under Spain or her missionaries, wherever they explored and wherever they went?

“Harsh, oppressive, endeavoring to keep the Indians in ignorance,” if such actions mean all that these saintly missionaries accomplished, if they mean their leaving refinement, christianity, fond home and kindred in distant Spain to brave untold hardships, nay, martyrdom, to rescue souls from paganism, and if such conduct as “harshness, oppression, endeavoring to keep the Indians in ignorance” could be compatible with the practice of heroic virtue and acts of mortification of mind and body which to the spiritual man or woman appear beyond words of admiration, to the scoffer and frivolous (but for this latter class we are not writing) foolish and impossible. The missions too, with their honest wealth and industry were California’s first centers of enlightenment and refinement. The Spanish missionaries were scholars as well as religious, and their institutions were California’s cradles of literature, music and learning hand in hand with religion. To these early fathers we owe the first paintings and statues brought to California, while their well equipped missions, even contained medicine chests and medical books, to them we also owe the first architecture in the building of the missions, the first agricultural implements, even the first system of irrigation, in the state; to these we may add the first stock of sheep, cattle, horses, the first fruits, vineyards and teeming grain fields, yes, even the first roses of California were brought here by them, and it was from the missions that Dr. Robert Semple borrowed the printing type, wherewith he printed the first newspaper in California, which appeared in Monterey in 1846, making the letter “w” by joining two vs as the Spanish alphabet contains twenty-five letters, “w” excepted.

And if the Spanish missionaries did so much what did the Spanish civil and military authorities and settlers do? To Spanish explorers we owe the discovery and exploration of California, as well as of South America, Mexico and other portions of the New World, including the Pacific Ocean; indeed is it not to Spain and her good Queen Isabella the Catholic, to whom we really owe the discovery of America by Columbus? But not to deviate from Spain’s work in California, it was the early Spanish governors who first framed laws and drew up a constitution in California, and it was they who made the first land grants, it was by Spanish explorers too that the first maps of California were drawn, under Spanish rule were many of the present towns and cities founded, from Spain came the first dawn of refinement and civilization, the first army and navy, the first artists, musicians, physicians and skilled workmen, in fine the first white child born in California was born of Spanish parents settled in Monterey. And what was the record of Spain’s dominion in California? Setting aside unfounded calumnies as absurd as the one which claims that Philip II passed a law sentencing to death any foreigner who set foot on Spain’s dominions in the New World, relegating such lies to where they belong, Spain’s rule in her New World possessions, including California was marked by humanity as well as energy. Cortes, Pizzaro, Vizcaino, Coronado, Menendez, Ponce de Leon, Cabeza de Vaca, Balboa, as well as the later “pathfinders” governors and viceroys of Catholic Spain, were men of honor, and sobriety to whose names no “butcheries and cruelties” may be justly attached.

Perhaps one of the best proofs of Catholic Spanish humanity is the fact of the preservation of the aborigines of the land wherever Spanish conquests were made. Take for example, the statistics of the last census of Mexico which reveal that of a population of 15,000,000 souls 7,000,000 are pure Indian 5,000,000 mestizos or of mixed Indian and foreign extraction and only 3,000,000 foreigners or of Mexican birth but of purely foreign extraction. Take, California, Arizona, New Mexico and other former Spanish possessions of whom the same may be said in proportion. In these places no Indian reservations are seen as where the Puritans held sway. If Spain were guilty of the cruelties so falsely imputed to her, Mexico in particular would be a Spanish or Latin-American Republic, as it is, she may hardly be termed as such. But Catholic Spain acted as explorer, civilizer and with her venerable missionaries sponsor to the conversion of the heathen tribes of her New World colonies, leaving in them the traces of her enlightenment and christianity, yes, leaving them monuments of her humanity!

On the absurd and ludicrous application of the term “Spanish” in our midst to many persons who have no claim to it by either birth or descent we will not dwell, as we would not cheapen our sketch by stooping to discuss such ignorance or insult our intelligent readers by writing on such foolishness, we will only ask their permission to say that many so-called intelligent people have no conception of the Spanish type, race or character, but these we will leave “a la luna de Valencia” as an ancient Spanish saying would express such cases. The California families of Spanish descent are comparatively few, this being noted especially by Spanish visitors to California.

But what of Spanish generosity at home, when the missionaries were toiling for souls in the New World? Many a pious Spaniard in Spain and in Mexico subscribed immense sums for the missions of California, both for the Jesuit and the Franciscan missions. Thus we find the pious Marquis de Villa Puente subscribing $200,000 for “missions, vessels and other necessities of California.” The Duchess of Gandía subscribed $60,000 for the same purpose in 1767 and many others followed the same example until the “Pius Fund of the Missions of California” amounted to over two million dollars. At the time of the Secularization of the Missions, the Mexican Government confiscated a large remaining portion of this “Pious Fund.” In 1853 the Spanish Archbishop Alemany, then Bishop of Monterey and successor of Bishop Diego from whom the “Pious Fund” had been taken, started a litigation which was continued in turn by his worthy successor Archbishop Patrick Riordan of the archdiocese of San Francisco, with the good result that Mexico was made to pay the sum of $43,050 in Mexican currency annually as the interest at six per cent on the sum of $1,460,682 of the “Pious Fund” which the national treasury of Mexico had appropriated on the promise of Mexico to act as trustee of the fund and pay an interest of six per cent which it had failed to pay since its appropriation at the time of the Mexican regime in California. Moreover, Mexico had agreed to pay this interest to the object intended by the donors of the fund, namely, “to the church, for the conversion of the natives of California, for the establishment, maintenance and extension of the Catholic Church, her faith and worship, in said country of Upper and Lower California.” The litigation was won through the intervention of the United States Government which Archbishop Riordan invoked through his counsel, and decided by arbitrators under the Hague Convention in 1899. The first payment was made on February 2, 1903.

Perhaps it is not amiss to quote here a small portion of the speech delivered in Washington, D. C. by Hon. Joseph Scott of Los Angeles on the occasion of a banquet following the unveiling ceremonies of the memorial erected in honor of Christopher Columbus by Act of Congress. Among the speakers present at the banquet were Ex-President William Taft (then president), Cardinal Gibbons, Speaker Champ Clark, Ex-speaker Joseph Cannon, Congressman Underwood, Judge Victor Dowling of the Supreme Court of New York and many other notable men of the nation.

“It affords me unbounded pleasure to have an opportunity to deliver an expression, feeble though it be, of the sentiments of the Knights of Columbus of the great West, and particularly of California, regarding the significance of this great day. Mr. John Barrett of the Pan-American Union has already given you food for sober thought in the parallel he has drawn of the marvelous activity and resourcefulness of the Latin-American republics. Possibly I may be permitted at this time to inject a suggestion that, despite the remarks of the previous speaker about Boston as the modern Athens and the seat of universal learning, “Modern Athens” has nothing in common with the memories aroused by contemplation of the events which we celebrate today. It may be well to tell our friends from New England that before the so-called Anglo-Saxon had set foot as a colonist upon the American soil, the followers of Columbus had penetrated into the heart of Kansas and gone down as far as Buenos Ayres. I want to lay stress upon the fact that we have not noted too emphatically today that it was the great Spanish race, with its strong and sterling faith, which accomplished this wonderful mission of civilization. Too long have we endured the stress of so-called history written by Prescott and others, some of whom ought to have been put in the Ananias club before they were born. For nearly three centuries the Spanish race, with its indomitable faith, pursued almost alone its mission of civilization and evangelization of the aborigines of America. Before the Pilgrim Fathers had landed on Plymouth Rock, the Catholic Spaniard had acquired a knowledge of the Indian language sufficient to enable him to translate the Bible into the Aztec Indian language, so that the new Indian neophyte could read the story of “God’s greatest Book” in his mother tongue.”

The Courage of Catholic Spain

I wish to advise those of you who speak now of a burden of four days and nights in luxurious Pullman cars to step out on the soil of California as though you had performed a deed of heroism, that a Spanish soldier, Cabeza de Vaca, with the courage of primitive Christianity, walked from Florida to the Gulf of California, though it took him seven years to accomplish his task; and the wonderfully brave Friar Marcos de Niza pioneered his way on foot thirteen hundred miles into the heart of Arizona through deserts and hordes of Apaches, in his efforts to plant the cross of civilization among the children of the new world. Nay, the Grand Canyon of Arizona, now one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, was seen by a young Spanish lieutenant and his twenty soldiers three hundred years before the Anglo-Saxon took a glimpse at its wonderful and awe-inspiring beauty. These and other similar facts are attested by the report of the Bureau of Ethnology of Washington, as well as by many other reliable authorities, including that singularly gifted and scholarly student of Spanish history and folk lore, Charles F. Lummis of Los Angeles, himself a Puritan on both sides of his house for several generations back. It was the fortitude of this Spanish race, coupled by its strong devotion to the faith which you and I profess, which enabled them to solve the Indian problem as it has never been attempted since. While under our present system of the government of this United States, the Indian has been an outcast and a derelict to be robbed and cheated by his white brother, yet on the other hand the Spanish missionary brought into the life of the simple native of the new world the wholesome light of Christianity, which made him recognize in the Red Man the same soul which was made in the image and likeness of the common Creator of us all. In that spirit of brotherhood and charity he obtained the confidence and good will of the Indians, almost without exception, throughout the length and breadth of the countries that he explored. And while his path was beset with dangers from the grim forces of nature, and occasionally the crown of martyrdom was given to him by an unthinking hand of those he was coming to evangelize, yet he faltered not in his footsteps.

Today the memory of Columbus may be coupled with and attributed, on our part, to the splendid heroism and Christian fortitude of the great Spanish race which continued the work of Columbus with all that it entailed for the betterment of humanity.”

In compliance with our promise not to forget the friends of the missionaries and of their compatriots, of today, we will first speak of California’s wonderful enthusiasm in the celebration of the Bi-centenary of Junipero Serra’s birth. Of the privileged thousands who visited Monterey on November 23, 1913 and made a pilgrimage to Serra’s tomb at San Carlos Mission, how many will efface that sight from their minds in years to come? But this awe-inspiring sight to which Reverend Raymond Mestres and the Franciscan Fathers of San Francisco, contributed so much, and in which the Third Order of Saint Francis so prominently participated will be yearly renewed. Ecclesiastical and civil authorities, towns and cities, individuals, all had the “right spirit.” The accounts of the press were glowing. Mr. Frank Powers of Carmel-by-the-Sea was California’s representative at the celebration which Spain did not fail to hold in honor of her illustrious son; and Mr. Powers indeed proved a worthy representative, returning to California with renewed enthusiasm for the saintly Serra, and his lectures have been listened to with keen delight. And can any praise seem superfluous for California’s apostles in particular for the saintly Serra? At the civil exercises, held in Monterey on the occasion of the celebration we are speaking of, Senator Reginaldo del Valle, of Los Angeles, Mr. Michael Williams and Mr. Charles Phillips of San Francisco each paid exquisite tributes to our hero whom the opening lines of Mr. Phillips’ beautiful ode described as:

“A young boy dreaming by the Spanish main: Knee-high in waving grain
He halts at eve and dreams,
Where green Majorca fronts the cycling sea, And far worlds ceaselessly
Beckon with passing sail and swinging tide, And plunging galleons ride
Home from adventure, or away, away To silken bright Cathay,
Or where dark India her golden treasure yields; A young boy dreaming in his father’s fields, Who plucks a lily from the bending wheat And stands with veiléd gaze and searching eyes Pale with some great emprise,
Beyond the homing waters of his isle, Beyond Majorca’s skies;–
And dreams and dreams the while!”

“And they who love him wonderingly ask: “What lad is this of ours
Who dreams away the hours,
And when the windy night-tide running sings, So strangely seems
Converse to hold with far compelling things? Or what these spirit-smiling ecstasies,” They reverent cry,
“That halt him at his task
And hold him trancéd in bright reveries? Is this our lad, indeed,
Who with such Heaven-given grace– Ay, with the light of Heaven on his face!– Makes question of the very world about?”

One of the sweetest features of this day was that hereafter by a decree of Governor Hiram Johnson, who also did not fail to send a representative to Monterey in the person of Judge Griffin, November the twenty-fourth was declared a state holiday. May Serra day long be welcomed by loyal Californians! We cannot close this chapter after speaking of the bright constellation of the past which appeared in California skies so many years ago, and whose traces we so cherish, without saying a few words about that worthiest of worthy movements to restore the dear old missions of El Camino Real according to their traditional lines, here again Reverend Father Mestres of Monterey deserves the greatest credit in this enterprise, and the Knights of Columbus of the California councils have proved themselves great helpers in the plan. King Alfonso, his minister, Señor Juan Riaño, the Marquis de la Vega y Inclan who will be King Alfonso’s representative at the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915, are hearty supporters and sponsors of this movement, and with cooperation from faithful friends and the sanction of the Bishop of the diocese of Monterey and Los Angeles, we have no doubt that these glorious landmarks, some of which have alas too long been allowed to go to “wreck and ruin” while others are still more or less neglected, after the cruel years which extinguished their sanctuary lamps, left their altars bare and their belfries silent save for the hooting of the night owls, will ere long be in the proper repair to hand down with pride to posterity; and to further repair these holy temples and place them under their historical and original plans the most fitting priests to whom we could entrust them (at least wherever the necessary satisfactory arrangements are possible) are Spanish priests, compatriots of their founders, this too would serve to continue and strengthen the old friendly relations between Spain and California, and as whatever Spanish priests would take charge of the missions, would be scholarly men speaking both English and Spanish, the English speaking congregations would be well served. About three of the old missions are under Spanish priests now. Let us then not cease our efforts until every mission cross gleams gloriously in the radiance of the California sun, until the devotional chimes of mission bells peal forth again from every silent belfry, until the altar light beams again before each tabernacle enclosing the Eucharistic Presence, until the empty niches contain again the images which decked them as of yore, until each tomb of sainted missionary is restored, until mass is again daily said within these consecrated walls, and finally until San Carlos of Carmelo is again a worthier Carmel, “for the greater honor and glory of God” and the praises of His Virgin Mother once more are sung about this smiling valley where the Christian Indian children gathered the beautiful wild flowers of the blooming meadows to adorn the hallowed shrines, ere chimed the Angelus at evenings mellow glow.

Chapter IX

Reverend Raymond M. Mestres of Monterey Writes Historical Drama–“Fray Junipero”

Beautiful among beautiful historical dramas is the mission play “Fray Junipero” written by Reverend Raymond Mestres, pastor of San Carlos Church (Capilla Real de San Carlos) of Monterey. Many men and women have undertaken to write about mission times, but we may safely assert that this good priest so unassuming in what he does, is above all qualified to handle this subject, being first of all a religious, a native of Barcelona, the Metropolis of the Province of Catalonia, which can claim Junipero Serra and so many of the early Spanish missionaries, explorers and settlers, and being too an artist and scholar in every way acquainted with the history of the missions, having made it a special study during his twenty-seven years of residence (as a priest) in four mission towns of California, twenty-one of which have been spent in that chief of mission towns, Monterey.

Unbiased, careful of detail and true to history, while not wanting in artistic setting “Fray Junipero” carries the audience in Act I back to the College of Fernando, when Junipero Serra received his commission to come to California as Father President of the Missionaries who were to christianize that “mysterious vineyard.” Act II is a typical picture of California Indian Life. Act III depicts the landing of Serra and Portolá on the shores of Monterey, the taking possession of the land in the name of King Carlos III and the celebration of Junipero Serra’s first Mass in Monterey; all facts are taken from the archives preserved in San Carlos Church, consequently historically authentic. Act IV pictures a piquant fiesta scene with Spanish dancing, the scene being laid in the Carmel Valley on the occasion of the baptism of the first white child born in Monterey. This child was born of Spanish parents, Pasqual and Terésa Segura and in baptism received the name of Carlos. According to the records this baptism occurred in May 18, 1782, the ceremony being performed by Fray Junipero Serra just two years before his death. With very slight changes in the names this incident is taken from the archives of San Carlos Mission. Act V represents Fray Junipero Serra receiving the last Sacraments, his death and the grief of the people.

In writing “Fray Junipero” Reverend Raymond Mestres intended it to commemorate the Bicentenary of our hero’s birth, and was presented for the first time in Monterey on August 28th, 1913 by local talent. This will be an annual event at Monterey on the same date, August 28th, which is the anniversary of Fray Junipero Serra’s death. In spite of poor advertisement the first production of this drama was a decided success. It was intended to be played three nights, but by request a fourth night was added.

As this sketch goes to press, the rehearsing of the second year of the production of “Fray Junipero” begins with great improvement in the staging, and a greater promise of success as it is now much more widely known.

May an ancient Spanish Nativity Play for Christmastide, which Reverend Raymond Mestres intends to translate into English, and which contains glorious music, and a history of mission times, which this scholarly pastor of San Carlos Church has in store, soon delight Californians and California’s yearly tide of tens of thousand visitors.


Letter of Junipero Serra[7].

“Long live Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

“R. P. Fr. Miguel de Petra.

“My dearest nephew, brother and Sir.

“It was not for want of love that I did not answer some of your letters. For it was not merely bodily that I left my beloved country. I could have been communicating with many persons by letters and friends, both in and outside our order, but, if our minds were constantly intent upon what we once left, what would be the use of leaving it?

“I wrote a long letter to your reverence after your religious profession. Besides, your reverence heard of me through the Padre Lector Verger, who is at present our guardian. I received your letter when I was among the Gentiles over three hundred leagues away from any Christian settlement. There is my life and there, I hope, God helping, to die. When this hour comes, some member of our province will take care to notify our brethren that they may pray for me, and then, your reverence will know it. What else does your reverence desire? Your reverence lives among saints, and, therefore I do not deem you in need of my advice and counsel, which indeed would be the only justifiable motive for my writing.

“Let us improve and make good use of our time, let us walk worthy of the vocation in which we were called, let us work out our spiritual salvation, with fear and trembling, and that of our brethren, with the most ardent charity and zeal, and let all glory be to our great God. In connection with this, I took great pleasure in learning that your reverence was preaching a mission at Ivisa when Padre Commissary Verger passed through there. The time given to this apostolic ministry with the blessing of your superiors, preaching in your words and deeds, hearing confessions with love and patience, I believe, will be the best and most fruitful you ever spent.

“Though a lukewarm, bad and an unprofitable servant, I remember every day in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, my only and most dear sister Juana, your mother, her children, and specially my Capuchin. I hope all of you do the same for me that the Lord may secure me from all dangers among these naked and barbarous peoples. Let this be our mutual correspondence, and let God do the rest.

“And that I may give your reverence some news of my destination, I beg your reverence to look on the maps of America. You will see in the shores of the South Sea, most improperly called Pacific, the Peninsula of California [Lower California]. I was there for a year in the capacity of President of the Missions already founded by the exiled Jesuit Fathers. Then followed north along the same coast and just a little before what is called Cabo Mendosino, you will find in some maps, the title or name the Port of Monte Rey.

“There your uncle lives, among those poor people. There I went with the first Christians in 1770. There I sang the first Mass and there I have been in company with Fr. Juan Crespi until the latter part of August. Then I left for this college in order to transact some very important business with the Most Excellent Lord Viceroy concerning the maintenance and increase of those Christian settlements and the establishment of those already proposed and planned, or that may be planned.

“Thanks to God, I have been kindly received and given close attention by His Excellency and he has granted me whatever I have asked of him; so, God helping, I hope for a quick and very extensive expansion and spreading of our Holy Faith and of the domains of our Catholic King.

“In addition to one Mission where we spread Christianity in California [Lower California] which I called San Fernando de Vellixata, there are five already founded in that far off land; Monterey which said Padre Crespi and I administer, San Antonio de Padua, twenty-five leagues distant, with Padre President, Fr. Miguel Pieras and Fr. Buenaventura Sitjar; that of San Luis Obispo, twenty-five leagues farther away, where I placed two religious members of the Province of Catalonia, Padre Juncosa and Padre Cavallier, that of San Gabriel, seventy leagues farther away towards California [Lower California], for which I appointed one father from the Province of Los Angeles and another from that of Andalucia; and finally that of San Diego, which is the nearest to California [Lower California] though over one hundred leagues distant, and I appointed as ministers Padre Fr. Francisco Dumetz and Padre Fr. Luis Jaume. They are all working with earnestness and abundant fruit in their respective fields of labor.

“When in 1769 I left California [Lower California], I appointed Padre Paloú President of the Missions there and I have not seen him since; but now these missions, formerly in charge of the Fathers of the Society of Jesus, are being turned over to the Dominican Fathers. So said Padre Paloú with others, will come to us in order to found the Missions of San Buenaventura, Santa Clara and San Francisco for which missions I have already there the ornaments, the sacred vessels, utensils and other necessary things.

“The number of Christians in those places, where the name of Jesus had never been spoken, though there are some in all the Missions, still up to the present, is not very great; because while we have been very busy building our poor houses, little churches, teaching some children to be interpreters, and providing other necessary things, our efforts could not equal our ardent desires.

“Now that things are going, and His Excellency has given, upon my request, various things of which we stood in the greatest need, I hope in God, we shall reap abundant fruits from our humble work. And I say that our work is so-so, such as it is, because, if I told you all we are doing, it might seem a great thing, when in reality, upon a closer view, it would seem very insignificant.

“In spite of the cold, which is very intense in California, the lack of victuals, the poverty of our houses, I have been enjoying very good health, thanks be to God! But this trip to Mexico has been very hard on me. From the hardships of the journey, I arrived in the City of Guadalajara burning with fever. I was so sick and in such danger that the last Sacraments were administered to me a few days after.

“As soon as the continual fever became intermittent, I continued my journey, and arrived in the city of Queretaro, again, so weak and sick, that fearing for my life, they administered to me the last Sacraments of the Church. Yet soon after I experienced a change for the better and finally I reached this Holy College on February 6th of this present year. I remained, however, for a long time exhausted, weak and without any ambition or appetite.

“But now, blessed be God! I am restored and brought back to health, I am transacting the business for which I came, and feel ready to set out on my journey back to that vineyard of the Lord.

“During my sickness in Queretaro, I was nursed with remarkable charity and diligence, by Padre Procurador Fr. Alexandro Llaneras, and soon after I arrived here, in this College of San Fernando, we heard of his death. He died of a serious fever. Death found him well prepared with all the Sacraments, assisted by Holy Communion, equipped with patience and entire conformity to the will of God, thus preaching to all with his example. I beg your reverence to pray for him.

“It is only once a year that we can receive letters from and send them to, this College. And if we can only once a year receive and write a letter, is it surprising that we are so slow to write to those living in another world? However, if with the help of God, I safely arrive in California, I may drop you a letter telling at least of my arrival, should there be nothing of more importance to communicate to your reverence. Meanwhile, I send my best regards to your mother, my dearest sister, to my niece, and to all our brethren. Remember me to my beloved Dr. Onofre Verd, and to the other pupils of mine, friends and neighbors and acquaintances, specially to Fr. Rector de Selva, Dr. Jayme Font, and finally to all, not without the request that they pray to God, that His Divine Majesty deign, through His infinite mercy, to make me fit and worthy minister of His Divine Word, and grant me a holy and happy death.

“From this Apostolic College de Propaganda Fide of San Fernando, Mexico, August 4, 1773.

“May God keep your reverence for many years; “Most affectionate uncle, brother and servant.

“Fr. Junipero Serra.”

[7] This letter was written by Junipero Serra soon after his arrival at the College of San Fernando, Mexico, on a business trip he made there four years after his coming to California. The letter was written to his nephew, also a priest, in Petra, Spain.

The Meaning of California Missions

By Right Rev. Bishop Conaty, of Los Angeles

In the mission celebrations which occur in California from time to time, there are two views which men take–the this-world-view and the other-world-view. In either view the missions stand out gloriously. In the first, the builders, who were the padres, are beheld as practical men possessing fine artistic sense and creative genius. From the memories of old Spain and the elemental materials at hand, the forests, the soil and sunlight, they made the original picture-building which artists since have loved to paint, and poets loved to praise. From this same viewpoint the mission builders are seen as philanthropists who selected human materials as gross as the mud from which they made the adobe brick, and from these built up a civilization that was more wonderful than all the mission-edifices which remain as monuments to their altruistic efforts.

But there is another view of the missions which must appeal especially to Catholics. Indeed it is natural to the farther-seeing Catholic eye. It is the other-world-view. It is the vision of souls. It is seen to have been the motive of every action of the master-builder padres. It is the reason for their exile here, the purpose of their sufferings, the object of their labor, the burden of their prayer, the spirit of their vocation, the poetry, art, architecture and music of their souls. The one aim in life was the salvation of souls.

–The Monitor.

Dances of Early California Times.

The Spanish dances of early California times were the Contradanza, Quadrillas Españolas, Varsoviana, Jota Aragonesa, Bamba, Jarabe, Son, Zamacueca, and Fandango.

With the exception of the first three, which are round dances, the dances are danced by two persons; the steps are very fancy, and for some castanets are used. It was customary after each change of step for the gentleman to recite a pretty little stanza complimentary to the lady, who in turn responded her refined appreciation also in verse, sometimes merely witty or comical rhymes were used. The music is very pleasing and lively.