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OF TRR



' OF TRK

UNIVERSITY



California







THE SHADOW OF THE CROSS.



MISSION OF SAN Jl'AN CAPISTRANO




The Californian.



Vol. IV.



JULY, 1893.



No. 2.




THE CALIFORNIA POPPY.

" Copa de Oto."" 1
BY IXA COOLBRITH.

Thy satin vesture richer is than looms

Of Orient weave for raiment of her kings.
Not dyes of olden Tyre, not precious things

Re-gathered from the long forgotten tombs

Of buried empires, not the iris plumes

That wave upon the tropics' myriad wings,
Not all proud Sheba's queenly offerings,

Could match the golden marvel of thy blooms.

For thou art nurtured from the treasure-veins
Of this fair land ; thy golden rootlets sup
Her sands of gold — of gold thy petals spun.
Her golden glory, thou ! on hills and plains
Lifting, exultant, every kingly cup

Brimmed with the golden vintage of the sun.




Vol. TV— 10



T4T




Missions



ornia



BY LAURA BRIDE POWERS.



....




OLD FOUNTAIN.

THOSE sad-eyed pilgrims who bade
adieu to the cliffs of Albion two
centuries since, and sped across a
trackless waste of ocean, sought shores
anew that they might find liberty —
liberty of thought and of speech — a
heritage divine that the laws of their
land had denied them.

From the hour they set foot upon
Plymouth Rock, that little band of
pilgrims has been immortalized. Their
sacrifice of home and fortune upon the
altar of freedom has won the respect
and admiration of two worlds. But
behold another pilgrimage, a century
later, to the other border of the new
continent — a pilgrimage of men who
suffered exile from motives yet higher
and nobler. They sought not freedom,
nor fortune, nor fame — these followers
of Christ — but only that the land of
their adoption be delivered from the
darkness of paganism and savagery.

The planting of the cross was their
one unselfish aim. There was naught



of mundane recompense to hope for —
deprivation and bitter sacrifice alone
was their portion — yet fearlessly,
almost with joy, they shouldered
the cross and went forth to the cru-
sade.

Coincident with the landing of
the May/lower upon the Atlantic
coast, there came to Mexico a little
band of Jesuit Missionaries, who es-
tablished themselves in monasteries
throughout the country, augmented
from time to time with recruits from
Spain. In the midst of their labors
a peremptory decree was issued, ex-
pelling the Jesuit Order from all Span-
ish provinces. Turning over their
monasteries to the Franciscans, a class
more in favor at court, they left the
new field to the disciples of the
"Seraphic Father,*' and sought more
tolerant shores.

The new order, famous for its ben-
eficence, lost no time in importuning
Carlos III. for authority to establish




OLIVE-MILL, SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO.



THE MISSIONS OF CALIFORNIA.



143



missions in the new country to the
north of them. Prayers innumerable
and exhaustive found their way to
court, but owing to internal strife, they
fell upon diplomatic ears unheeded.
Grave rumors now spread abroad that
military occupation of Alta California
was imperative, least Russia seize upon
it as her prey. Then
to the great joy of
the zealous monks,
the coveted permis-
sion was granted —
Padre Junipero Ser-
ra, the presidcnte,
in his intense zeal
failing to detect the
subtle union of
statecraft and relig-
ion, discerning only
the desire of his
sovereign to carry
light unto the be-
nighted savage.

Without delay,
arrangements were
made for the inva-
sion of the cross.
Gathering together
all the live-stock,
implements and
seed-grain that
could be spared
from the Mexican
mission, together
with the necessary
ecclesiastical ap-
purtenances, Padre
Serra and his band
cf pilgrims bade
adieu to their be-
loved Mexico and
set out for San
Diego, there to un-
furl the ensigns of
Gcd and the King.
After bitter hardships and deep perils,
the naval and military expeditions
reached their goal almost simultane-
ously.

On July 16, 1769, the Mission of
San Diego de Alcala was formally
established. The officers and their
gathered troops assembled at the site




sax jr



selected for the presidio, which was
destined for a time to serve as a chapel.
Willing hands set to work to erect an
altar of branches, from which arose
curls of purple incense that floated
off over the blue waters beyond.

A trio of bells was swung over the
green boughs of a neighboring oak.
Joyfully were they
rung by the ardert
Serra, who cried
aloud in his ecstasy,
' Come ye Gen-
tiles — come unto
the faith of Christ."
Hill and vale rever-
berated with the
strange sounds,
reaching the ears
of the Indians who
hastened to the
beach in alarm and
wonderment, pre-
senting an uncanny
picture to the anx-
ious Spaniards.
Undersized, thick-
set, low - browed,
heavy jawed, and
with no indication
of mental or moral
elevation, they were
not calculated to
thrill the hearts of
the missionaries
with enthusiasm.
Nothing daunted,
however, Serra set
to work to acquire
the language of the
Dieguines, and ere
many months, the
friar could be seen
beneath a spread-
ing of ra;i cloisters, iiig cypress on the
brow of the hill,
teaching and preaching, like the good
St. Francis, with groups of dusky
savages crouched about him, drinking
in his words of inspiration with the
deepest awe. What more fitting a
spot, thought he, to worship God and
to expound His love than here beneath
the trees — His handiwork.



THE MISSIONS OF CALIFORNIA.



H5




CLOISTERS OF SAX JUAN CAPISTRANO.



" Why

Should we in the world's riper years, neglect
God's ancient sanctuaries, and adore
Only among the crowd, and under roofs
That our frail hands have raised ?"

Here it was that the largest number
of his conversions were made — in-
spired, no doubt, to the glorification
of His name, by the blue canopy that
spread above him, and the fields of
buttercups and poppies beneath.




A CEMETERY DOOR.



Later the mission site was moved
inland, to a spot known as "Cosoy,"
and once again to " Nipaguay,"
where the crops grew abundantly,
and the flocks and herds thrived upon
the fertile fields.

Meanwhile, the secular education of
the Indians was going on, hand in
hand with the spiritual. Some were
instructed in the mechanical trades,
such as carpentering, blacksmithing,
stone-cutting, weaving, etc., many of
them attaining proficiency in their
respective branches. The tillers of
the earth had learned the use of mod-
ern implements, and the virgin soil
was yielding its rich return.

As years wore on, attention was
bestowed upon higher attainments —
it becoming no unusual thing to listen
to a neophyte leading in prayer, or
assisting in the service of the mass.
Nature had endowed many of them
with excellent voices, and these were
trained to chant the deep Grego-
rian.

Thus did the good padres labor on
from dawn till dusk, content and
happy in their voluntary exile, while
yet there remained work in the Mas-
ter's vineyard. And notwithstanding
the many Indian uprisings and the
occasional massacre of a padre, others
were ever eager to push forward to
fill the vacant cell.

Meanwhile, various outposts of civil-
ization were being established. Gov-
ernor Portola and Padre Juan Crespi,
with sixty-four soldiers and muleteers,
marched north to the coveted port of



146



THE MISSIONS OF CALIFORNIA.




IN THE GARDEN-SANTA BARIiARA MISSION.

Monterey — there to plant an impor-
tant mission and establish a presidio.



After passing through beautiful
valleys, over verdure-elad hills, and
across stretches of grassy plains, en-
countering on the way numerous
Indian villages cf curious little
thatched dwellings, a cross was planted
upon a spot thought to be Monterey, as
described by Sebastian Viscaino, the
explorer. Uncertain of its identity,
however, the party returned to San
Diego, quite disheartened and cha-
grined, and all but the sturdy padre
bent upon abandoning the enterprise
and returning to Mexico. A return
march resulted from the persistent
entreaties of Juan Crespf and the
zealous Serra, which resulted in locat-
ing beyond all doubt the long sought-
for port. There indeed stood the
wide-spread oak tree, whose branches
still kissed the white-capped waves at
high tide; here it was that in 1602 three
Carmelite friars (hence Carinel) offered
up the sacrifice of the mass and con-
secrated the country to God. Here,
on the self-same spot, over a century
later, would they plant the cross.

On June 3, 1770, the Mission of
San Carlos de Borromeo was formally
established. An enramada was con-
structed, beneath whose grateful
shade the mass was celebrated, the
water blessed and the joyous Te Deum
chanted. The low murmurings of
the praying padres having ceased,




5SION SAN GAKRIKI..



THE MISSIONS OF CALIFORNIA.



H7



Fortola stepped into the midst of the
assemblage, and amid the boom of
cannon, took formal possession of the
port in the name of God and the King.
Thus were the edicts of Carlos III.
obeyed, and the dreams of the mis-
sionaries in a fair way to be consum-
mated.

The Hslenes were somewhat higher
in the social scale than were their
brethren in the south, having among
them a few orators and many war-
riors, but possessed of no native lore.
The dialect of the nation once ac-



was astir. Every one save the sick
or infirm repaired to the chapel to
assist at mass. Then came the break-
fast of atole, or ground barley, served
to the Unmarried in the pozolera, to
the married in their rancherias,
whither they carried their rations at
daybreak. The mavera, or keeper of
the granary, performed the duties of
commissary, distributing to each male
that proportion of supplies to which
he and his family were entitled. Thus
it will be seen that communism in a
modified form was one of the early




VALLEY AND MISSION OF SAN LUIS REY DE FRANCIA.



quired, Serra and Crespi labored faith-
fully on, fully recompensed by each
conversion. In the belief that contact
with the soldiers at the presidio was
detrimental to the welfare of the
neophytes, the mission was moved to
Carmelo Valley, about three miles
distant, where the grassy meadows
afforded fine pasturage for the already
increasing herds, and gave a renewed
impetus to agricultural pursuits.

Thus were the two centers of west-
ern civilization established, and from
these, the remaining nineteen germin-
ated.

In the few years that had passed,
life about the missions had become
routine. At daylight, all animal life



institutions of our infant civiliza-
tion.

At noon, the bells in the town rang
out the angelus, when instantly
every head was bared and bowed.
Then man and beast repaired to
the pozolera for the midday meal,
which consisted of the ever present
atole in one of its various forms, sup-
plemented by mutton or beef. At
times, milk was distributed freely,
and always to the sick'oraged. Nuts
and fruits from the surrounding hills
were usually added to the meal — these
being gathered by the neophytes dur-
ing short periods of absence from the
mission.

During the heated hours of the



4 8



THE MISSIONS OF CALIFORNIA.



afternoon, it became the custom in
many of the southern missions to lead
about the fields a burro, laden with
jars of sweetened water and vinegar
with which to regale the toilers. At
five o'clock, the duties of the day were
over, and man and beast plodded
homeward. Happier communities than
these of the missions during the years
of their prosperity would be hard to
picture.

At sundown, the angelus called the
faithful to prayers ; then quietly, sol-
emnly, the neophytes, workmen and
the padres repaired to the chapel,
where the litany was sung and the
evening blessing imparted. Then
came a light evening repast, after
which gentle sleep spread over the
mission and all was quiet.

Prominent among the mission build-
ings were those used for sleeping
apartments — the unmarried males oc-
cupying one, under the jurisdiction of
the major domo, and the girls another,
known as the monjerio, or nunnery,
presided over by a hideous old Indian
woman, called Llavera.

Picture, if you can, a low stone struc-
ture built so as to permit of a court in
the center. Here amid ferns, flowers
and fountains the Indian maidens
laughed, chatted and spun. All the
blankets, towels, napkins, rcbozos, etc.,
used at the mission, and much used at
the presidio were the products of their
deft fingers, and all of the beautifully
embroidered altar cloths issued from
the monjerio.

Despite the vigilance of the old
Indian woman, many of the laughing,
dark-eyed maidens of the monjerio
won the love of soldiers of the presidio
and became their wives. Thus was
laid the foundation stone of the future
society of California.

This mesalliance of the Indian and
the Castilian did not find favor in the
eyes of the padres, however, who
desired that the blood of Castile might
be perpetuated in all its purity ; so
they decided upon a novel method of
inducing marriage among the natives.
All the unmarried neophytes were



summoned to church and arranged
along the wall. Then would the
padre hasten to the monjerio, and ask
aloud of the maidens, ' ' Which of you,
my daughters, desire to marry?"
Hesitating for a moment and sorely
trying the padre's patience, they would
finally spring up from their spinning
and trip into the chapel, to find their
future spouses awaiting them.

Unlike the present inexorable laws
of society, the girls were permitted the
choosing. Great was the agitation of
the prospective benedicts, as they
awaited their fortunes, good or ill;
and desperately did they seek to arrest
the attention of the younger and pret-
tier maidens, as they roguishly cast
their black eyes up and down the
row of candidates.

In this manner, many marriages
were joyfully consummated. Within
each mission domain, there grew up
hundreds of happy homes, and thus
were planted within these little rose-
covered adobes, the seeds of civiliza-
tion, enlightenment and even cul-
ture.

Home became a fixed institution,
and she who presided over it gradually
assumed the position she was destined
to grace in the years to come. Ere
long she became queen of the house-
hold and the honored of the fireside —
no longer the watch dog of her mas-
ter's wickiup.

These transitions from the savage
state gladdened the hearts of the
patient, plodding padres, who saw in
visions of the future all the children
of the forest gathered into communi-
ties, presiding over thrifty farms and
orchards, and living in peace and
plenty.

Meanwhile, Serra and his indomit-
able colleagues had established a chain
of missions extending from Carmel
to San Diego — fertile oases of civil-
ization, these, in so vast a waste of
darkness.

San Antonio de Padua, beneath the
shadow of moss-hung oaks, had gath-
ered together a prosperous community
of Indians who devoted themselves




THE PALMS OF SAN FERNANDO— MISSION IN THE DISTANCE.



150



THE MISSIONS OF CALIFORNIA.



principally to the raising of fine
horses for the mission . What beauties
they were ! and so highly prized that
the friars were made wretched in their
almost vain endeavor to maintain a
monopoly of them. As it was, hun-
dreds of the proud-stepping animals
were spirited away to the mountain
fastnesses of the gentiles, and there
turned loose. Thus it was that in
later years, wild horses were quite
as frequently met with in travel as
were bears or coyotes.

Then came San Gabriel, fairest of
all the missions. Her orchards and
vineyards, her gardens and her quaint




THE CORRIDOR STEPS, SANTA BARHARA.



buildings made the mission a delight
to the eye of the dusty traveler, who,
whatever his station in life, was
ever made a welcome guest. It was
quite necessary, however, that the
guest be capable of absorbing religion
and bread with equal facility, for the
ministro residente was usually one of
intense religious proclivities; especial-
ly was this true of Padres Cruzado and
Sanchez. These two earnest workers
died at their post, where they had
toiled on patiently and faithfully for
twenty years or more, and within
the ancient sanctuary they await the
final summons.

Soon after the establish-
ment of a mission at San
Luis Obispo, the peninsula
that lay in the embrace of
the waters of the bay and
ocean, and sloped away from
the green hills of San Mateo,
were brought under the sway
of the cross.

The adobe church of the
Dolores, with its white pil-
lars, and its red tiled roof,
and the ruined graveyard in
its shadow, are the relics of
the mission of San Francisco
de Assisi, established Sep-
tember 9, 1776, by Francisco
Palou, best known to us as
the enthusiastic biographer
of Junipero Serra, h\s> presi-
dents

Who has ever stood amid
the wonderful ruins of San
Juan Capistrano and not
dreamed himself back a hun-
dred years, to the blissful
pre-pastoral days when the
temple was reared ? The
proudest edifice of its day, it
is no less dignified in its dis-
solution. At no time, how-
ever, are the ruins so sol-
emnly impressive as when
viewed by the soft light of
a summer afternoon ; then
is the world of nature silent,
and one's thoughts may
revel undisturbed. Just as



THE MISSIONS OF CALIFORNIA.



151







the temple fell on that murky morn-
ing of 181 2, crushing beneath it forty
poor neophytes who had gathered to
worship, it lies before you. For these
hundred years its cloisters have echoed
the querulous cry of the quail, and
sheltered the bat from the glare of the
noonday sun. After the great tem-
blor, services were held in a little



rife




GRAPEVINE NEAR SANTA BARBARA, PLANTED BY THE
MISSION FATHERS.



adobe apartment adjoining, that by
some special dispensation escaped de-
struction. For years thereafter the
Indians gathered here to offer up their
simple supplications, ere the tasks of
the day began.

Ever alert to discern fertile districts
that would give support to large com-
munities, Padre Tomas de la Pena de-
termined to establish a mission on the
winding banks of the beautiful Guad-
aloupe. Santa Clara, patron saint of
Assisi, was to be honored by the new
institution. Beneath the bluest of
skies, and upon a carpet of flaming
eschscholtzias, making a veritable field
of gold to tread upon, little wonder that
here the good padre halted when search-
ing for mission sites.

Santa Clara became second to none
in spiritual and temporal prosperity.
In 1784, a magnificent church was
erected, then the finest in the Cali-
fornias — Padre Murguia, ministro resi-
dcntc, performing the dual role of
architect and laborer. Sad to relate,
it proved to be his tomb. Four days
before its dedication, he was buried
beneath its walls. At a later date
this structure was supplanted by an-
other, the chapel that is preserved to
us of to-day.

Among the populous Indian villages
along the Santa Barbara Channel, the
Padre Presidente caused to be estab-
lished three missions under one juris-
diction — San Buenaventura, Santa



THE MISSIONS OF CALIFORNIA.



Barbara and La Purisima Concepcion.
Deeming it impolitic to disturb the
tribal authority that maintained sucii
excellent decorum as was observable
in their villages, the missionaries per-
mitted the neophytes to live on for
many years in their neat little conical
huts. In these cradles of civilization
had been gathered, since their estab-
lishment in 1782-7, nearly 10,000
converts ; these by the decree of sec-
ularization in 1835, were freed from
the padres' jurisdiction and became,
ostensibly, Spanish citizens.

These fair mission gardens, whose
perfumes were wafted over hill and
vale by the ocean breezes, gladdened
the eye of the voyagers who chanced
to anchor near by. Vancouver went
into ecstasies over the gardens of v San
Buenaventura, which he declared were
more beautiful than any he had ever
beheld ; and their orchards, too, were
marvelous. The young trees in the
virgin soil produced prolifically — the
sensuous banana and cocoanut trees
thriving with vigor beside the apple.
peach and pear trees. Amid tinkling
fountains and soft zephyrs and sweet
perfumes, who could realize that the
transformation was one effected in
fifty short years ! Then came the
clouds of secularization. When the





CAPISTRAXO



BROUGHT FROM SPAIX BY
JVNII'KKo.



storm burst over the missions, they
were shorn of their beauty and divested
of their wealth ; and behold them to-
day, spectres of their former glory,
but eloquent epitaphs of the deeds of
their founders.

Yet another mission was to be
planted within sight of the surging
ocean, in honor of the fair Santa Cruz.
Pounded Sept. 22. 1791, by Padres
Alonzo Salazar and Baldomero Lopez,
it was ushered into being most auspi-
ciously. Sugert, chief of the natives in
the region, entertained 110 fears of the
chinchinabros (white
men I, and had com-
municated his friendli-
ness to his tribe.

When at sunrise the
bells were swung over
a bending branch, they
were rung by the gath-
ered savages, who
watched the ceremonial
of establishment with
consuming interest ; the
thundering of guns ap-
parently having no ter-
rors for them.

Such clear skies be-
came clouded ere long,
and many were the
storms the lonely padres
had to weather through.
Floods came, the gen-



THE .MISSIONS OF CALIFORNIA.



*53



tiles arose against them, and disasters
followed in their wake. At last, over-
come by deprivation, disappointment
and sorrow, the founders sought the
seclusion of the college in Mexico,
whither they repaired to die. Others,
however, pressed forward to succeed
them at the mission by the sea.

Mournful Soledad ! Lonely and de-
serted it stands to-day — a monument
to a lost people. Few traces, either in
records or ruins remain. Established
at a spot known as " Chuttusgelis,"



interesting in its decline for the ro-
mance of its past. Ill 1800, San Jose
was at the zenith of her glory, about
500 Indians having been gathered
from the hills and valleys, and induct-
ed into the ordinary routine of civil-
ized life.

The missions of San Juan Bautista,
San Miguel and San Fernando followed
each other in establishment, but much
of their subsequent history is envel-
oped in darkness. Rumors are current
that manv of the mission records have




SAN LUIS KKY UK FRANCIA.



beneath clumps of spreading oaks, it
was even in its prime a sad institution.
The church, of which a few struggling
walls remain, was completed some-
where around 1797. Later, its straw
roof gave way to one of tiles. The
winds seem to take on a plaintive
wail as they sweep over these sorry
ruins, ever singing a requiem over the
padres who lie beneath the shadows of
the tottering walls.

After a lapse of nearly a century, the
adobe church of the mission of San Jose
still survives. With beautiful vineyards
and blossoming orchards stretching
away to the foothills, which, by the
way, were once all its own possessions,
the mission is yet a picturesque spot,



found their way into the treasure
vaults of the early Californians, where
as heirlooms, they are zealously
guarded. A more probable theory is
that the friars, through carelessness or



Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderThe Californian (Volume 4) → online text (page 22 of 120)