Copyright
Historical Society of Southern California.

Annual publication of the Historical Society of Southern California and of the Pioneers of Los Angeles County (Volume yr.1902-1904) online

. (page 22 of 29)
Online LibraryHistorical Society of Southern CaliforniaAnnual publication of the Historical Society of Southern California and of the Pioneers of Los Angeles County (Volume yr.1902-1904) → online text (page 22 of 29)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


all barefooted. Some had a pair of pants each, others but a
vulgar fraction of a pair to the man. In the matter of shirts the
individuality of the individual cropped out. If the rainbow
could have seen the colors there displayed it would have gone
out of business. As to the remainder of their uniforms there
was nothing to speak of.

In the matter of arms there was a pleasing variety. Some
were armed with old flint-lock muskets that had done duty
against Morgan's buccaneers and had probably not been fired
off since. Others had more modern and if possible more use-
less arms. We were informed that these soldiers were not
the regulars, but raw levies. The government evidntly had
not had time to cook and dress them into veterans.

Some of our statesmen at Washington are anxious to an-
nex the new republic to our family of states. My advice to
these statesmen is, go slow — very slow, so slow that the annexa-
tion buisness will come off sometime in the next ceutnry — the
later along the better.

We have two or three race problems on our hands now that
will keep us busy the greater part of the present century.
The race problem in Panama would be a question in complex



DOWN IN PANAMA. 121

fractions. The roots of the genealogical trees of most of the
natives are more twisted and contorted than roots of a man-
grove shrub and that product of Panama can perform more fan-
tastic tricks with its roots than any other member of the vege-
table kingdom. It is these racial nondescripts — the fellows of
undefined lineage — that give government the most trouble.
There are educated and refined ladies and gentlemen in Panama,
both natives and foreigners, but the majority of the natives and
some of the imports are ignorant, indolent, superstitious and
bigoted. They hate foreigners. My advice to our annexing
statesmen, if it were asked, would be — Let the new republic of
Panama work out its own salvation — or the opposite — and it
will be the opposite if it does any working.



SEQUOYAH.

Honor to Whom Honor is Due.

By Dr. J. D. Moody.

In the early part of the eighteenth century there was quite
an imigration of German people from Bavaria to that part of
our country which is now included in the state of Georgia.
Like the Mayflower emigration from Holland this one waa
also a religious movement. An effort was made to exclude un-
worthy people from these companies.

However, in one such company, in 1739, a family managed
to be included who belonged to this latter class. Instead of be-
ing religious in profession, as were the others, they were in-
dolent, ignorant and superstitious. Their name, which is va-
riously given as Gist, Guest, Guess or Gisb, was destined to be
perpetuated by a singular combination of circumstances.

Soon after their arrival there was born to them a son to
whom the name of George was given. He grew up the black
sheep of the community.

Their home was within the Hmits of the great Cherokee
nation. Trading privileges with the Indians was closely guarded
by the whites. George Guest, as he was called, sought such a
peddler's license, but being held in low repute, he was refused.
This did not seem to worry him in the least and he became a
contraband trader.

In 1768 he started on a trading trip through the Cherokee
nation. While on this trip, he married an Indian maiden,
after the loose manner of the times. They lived together for a
number of months, but tiring of his bargain, the German ped-
dler quietly stole away one night and was never afterwards
heard from.

In 1770 there was born to this deserted wife a boy baby.
In the soft language of the Cherokee people she named him Se-
quo-yah, which means "he guessed it."

This Indian woman was possessed of more than ordinary in-
telligence and energy. Her family were among the leading spir-
its of the nation. The love which would have been given to the
husband, was now bestowed upon the child. As he grew up



SEQUOYAH. 123

he was taught all of the traditions and cunning of his Indian
ancestry. He did not care to mingle in play with other Indian
boys, but wandered much alone in the forest, when he was
not with his mother. He would build little houses in the woods,
and developed considerable skill in carving objects from wood
with his knife. As he grew older he made wooden milk pails
and skimmers for his mother. He helped her in many ways,
preferring to do this to other work, which he did not like.

About this time missionaries came to the Indian people and
established schools and churches. He heard much about this
new religion, and the learning of the schools. He talked with
his associates upon all the knotty points of law, religion and art.
Indian thesim and panthesim were measured against the gospel
as taught by the land-seeking, fur-buying adventurers.

"From his mother he inherited his energy and persevering
nature, his meditative and philosophical inclinations from his
father."

He inherited an "odd compound of Indian and German tran-
scendentalism, essentially Indian in opinion, but German in in-
stinct and thought." His pagan faith was unsettled, but he did
not become a convert to Christianity.

In time he became a good trader, traveling throughout the
country and accumulating some property. His mechanical
ability seems to have developed rapidly. Much of the silver
which he got in trade, he beat into rings, bands for the head,
breast plates, necklaces, etc., etc. He soon became the greatest
silversmith of his tribe.

Later, he took up blacksmithing, making all of his own
tools and appliances. He had seen trade marks stamped upon
metal goods in possession of the whites. He thought it would
be an advantage to him to have the same on his wares. He got
an English friend to write his English name, and from this he
made a steel die, and henceforth all of his silver goods were
stamped with his name — George Guess, Many such stamped
articles are said to be, even now, in the possession of old Chero-
kee families.

He next began to turn his attention to art, and made
sketches of the familiar animals about his home. At first these
were rudely drawn, but he improved in this and did some cred-
itable work.

He became a famous story-teller around their campfires and
in their gatherings.

About this time he saw a letter in the possession of a white



124 HISTORICAL SOCmTY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.

man. For the first time he realized the far-reaching possibili-
ties that lay in a written language. "Much that red man know
they forget," said Sequoyah, "they have no way to preserve it.
White men make what they know fast on paper, like catching
a wild animal and taming it."

The thought took possession of him. He pondered over it
continually. From one of the missionaries he got a spelling
book, and studied the alphabet. He tried to arrange one for
the Cherokee language. After many trials based upon a pro-
found reasoning hardly to be expected in an Indian, Sequoyah
invented a syllabic alphabet. Some of the characters were taken
from the English and some were of his own devising. To teach
it to his own people now became the passion of his life. His
young daughter was his first pupil, and she proved a very apt
one. White men — men of intelligence — laughed at his idea
and denounced it as unpracticable. But with a dogged perse-
verance he induced some Indian friends to learn it, and to their
astonishment they were easily able to read their own language
in the new writing. And in a comparativly short time the
Indians were generally able to carry on a correspondence by
means of it. Books and papers were published in the new
characters. Sequoyah, at one bound, became one of the
world's noted men. This story is one of the literary romances
of the age.

Sequoyah had now become a sufferer from rheumatism and
for some time was confined to his cabin. He had time to think.
He did think. His associations with intelligent whites had
given him new ideas, and now his days were given up to
dreaming. As a result, "he formed a theory of certain relations
in the languages of the Indian tribes, and conceived the idea
of writing a book on the points of similarity and divergence."
But to do this he needed a wider acquaintance with Indian lan-
guages. To gain this he packed a few belongings in an ox
cart and started in on a unique "philological crusade." He
made several journeys among different tribes near the home
land.

Among his own people there was a tradition that in some
period antedating the arrival of the whites, a portion of the
Cherokee nation had emigrated to the far west in the region of
what is now New Mexico. He formed the resolve to go in
in search of them and to visit all tribes on the way in the in-
terests of his theory. Accompanied by a boy, in his ox cart,
he started on this long journey some time in the year 1840.



SEQUOYAH. 125

He journeyed into New Mexico interviewing everyone as
to the whereabouts of his people, and as to their languages.
He was received kindly wherever he went. But in some way
his mission was not a success. He became despondent. The
trip was too exhausting for one of his age. At last he found
his way to San Fernando, in Northern Mexico, and there in
the year 1842 he was taken sick and died, and with him died the
great dream of his mature years.

There is but little to be found in print about Sequoyah. Te-
cumseh, Blackhawk, Pontiac, King Philip and other noted war-
riors are known to every school boy, but Sequoyah, I venture
to say, is unknown to ninety-nine in every hundred of our
people.

Though having white blood in his veins he was essentially
an Indian. Many white people proudly trace their lineage back
to Pocahontas, yet our hero, so little known, did more for the
advancement of his people than did any aborigine known to
history. He deserves a better fate. His name might well be em-
blazoned in song and story.

In some city in our land — once his — a monument should be
erected to his memory. Congress, at one time, contemplated
having his remains removed and a monument erected over
them. But this was never done.

And now I desire to state my reason for reading this paper.
It is, that we might do ourselves the honor in taking the initia-
tive in having his remains removed to American soil, preferably
his native land, and a suitable monument erected to his mem-
ory.

I urge that steps looking to such action be taken. Can the
grave be located now? I do not know. We can only try, and
until then, with Bryant, question —

"Are they here —
The dead of other days?"
Scattered all over our country are the tombs of its former
inhabitants. They are silent witnesses to human hopes and
human tragedies. We who have come into the heritage of this
ancient people owe it to them that all record of their past be
not blotted out, but that they, at least, have a name left to them
in he earth.

This one lonely grave in foreign soil calls for recognition.
Will we not heed it?

"No other voice nor sound is there.
In the army of the grave."



CALIFORNIA REVOLUTION OF 183 1:

A NOTABLE MANIFESTO.

By H. D. Barrows.

The Native Cailfornians have been charged with fomenting
frequent revolutions. But when we consider their treatment by
both the Spanish and the Mexican governments, we are not
surprised at their resentment, nor at their attempts to redress
the wrongs which they suffered.

The Protest, or Pronunciamiento, of 183 1, promulgated by
Pico, Bandini, Carrillo and others, which inaugurated the move-
ment against Governor Victoria, and which resulted in his being
driven out of the country, was a statesmanlike document. It
gave good and valid reasons for the action of the patriotic men
who sought to terminate evils which had become intolerable,
and which are briefly and in part recounted in the following
manifesto.

If the reasons given in our own Declaration of Independence
for revolution received the approval of mankind, certainly those
cited in this document are equally entitled to indorsement by all
fair-minded men.

Bancroft, in the third volume of his History of California,
chap. VII, pp. 181-215, gives a vivid account of the rule and
overthrow of Governor Victoria. Indeed, in some respects this
chapter describes one of the most interesting and dramatic epi-
sodes in early California history.

Some of the principal causes of the Revolution of 183 1 are
herewith briefly pointed out :

I. After the organization of republican government in
Mexico, which succeeded the downfall of the imperial regime
under Iturbide, the Mexican Congress by law provided for the
distribution of the public lands of the nation among the citizens
in conformity with regulations that were to be issued by the
executive branch of the government, but which were not pro-
mulgated until 1828.

And, inasmuch as under this law and these regulations the
co-operation and approval of the legislative department of the
government of California were necessary in order to make



A NOTABLE MANIFESTO. 127

grants of lands to citizens legal; and, as Victoria neglected and
finally flatly refused to take any steps to carry out the same,
or to call the Territorial Legislature together, the people natur-
ally became indignant that the beneficent land laws of the re-
public should be thus arbitrarily rendered absolutely inopera-
tive so far as they related to California.

2. The people of Los Angeles had become exasperated
with Victoria, because of their belief that the acts of the Alcalde
of Los Angeles, Vicente Sanchez, who, during the year 1831
had kept a large number of the most influential citizens of the
pueblo under arrest in the guardhouse, mostly for contempt of
his authority, or for some trivial offence, etc., were inspired by
Victoria.

His suspension of the Departmental Assembly and his at-
tempts to have all elective ayuntamientos abolished and to have
military rule substituted; and his barbarous ordering that sev-
eral persons should be shot for comparatively trivial offences,
etc., etc., were among the causes of the people's exasperation,
and as a result of which, the following proclamation was issued :

Pronunciamiento de San Diego contra el Gefe Politico y
Comandante General de California, Don Manuel Victoria, en
29 de Noviembre, y i de Diciembre de 183 1, MS.

MEXICAN CITIZENS, RESIDING IN THE UPPER TERRITORY OE THE
CALIFORNIA.

If the enterprise we undertake were intended to violate the
provisions of the laws, if our acts in venturing to oppose the
scandalous acts of the actual Governor, D. Manuel Victoria,
were guided by aims unworthy of patriotic citizens, then
should we not only fear, but know, the fatal results to which
we mxust be condemned. Such, however, not being the case,
we, guided in the path of justice, animated by love of our Soil,
duly respecting the laws dictated by our supreme legislature and
enthusiastic for their support, find ourselves obliged, on ac-
count of the criminal abuse noted in the said chief, to adopt the
measures here made known.

Being conscious of the purity of our motives we proceed,
not against the Supreme Government or its magistrates, but
rather against an individual who has violated the fundamental
bases of our system; or, in fact against a tyrant who has hypo-
critically deceived the national authorities, in order that he
might thereby reach the rank to which, without deserving it he



128 HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.

has been raised.

The Ruler of the Universe, and Searcher of all hearts,
knows that we are actuated only by the sincerest love of
country, respect for the laws, a desire to obey them and make
them obeyed, and to banish the abuses, which, with accelerated
steps, the actual ruler is committing against the liberties of the
people. These sentiments we insist are in accordance with
public right and moral law.

We will maintain these truths before the National Sov-
ereignity with confidence that our course will meet with full
and unqualified approval.

From the sentiments herein indicated may be clearly in-
ferred the patriotic spirit which moves us to the proceeding this
day begun; and the knowledge that such sentiments are enter-
tained by the people of Alta California, assures us that our action
will be sustained by all who live in this unfortunate country.

As for the military officers in actual service, opposition is
naturally to be expected from them to our plan, and we must
allow them at first this unfavorable opinion demanded by their
profession; but not so later, when they shall have fully learned
the wise and beneficient intentions with which we act; for they
also, as Mexican citizens, are in duty bound to maintain inviolate
the code to which we have all sworn.

We believe that your minds are ever decided in favor of tne
preservation of society, and your arms are ready for the service
of whomsoever may assure happiness, and in support of the
laws which promulgate its representation.

You have had positive proof of the contrary spirit shown
by the arbitrary acts of the present chief executive of our Prov-
ince. We point you to many of his criminal acts, to his plain
infractions of the laws, committed against the Territorial repre-
sentation, which has been suppressed on pretexts that amply
confirm his absolutism, though the members were elected by
you to be the areas (repository) of your liberties; to the total
suppression of the Ayuntamiento (Town Council) of Santa
Barbara; the shooting of several persons by his order at Mon-
terey and San Francisco, without the necessary precedent form-
alities prescribed by the laws; the expatriation suffered by the
citizens Jose Antonio Carrillo and Abel Stearns without notifica-
tion of the reasons demanding it; the scorn with which he has
treated the most just demand which, with legal proofs, was pre-
sented by the Honorable Pueblo of Los Angeles, leaving un-
punished the public crimes of the present Alcalde; and, — not to



A NOTABLE MANII^ESTO. 129

weary you with further reflections of this nature, — please con-
sider the arbitrary powers which he has assumed in the depart-
ment of revenues, making himself its chief, with grave injury to
the public funds.

We trust that after you know our aims you will regard the
removal of all these evils as demanding the co-operation of every
citizen. The said ruler has not only shown himself shameless
in the violation of law, but has at the same time imperilled our
security and interests by reason of his despotism and incapacity.

You yourselves are experiencing the misfortunes that have
happened during his brief administration, of the office of
Governor.

For all these reasons we have proposed :

1st. To suspend the exercise of Don Manuel Victoria in
all that relates to the command which he at present holds in this
Territory as Comandante-General and Gefe-Politico, for infrac-
tion and conspiracy against our sacred institutions, as we will
show by legal proofs.

2nd. That when at a fitting time, the Excelentisima
Diputacion Territorial (Honorable Territorial Assembly) shall
have met, the military command and the pohtical command shall
fall to distinct and separate persons, as the laws of both juris-
dictions provide, until the question is definitely decided by the
supreme Federal authority.

These two objects, so just for the reasons given, are those
which demand attention from the true patriot.

Then let the rights of the citizen be born anew; let Liberty
spring up from the ashes of oppression, and perish the despotism
that has trampled ruthlessly on our sacred rights!

Yes, Citizens! Love of country and observance of the
laws prescribed and approved by the Supreme Republic are and
should be the fundamental basis of our action. Property must
be respected as well as the rights of each citizen. Our Dipu-
tacion Territorial will work and will take all the steps conducive
to the good of society; but we be^- that body that it make no
innovation whatever in the matter of the Missions, respecting
their communities and property, since our object is confined
solely to the two articles as stated. To the Supreme Govern-
ment belongs exclusively the power to decide what it may deem
proper on this subject, and it promises to the Padres to observG
respect, decorum, and security towards the property instrusted
to their care.

Thus we sign it, and we hope for indulgence in considers-



130 HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.

tion of our rights and justice. Presidio of San Diego, Nov.
29, 1831.

(Signed with respective titles.)

PIO PICO,
JUAN BANDINI,
JOSE ANTONIO CARRILLO.
Approval of Pronunciamento by Citizens of Los Angeles.

We, Jose Maria Echeandia, Pio Pico, Juan Bandini, Jose
Antonio Carrillo, Pablo de la Portilla, Santiago Arguello, Jose
Maria Ramirez, Ignacio del Valle, Juan Jose Rocha, and Ser-
geant Andres Cervantes (as Comandante of Artillery) being
acquainted with the preceding plan signed by Pico, Bandini and
Carrillo, (according to which the people of this place surprised
the small garrison of this Plaza on the night of November 29th),
consider it founded on our national right, since it is known to
us on satisfactory evidence, that the Gefe Politico (Governor)
and Comandante General (Military Commander) of the Terri-
tory, Don Manuel Victoria, has infringed our Federal Consti-
tution and laws in that part relating to individual security and
popular representation; and we find ourselves not in a position
to be heard with the promptness our rights demand by the
supreme powers of the Nation, which might order the suspen-
sion that is efifected in the plan, if they could see and prove the
accusations which give rise to so many complaints.

But at the same time, in order to secure in this movement
the best order, and a path which may not lead us away from
the object proposed, we declare and ordain that Lieut. -Col. of
Engineers, citizen Jose Maria de Echeandia, shall re-assume
the command, political and military, of the Territory, which
this same year he gave up to the said Senor Victoria — this until
the Supreme (Federal) Government may determine, after the
proper correspondence, or until, the Diputacion (Legislature}
being assembled, distinct (separate) persons may in legal form
take charge of the two commands. And the said chief having
appeared at our invitation, and, being informed on the subject,
he decided to serve in both capacities as stated, protesting,
however, that he does it solely in support of public liberty ac-
cording to the system which he had sworn, and for the preser-
vation of order, pending submission to the approval of the
supreme powers of the Nation.

Thus, all being said publicly, and the proclamation in favor
of Senor Echeandia being general, he began immediately to dis-



A NOTABLE MANIFESTO. 131

charge the duties of the command. And in token thereof wc
sign together with said chief — both the promoters of the plan
who signed it and wfe who have seconded it — today between ii
and 12 o'clock, Dec. i, 1831.

(Signed) Jose Maria Echeandia, Pio Pico, Juan Bandini,
Jose Antonio Carrilo, Pablo de la Portilla, San-
tiago Arguello, Jose Maria Ramirez, Ignacio del
Valle, Juan Jose Rocha, (and as comandante of
the Artillery detachment), Sergt. Andres
Cervantes.



"PINACATE."

By Laura Evertsen King.

Hark ! a flute like sound falls on memory's ear — a bright rip-
pling staccato air, like the note of a mocking bird — and I see
again the squat dark form of poor Pinacate as he marches down
the middle of the main street playing his little home-made reed
flute. As he comes along in the shadows of the low "adobe"
houses the children run out and follow behind. Chonita, Tulita
and numerous others, determined not to lose a single note —
proudly he holds his head higher and plays his only air — with no
beginning and no end. It is early summer and the air is laden
with the perfume of orange blossoms, and the sweet breath of
the surrounding vineyards. The hills above the old plaza look
green, cool and inviting. It will soon be vesper time — even now
the bells are pealing forth their invitation to the faithful, but
unheeding poor, weak, broken Pinacate marches on, playing his
flute with the one object in view, that some one may pity and
give him a "real" to buy that which will quench his burning
thirst. Too proud to ask, he plays one air of his own composi-
tion, with the hope that it will tell its own story. Now a door
opens and Tulita with black hair flying runs across the street and
slip> a "real" into his hand and as silently speeds back to "La Se-
nor I," who smiles sadly and' says, "Poor Pinacate," his was a



Online LibraryHistorical Society of Southern CaliforniaAnnual publication of the Historical Society of Southern California and of the Pioneers of Los Angeles County (Volume yr.1902-1904) → online text (page 22 of 29)