Historical Society of Southern California.

Annual publication of the Historical Society of Southern California (Volume yr.1915-1916) online

. (page 1 of 32)
Online LibraryHistorical Society of Southern CaliforniaAnnual publication of the Historical Society of Southern California (Volume yr.1915-1916) → online text (page 1 of 32)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


10^ mmum



3 1833 01744 4396



GENEALOGY
979.4
H624E
1915-191?



Organized November 1, 1663 lncori>orated February 12, 1691

PARTS I. and II. VOL. X.



ANNUAL PUBLICATIONS




I.



Historical Society



SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA



1915-1916



LOS ANGELES, CAL.



Orsonized November 1, 1863 Incorporated February 12, 1891

PARTS I. and II. VOL. X.



ANNUAL PUBLICATIONS









II W I ^



Historical Society

OF

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA



1915-1916



McBride Printing Company
LOS ANGELES. CAL.



CONTENTS , ^^^^,



Officers of the Historical Society, 1916, 1917 4

Aspects of the Study of History Rockwell D. Hunt 5

Thirty-three Years of Histoi-y Activities J. M. Guinn 16

A History of Los Angeles Journalism Julia Norton MeCorkle 24

A Presbyterian Settlement in Southern California

James Main Dixon 44

The Passing of the Rancho J. M. Guinn. ... 46

The Great Los Angeles Real Estate Boom of 1887 Joseph Netz 54

Gifts Made to the City of Los Angeles by Individuals

Arthur Chapman 69

James Harmon Hoose, A.M., PhD., LL.D Tully C. Knoles 75

A List of Newspapers in the Los Angeles City Library

C. C. Baker.... 80

California's First American School and its Teacher

Mary M. Bowman .... 86

The Lost Islands of San Pedro Bay J. M. Guinn 95

Brownies in Their Home Land James Main Dixon. ... 101

The Title of a Mexican Land Grant George Butler Griffin 107

John Bidwell's Arrival in California Robert G. Cleland.... 110

Meeting of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical

Association Rockwell D. Hunt 114

Commodore Stockton's Report J. M. Guinn 116

A Letter of Don Antonio F. Coronel to Father J. Adam on the
Pounding of the Pueblo of Los Angeles and the Building of
the Church of our Lady of the Angels, with a Translation
and Corrections George Butler Griffin 124

A Review of Newmark's "Sixty Years in Southern California"

J. M. Guinn 128

REPORTS—

Secretary's Report for Years 1915-16 J. M. Guinn 131

Treasurer's Report for Years 1915-16 M. C. Bettinger 132



Officers of the Historical Society
1916



Rockwell D. Hunt President

Robert G. Clelakd First Vice-President

Roy Malcom Second \'ice- President

M. C. Bettinger Treasurer

James M. Guinn Secretary and Curator

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Rockwell D. Hunt George F. Bovard
J. M. Guinn C. C. Baker

Robert G. Cleland Roy Malcom
M. C. Bettinger



OFFICERS (ELECT)

1917

Rockwell D. Hunt President

Robert G. Cleland First \'ice-President

Waldemar C. Westergaaro Second Vice-President

M. C. Bettinger Treasurer

James M. Guinn St-cretary and Curator

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Rockwell D. Hunt George F. Bovard
James M. Guinn M. C. Bettinger

Robert G. Cleland Roy Malcom

Waldemar C. Westergaard



ASPECTS OF THE STUDY OF HISTORY

ROCKWELL D. HUNT



It is my pleasant task to bring to your attention and urge upon
your consideration a branch of human study — department of know-
ledge — which while not highly conducive to material ends, is yet
most highly practical in its nature and admirably suited to widen,
deepen and project the life. The subject is History.

And first of all, let us endeavor, with such care as we may in
a few moments, to reach a just conception of history: for on the
answer to the oft-recurring question, what is history? obviously
depend its real importance and value.

The original Greek conception of historia was that of research,
or investigation. Not the rigidly scientific method of research
employed by historical critics today, but an investigation into and
a setting forth of the great deeds of illustrious men, often with
distinct bias. "Show me," Savage Landor makes one of his heroes
say, "how great projects were executed, great advantages gained,
and great calamities averted. Show me the generals and the states-
men who stood foremost, that I may bend to them in reverence.
Let the books of the treasury lie closed as religiously as the Sibyl's.
Leave weights and measures in the market place ; commerce in the
harbor ; the arts in the lights they love ; philosophy in the shade.
Place History on her rightful throne, and at the sides of her —
Eloquence and War.'" The Greeks "did not regard history as the
simple narration of what had happened in the past, but rather (to
use the words of Professor H. Morse Stephens) as a certain arrange-
ment of a narrative of events so as to bring out certain ideas.'"
Some of the most conspicuous merits of Herodotus, as his simplicity
and credulous good faith, would today, I fear, go far to condemn
a writer in the eyes of historical criticism. It would be a doubtful
compliment to a diligent historian to tell him he is a capital story
teller. So Thucydides, the first of the philosophic historians, owes
his brilliancy not so much to an accurate and impartial account of
the age of which he wrote as to the faultlessly constructed speeches
he put into his characters' mouths, but which in truth they never
delivered.



6 HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Modern conceptions of history are very numerous and widely
different in scope ; yet in all there is somewhat of common ground.
In a comprehensive view these will for most part be found to be but
different aspects of the one great truth. History is biography, we
are told by Carlyle with oft-repeated emphasis. It is best under-
stood from personalities. "The function of the historian," says
Froude, "is to discover and make known great men." Emerson
explains all history from the individual: "All public facts are to
be generalized. Then at once History becomes fluid and true. Biog-
raphy deep and sublime." So President Wheeler postulates, in his
Alexander the Great, "History and Biography blend."

One step removed from this aspect of the biographies of heroes
is the poet-philosopher's view that history is a great epic. "He
(Carlyle) says it is a part of his creed that history is poetry, could
we but tell it right." The only poetry there is is history. "All
history is an imprisoned Epic, nay an imprisoned Psalm and Pro-
phecy." Is there not then more of essential truth in the Homeric
poem or the Shakespearean drama than in the jejune annals of the
early chroniclers? "History has its foreground; and it is prin-
cipally in the management of the perspective that one artist differs
from another."' Macaulay here states an important partial-truth :
and he is the consummate artist in the arrangement of glittering
perspective.

But history, or the writing of history, is no longer to be con-
sidered only as an art. History is a science. Indeed, recent thought
has so magnified the critical and rigidly scientific, frequently at the
expense of the artistic and even the literary, that we are in danger
of not being able soon to recover fully our sense of the beautiful
and the picturesque in historical writing. Under the exhortation
to leave off "fine writing" and rhetorical antithesis and account
for everything in the calm, judicial spirit with scientific accuracy,
are we not in danger of compromising the beauty, the attractiveness,
the truth itself, of history? of making of real heroes mere colossal
machines or veriest puppets? History viewed as science "is an
attempt to interpret human life and human character by the record,
however imperfect, of men's actions and their thoughts.'" Can any
science be more interesting or more dignified? But, after all, his-
tory cannot be claimed as an exact science. While we apply to
historical construction a certain scientific methodologj', it must be
remembered that "Every historical image contains a large part of
fancy.'" Adopting the words of Langlois and Seignobos: "The
realities of the past are things which we do not observe, and which



Macaul.ay. Kssays. I, 129.

Atkinson, History and the Study of History, 42-43.

L«anglols and Seignobos, Introd. to Study of History, 22!



ASPECTS OF THE STUDY OF HISTORY /

w€ can only know in virtue of their resemblance to the realities of
the present.'" Their study involves "an application of the descrip-
tive sciences which deal with humanity, descriptive psychology, so-
ciology or social science ; but all these sciences are still but imper-
fectly established, and their defects retard the establishment of a
science of history." The biologic concept of society, so recently
urged in many quarters, has suffered many and serious reverses.
The methods of the physical and biological sciences, resting upon
objective observation, cannot be bodily super-imposed upon historical
study, which clearly demands the subjective method in dealing with
a developing social consciousness. Thomas Buckle, in his erudite
history of civilization, made a heroic effort to reduce history to the
status of a natural science. Everything, including the actions of
men, was to be governed by strict law fully discoverable. The
writings of Buckle teach a sort of historic fatalism, "reducing almost
to nothing the action of individualities."^ His efforts necessarily
failed : it is safe to say his exact science of history has never yet
been established. I know of no more significant commentar)' on
this aspect of the subject than Professor H. Morse Stephens' Presi-
dential Address before the American Historical Association, Decem-
ber, 1915, in which he confesses, with evident sadness, that "as
student and teacher of history he has come to realize more and
more the futility of pretended impartiality ; and at the last he has
yielded to the conviction that the first duty of the historical scholar
is to grasp the fact that his limitations as a human being must ever
debar him, even if the most complete material lies ready to his hand,
from attempting more than a personal interpretation of some part
or period of the past.'"

At the opposite pole from the itltra-scientihc stand such writers
as Carlyle, Creasy and Lecky. "The older one becomes," said
Lecky, "the more clearly one sees that King Hazard fashions three-
fourths of the events in this miserable world." "Pascal tells us,"
he quotes, "that if Cleopatra's nose had been shorter, the whole
face of the world might have been changed." "Arietta's pretty feet,
twinkling in the brook," wrote Creasy, "made her the mother of
William the Conqueror. Had she not thus fascinated Duke Robert,
the Liberal of Normandy, Harold would not have fallen at Hast-
ings, no Anglo-Norman dynasty could have arisen, no British
Empire.'"

I must forego further illustration of the fortuitous and pictur-
esque to remark that history is concerned with the truth about man.

1. Op. at., 224.

». Lecky. Political VaJue of History. 26.

3. Am. Hist. Review, Jan.. 1916, 225.

4. Decisive Battles, ch. VIII.



O HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Down to the middle of the nineteenth century history was reckoned
a branch of Hterature. It is only in the last generation that the
cardinal aim of historical writing has been generally discerned
as knowledge, or truth pure and simple. It cannot now be too
strongly emphasized that the first and most essential criterion of
historical writing is its truthfulness." But, interposes Macaulay,
"perfectly and absolutely true it cannot be ; for to be perfectly and
absolutely true, it ought to record all the slightest particulars of
the slightest actions. If history were written thus, the Bodleian
library would not contain the occurrences of a single week," — and,
he might have added, the world would presently be filled with literary
lumber. Hence we should qualify our statement and observe that
history is concerned with the important. "The trivial must be elim-
inated. It is only the important, vital, enduring facts and ideas that
go to make up history."" The various peoples and states are to
be studied comparatively. Professor Freeman has laid great em-
phasis on the comparative method. "My position, then," said he,
"is that in all our studies of history and language ... we must
cast away all distinctions of 'ancient' and 'modern,' of 'dead' and
'living,' and must boldly grapple with the great fact of the unity
of history.'" The best text-book writers of today are coming to
accept the truth uttered long since by him when he pointed out, "We
are learning that European history, from its first glimmerings to
our own day, is one unbroken drama, no part of which can be
rightly understood without reference to the other parts which come
before and after it." It was Thomas Arnold who first taught that
the political history of the world should be read as inter-related
parts of a great unity. Ancient and modern, religious and political,
are rolled together into the one long record of a related, unified
Humanity.

We observe, also, in seeking data for a definition of history,
with Professor Johnston, that "Man is the first postulate of history.
He is the beginning and the end of it. He enacts it ; he tells it ; he
accepts it as a message or gospel for guidance and self-realization."*
History, then, in its broad acceptation of the study of developing
man — primitive man, man in civil society, man in politics and in
the church, man wherever he touches men — is the most con'prehen-
sivc and difiicult. as well as the most attractive of all sciences. The
historian must employ as handmaids to his study many other sci-
ences. Indeed, there is no department of knowledge with which
the perfect historian must not be familiar. Because History's

1. Cf., .Tohnston. A, H. A. 1S93, p. 49: Langlols and Selgnobos. 303.

2. .TobDSon, op. (it., 50.

3. T'nity of History. 303.
4 Op Hf.,47.



ASPECTS OF THE STUDY OF HISTORY y

horizon is so extended, the perfect historian is yet lo seek. "The
perfect historian," wrote Macaulay, "is he in whose work the char-
acter and spirit of the age is exhibited in miniature. He relates no
fact, he attributes no expression to his character which is not
authenticated by sufficient testimony. But by judicious selection, re-
jection and arrangement, he gives to truth those attractions which
have been usurped by fiction. . . . He shows us the court, the
camp and the senate. But he shows us also the nation. Man will
not merely be described but will be made intimately known to us.
A historian such as we have been attempting to describe would
indeed be an intellectual prodigy. In his mind powers scarcely
compatible with each other must be tempered into an exquisite har-
mony. We shall sooner see another Shakespeare or another Homer."
Let us not be dismayed if we fall short of Macaulay's unattainable
ideal !

Before attempting finally to define history, it will be well to
mention one or two misconceptions for the sake of avoiding them.
And first, chronology is not history. It should be a solace and a
spur as well to the plodding youth to remember that learning
history does not consist solely in the learning of dates. "Let us
suppose," says Atkinson, "that you have got painfully into your
memories, in their proper order, all the kings of England and
Europe, and all the battles, . . . and all the rest of the com-
pendium. You have no more got history than a man has got a
house who has simply put up the frame of it." Insight is rather
to be sought than information. The well-crammed cranium, with-
out penetration and creative power, is imbecile. Annals, chronicles,
and memoirs abound in the materials of history, but alone they
do not constitute it.

Another misconception is that history is constituted of mere
costume, or picturesque narrative. While there are many things
in history that are picturesque, history itself must rest on the firm
basis of important, ascertained facts and phenomena. Well selected
fiction is an invaluable accessory to historical reading; but the
chances are that he deceives himself who thinks that he reads real
history in the novel. The vivacious descriptions of mediaeval chiv-
alry in the novels of Sir Walter Scott, while possessing elements of
truth and human interest, fail to disclose the prosaic dullness and
hateful countenance of much of feudal society.

What, then, is history? Is it the book I hold in my hand —
that is, a more or less complete narration and personal interpretation
of the life of people: or is it the actual events and characters that
have been imperfectly portrayed in the printed page ; or is it the
unfolding process of knowledge, the gradual emergence and course
of social self-consciousness, which comprehends events and char-



10 HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

acters and renders the book both possible and useful? In some
proper sense it is all these if not still more than these. History is
a harmonious combination, or synthesis, in due subordination, of
the several partial conceptions and various aspects.

It must be remarked here, however, as is clearly hinted in the
above questions, that history has its subjective and its objective
side; that is to say, the empirical perception and apprehension by
men of their related experience and social growth, and the events
themselves — the overt acts — that mark the advancing subjective
stages. Let me try to illustrate by means of the American Dec-
laration of Independence. Certain forces, including geographical
separation from the mother country, geographical unity over-seas,
substantial ethnical unity and identity of interests "conspired, at
last, to awaken the consciousness of the people of the thirteen colo-
nies to the fact that they had attained the natural conditions of a
sovereignty — a state.'" Here was the subjective reality, an emerging
social self-consciousness. "The revolution," as Professor Burgess
points out. "was an accomplished fact before the declaration of
1776. and so was independence. The act of the Fourth of July was
a notification to the world of faits accomplis. . . . The signi-
ficance of the proclamation was this: a people testified thereby the
consciousness of the fact that they had become, in the progressive
development of history, one whole, separate and adult nation, and
that they were determined to defend this natural status against
the now no longer natural supremacy of a foreign state.'" Finally,
a contemporaneous or subsequent narrative of the subjective and
objective phases of our great Declaration by a student of national
life furnishes us with a third concept of histor}', namely,' historical
writing. Perfectly and absolutely accurate historical writing cannot
be: even if we should grant that every detail of every event may
be recorded with absolute fidelity, the narration would still be essen-
tially untrue if it failed to reveal the Zeitgeist, to body forth the
living atmosphere of time and place.

At this point one is tempted to indulge in some speculation on
the philosophy of history, but it is emphatically true that a little
philosophy is a dangerous thing. There is at least much truth in
Ilegcl's dictum of human development conceived as a great process
of self-realization. Subjectively, then, history is the progress in
the larger consciousness of freedom : it becomes an active, self-
conscious process of knowledge, ascertaining the world-life of hu-
manity. Correcting the deductions of Hegel by the inductions of
Spencer, we have the data of the evolution of society. In the
noble words of Droysen : "History is humanity becoming and being



Burgess. Political Science.



ASPECTS OF THE STUDY OF HISTORY 11

conscious concerning itself. The epochs of History are not tho
life periods of this T of Humanity ; . . . but they are stages of
that ego's self-knowledge, its knowledge of the world and of God."
Again : "To apprehend the moral world historically means to ap-
prehend it according to its development and growth, according to
the causal succession of its movements."

We are only beginning to recognize the stupendous force of
the fact of human sociality. No man liveth to himself alone. "In
plain prose," wrote Professor Small, nearly twenty years ago, "our
lives, ourselves, are atoms of the life of humanity that has been
working to form us through all the ages.'" In the most recent text-
book of sociology we read: "One's life is not his own, but is his
share in the inheritance which comes down from a long social
past, in turn to be transmitted, improved or degraded, to his suc-
cessors.'"

Society is just now becoming intelligent about itself. After un-
told centuries of association by men, the social mind becomes a
concrete, if not organic reality, social consciousness emerges. Long
after the dawning of the social consciousness, however, comes the
social self-consciousness, which enables society to contemplate itself
as an objectified reality and entity, and to set before itself the
attainment of definite social aims. Without pursuing the thought
further, it is sufficient to suggest that the solution of the problem
of social teleology lies in the fact, as pointed out by Small, that,
"The necessary working basis of social improvement today is ac-
cordingly the body of judgments lodged in the minds of living
men about the things that are essentially desirable." It follows that,
"There can be no very stable theories of social action until there
are convincing standards of social aim."^

Having at length gained some conception of history itself, let
us inquire, what is there attractive about history? Wherein lies
its peculiar value? Can the busy youth of today really learn any-
thing about history ? It must be obvious that one cannot in a single
paper fully answer these and numerous questions that suggest them-
selves. My main purpose, therefore, is now to set forth rapidly
several practical considerations with the hope that they may suggest
avenues of thought, and leave their more complete discussion and
elaboration to others.

I hold that no study is in itself more attractive than history,
or selected portions of history. Fact is always preferred to fiction,
provided it is equally interesting. Even little children are delighted
to learn that heroes were real, live men instead of make-believes,

1. Am. Journ. of SooioloCT, Sept., '97, p. 150.
J. Hayes. Introd. to Sociology, 355.
3. Op. at., 170.



12 HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

and history is the record of the doings of humanity. Young men
study physics, mathematics, manual training, and the like: but in
such a list of subjects something is wanting to the complete rational
education. "It is the play of Hamlet without the Prince of Den-
mark," says Frederic Harrison.

"The proper study of mankind is man." "Whilst man is want-
ing, all the rest remains vague, and incomplete, and aimless." The
one subject, the first postulate of history, is tiuin. The paleolithic
ax is a historical source, for it tells us of primitive man : the
metropolitan newspaper is the greatest commentary on today's hu-
manity. History is man's telegraph of the ages: its records bring
us into converse with the nations of remotest past. With sound
reason and telling force did the Committee of Seven on the Study
of History in the Schools affirm: "If it is desirable that the High
School pupil should know the physical world, that he should know
the habits of ants and bees, the laws of floral growth, the simple
reactions in the chemical retort, it is certainly even more desirable
that he should be led to see the steps in the development of the
human race, and should have some dim perception of his own place,
and of his country's place, in the great movements of men."'

The present is indissolubly bound to the past, which it cannot,
even by the most colossal effort, throw entirely off. History is
essential to progress. "Suppose ... a man to be interested
in any study whatever," to quote once more Mr. Harrison, "either
in promoting general education, or eager to acquire knowledge for
himself. He will find, at every step he takes, that he is appealing
to the authority of the pa-^t. is using the ideas of former ages, or
carrying out principles established by ancient but not forgotten
thinkers. If he studies geometry, he will find that the first text-
book put into his hand was written by a Greek 2000 years ago. If
he takes up a grammar, he will be only repeating rules taught by
Roman school-masters or professors. Or is he interested in art?
He will find the same thing in a far greater degree . . . the
moment he begins to act, to live or to think, he must use the ma-
terials presented to him. and ... he can as little free himself
from the influence of former generations as he can free himself
from his pcr.sona! identity : unlearn all that he has learned ; cease
to be what his previous life has made him. and blot out of his
memory all recollection whatever.'" Let one despise history as he



Online LibraryHistorical Society of Southern CaliforniaAnnual publication of the Historical Society of Southern California (Volume yr.1915-1916) → online text (page 1 of 32)