the pastoral period—of Californian history. In all, twenty-one missions were established between 1769 and 1823. The The rule of the missions. leader in this movement was a really remarkable man, Miguel José Serra (known as Junipero Serra, 1713-1784), a friar of very great ability, purest piety, and tireless zeal. He possessed great influence in Mexico and Madrid. “The theory of the mission system,” says H.H. Bancroft, “was to make the savages work out their own salvation and that of the priests also.” The last phrase scarcely does justice to the truly humane and devout intentions of the missionaries; but in truth the mission system was a complete failure save in the accumulation of material wealth. Economically the missions were the blood and life of the province. At them the neophytes worked up wool, tanned hides, prepared tallow, cultivated hemp and wheat, raised a few oranges, made soap, some iron and leather articles, mission furniture, and a very little wine and olive oil. Such as it was, this was about the only manufacturing or handicraft in California. Besides, the hides and tallow yielded by the great herds of cattle at the missions were the support of foreign trade and did much toward paying the expenses of the government. The Franciscans had no sympathy for profane knowledge, even among the Mexicans,—sometimes publicly burning quantities of books of a scientific or miscellaneous nature; and the reading of Fénelon’s Télémaque brought excommunication on a layman. As for the intellectual development of the neophytes the mission system accomplished nothing; save the care of their souls they received no instruction, they were virtually slaves, and were trained into a fatal dependence, so that once coercion was removed they relapsed at once into barbarism. It cannot be said, however, that Anglo-Americans have done much better for them.
The political upheavals in Spain and Mexico following 1808 made little stir in this far-off province. Joseph was never recognized, and allegiance was sworn to Ferdinand (1809). When revolution broke out in Mexico (1811), California remained loyal, suffering much by the cessation of supplies from Mexico, the resulting deficits falling as an added burden upon the missions. The occupation of Monterey for a few hours by a Buenos Aires privateer (1818) was the only incident of actual war that California saw in all these years; and it, in truth, was a ridiculous episode, fit introduction to the bloodless play-wars, soon to be inaugurated in Californian politics. In 1820 the Spanish constitution was duly sworn to in California, and in 1822 allegiance was given to Mexico. Under the Mexican Federal constitution of 1824 Upper California, first alone (it was made a distinct province in 1804) and then with Lower California, received representation in the Mexican congress.
The following years before American occupation may be divided into two periods of quite distinct interest. From about 1840 to 1848 foreign relations are the centre of interest. From 1824 to 1840 there is a complicated and not uninteresting movement of local politics and a preparation for the future,—the missions fall, republicanism grows, the sentiment of local patriotism becomes a political force, there is a succession of sectional controversies and personal struggles among provincial chiefs, an increase of foreign commerce, of foreign immigration and of foreign influence.
The Franciscans were mostly Spaniards in blood and in sympathies. They viewed with displeasure and foreboding the fall of Iturbide’s empire and the creation of the republic. They were not treasonable, but talked much, refusing allegiance to the new government; and as they controlled the resources of the colony and the good will of the Indians, they felt their strength against the local authority; besides, they were its constant benefactors. But secularization was in harmony with the growth of republican ideas. There was talk in California of the rights of man and neophytes, and of the sins of friars. The missions were never intended to be permanent. The missionaries were only the field workers sent out to convert and civilize the Indians, who were to be turned over then to the regular clergy, the monks pushing further onward into new fields. This was the well-established policy of Spain. In 1813 the Spanish Cortes ordered the secularization of all missions in America that were ten years old, but this decree was not published in California until 1821. After that secularization was the burning question in Californian politics. In 1826 a beginning toward it was made in partially emancipating the neophytes, but active and thorough secularization of the missions did not begin until 1834; by 1835 it was consummated at sixteen missions out of twenty-one, and by 1840 at all. At some of the missions the monks acted later as temporary curates for the civil authorities, until in 1845-1846 all the missions were sold by the government. Unfortunately the manner of carrying it out discredited a policy neither unjust nor bad in itself, increasing its importance in the political struggles of the time. The friars were in no way mistreated: Californians did not share Mexican resentments against Spaniards, and the national laws directed against these were in the main quietly ignored in the province. In 1831 the mission question led to a rising against the reactionary clerical rule of Governor Manuel Victoria. He was driven out of the province.
This was the first of the opéra bouffe wars. The causes underlying them were serious enough. In the first place, there was a growing dissatisfaction with Mexican rule, which accomplished nothing tangible for good in California,—although its plans were as excellent as could be asked had there only been peace and means to realize them; however, it made the mistake of sending convicts as soldiers. Californians were enthusiastic republicans, but found the benefits of republicanism slow in coming. The resentment of the Franciscans, the presence of these and other reactionaries and of Spaniards, the attitude of foreign residents, and the ambitions of leading Californian families united to foment and propagate discontent. The feeling against Mexicans—those “de la otra banda” as they were significantly termed—invaded political and even social life. In the second place, there was growing jealousy between northern towns and southern towns, northern families and southern families. These entered into disputes over the location of the capital and the custom-house, in the Franciscan question also (because the friars came some from a northern and some from a southern college), and in the question of the distribution of commands in the army and offices in the civil government. Then there was the mission question; this became acuter about 1833 when the friars began to destroy, or sell and realize on, the mission property. The next decade was one of plunder and ruin in mission history. Finally there was a real growth of republicanism, and some rulers—notably Victoria—were wholly out of sympathy with anything but personal, military rule. From all these causes sprang much unrest and considerable agitation.
In 1828-1829 there was a revolution of unpaid soldiers aided by natives, against alleged but not serious abuses, that really aimed at the establishment of an independent native government. In 1831 Governor Victoria was deposed; in 1836 Governor Mariano Chico was frightened out of the province; in 1836 Governor Nicolas Gutierrez and in 1844-1845 Governor Manuel Micheltorena were driven out of office. The leading natives headed this last rising. There was talk of independence, but sectional and personal jealousies could not be overcome. In all these wars there was not enough blood shed to discolour a sword. The rising of 1836 against Gutierrez seems to-day most interesting, for it was in part a protest against the growth of federalism in Mexico. California was even deferred to as (declared to be seems much too strong a statement) an Estado Libre y Soberano; and from 1836 to 1838, when the revolutionary governor, Juan B. Alvarado, was recognized by the Mexican government, which had again inclined to federalism and, besides, did not take the matter very seriously, the local government rested simply on local sentiment. The satisfaction of this ended all difficulties.
By this time foreign influence was showing itself of importance. Foreign commerce, which of course was contraband, being contrary to all Spanish laws, was active by the beginning of the 19th century. It was greatly stimulated American immigration. during the Spanish-American revolutions (the Lima and Panama trade dating from about 1813), for, as the Californian authorities practically ignored the law, smuggling