Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/486

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the more exposed parts of the coast moved inland a greater or less distance.

Although by no means densely populated according to modern ideas, yet California was well divided up among the numerous tribes, and was probably more completely occupied than any other part of the United States. This is attested by the accuracy with which the tribal lands were marked off in many places by artificial boundaries, as also by the rigidness with which trespass on the territory of neighboring tribes was punished. Population must be large, and the natural products of the soil of considerable value, ere land rights are so carefully guarded. A large population is to be inferred also from the proximity of the missions to each other, since each one required a populous area from which to draw its converts; and, finally, a large population is attested by the mission figures, which show that during the mission period, from 1769 to 1834, some seventy-nine thousand converts were baptized; and yet this number can not by any means have represented the total population for the sixty-five years, since by no means all the Indians were converted.

As the Californian Indians were practically in the same culture state as those of other portions of the United States, though upon a somewhat lower plane, I need not dwell further upon their habits save to say that they lived in conical or wedge-shaped lodges of tule or thatched grass, or in temporary wigwams of branches; wore very little clothing; lived largely on fish, mollusks, and seeds, and to a less extent upon game; for the most part made no pottery, but employed soapstone for domestic utensils when that material was available, or used basketry vessels when it was not; were very fond of ornaments; had a complex mythology; resorted to their shamans for the cure or prevention of disease, for the destruction of enemies, either personal or tribal, for luck in hunting or fishing; and, finally, were fetich-worshipers. Such were the people to enlighten and Christianize whom was to be the life-work of the Franciscan fathers. Let us now observe the methods adopted for these praiseworthy ends.

The Spanish and Mexican authorities did not intend that the mission reign should be permanent. The viceroys of New Spain saw in California an important political addition to Spanish-Mexican territory, and even when secular colonization failed, and the attempt was abandoned in favor of ecclesiastical methods, the approved plan of the Government for the mission establishments contemplated these as but a temporary means to an end, and full provision was made for the conversion of the missions into secular establishments, quite independent of priestly authority, and for the conferring of citizenship upon the Indians. To this latter end it was provided that after ten years' service in the mission an In-