Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/487

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dian might claim his liberty, provided a respectable settler would become responsible for his good conduct. It was the clearly expressed idea of the Government that the Indians should be rendered self-supporting as rapidly as possible, and the missions were looked upon as educational establishments to this end. Though not openly antagonizing these provisions, the fathers never yielded a hearty assent to the policy, and from the very first sought to render the converts totally dependent and to establish between themselves and their charges the relation of father and children, in which policy they were only too successful. It was no part of their plan to make the Indian self-supporting. The danger of mission disestablishment disturbed the missionaries little, as they openly said the Indians were incapable of self-maintenance.

For its own support and the maintenance of its converts each mission had allotted to it fifteen square miles of land. The buildings were laid out in various ways—sometimes in the form of a square inclosed by a high wall, and sometimes in detached sections. To each mission was allotted a well-built church; and though externally these presented a rather rude appearance, yet their interiors were finished with considerable care, and lavishly decorated as far as the circumstances permitted. Among the pictures that

PSM V37 D487 Modern hut of mission indians in coahuila valley.jpg
Fig. 3.—Modern Hut of Mission Indians, Coahuila Valley. Ramona and Children in Foreground.

hung upon the church walls were always to be found two, representing respectively hell and paradise. The former depicted in the most vivid way the future torments of the unregenerate, and it proved a very effective means of conversion.

The houses of the neophytes were usually a little distance from the mission proper, and consisted of open rows of little huts. The accompanying sketch (Fig. 3) affords as good an idea of these