Trans. The missions were not agents of intentional enslavement, but rather rapid and therefore violent social and cultural change. G. V. Von Langsdorff, Voyages and Travels in Various Parts of the World During the Years 1803, 1804, 1805, 1806 and 1807 (London, 1814), pp. By Letter to the Editor. Foundation of missions was controlled by the Crown, their existence was supported by the royal treasury, and inhabitants were secured by the military. Summations of their reports are contained in Hubert H. Bancroft, History of California (San Francisco, 1886) vol. In “A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions,” published last year, Castillo draws on seven years … Simultaneously, the Reformation confirmed Spanish Catholicism and made of the coalescing nation a repository of the “true faith.” Spain’s orthodoxy won from the papacy unique privileges and unparalleled control over the Catholic Church within her borders.2 Thus the splendid burst of energy which propelled Spain across two oceans and a continent in the century after 1492 was sustained by both territorial and religious motives. 5. One native named Tiburcio claimed he had been flogged for crying at the death of his wife and child. The witnesses went on to catalog other abuses although hunger was cited as the most prevalent reason.22. The reduction process was not necessary where missions were located among sedentary people. However, throughout the mission period rumors of revolt never ceased and a number of destructive fires were thought to be the work of malcontents. The observant Frenchman went on to describe in more detail the offenses for which the whip was applied. 203-209. 177-179. Epidemics periodically decimated the population. San Diego History Center Now! Father Francisco Pujol was sent to San Miguel as a replacement and immediately became stricken with the same illness as the others. 129.See also: Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. And lastly, to complete the similtude between this and other religious communities, it must be observed, that the moment an Indian is baptised, the effect is the same as if he had pronounced a vow for life. Economic motives cannot be assigned to the Franciscan frontiersmen who pioneered Alta California. Further, he observed: It is very possible, that in their former mode of life they were rarely ill, but the great change in their habits, the different kind of nourishment they now take, their being constrained to labor much more constantly than before, with other circumstances, may have operated powerfully upon their constitutions.24, Despite concern and good intentions disease ran rampant. They were subsequently sentenced by Borica to receive from twenty-five to seventy-five lashes and to work in shackles at the presidio from two months to a year.21, In this and subsequent testimony efforts were made to determine causes for desertion. Slavery, Serra and the California Missions, continued. The California missions fall far short of this classical definition. 9. In August nine captives were tried and found guilty. 13. For a vivid illustration of Franciscan poverty in California see Fray Francisco Palóu to Fray Rafael Verger, San Carlos, November 2, 1773, Archivo del Museo Nacional, Documentos Relativos a los Misiones de Californias, II. The Missions of California, A Legacy of Genocide (San Francisco: Indian Historian Press, 1987), 154-155. In 1806-1807 a deadly epidemic of Another measles and dysentery ravaged the Indians and in the words of Father Mariano Payeras it “has cleaned out the missions and filled the cemeteries.”25, A letter written by Father Mariano Payeras to Father Baldomero Lopéz, Guardian of the College of San Fernando, in which he echoed a plea for medication for syphilitic neophytes suggests that venereal disease was a prime cause for debilitation of neophytes. A review by Edd Doerr, President, Americans for … Father President Fermín Francisco de Lasuén, Refutation of Charges, San Carlos, June 19, 1801. Benites pointed to the most serious causes including dysentery, fevers, pleurisy, the humid and cold climate, pneumonia, viruses but most importantly, syphilis23 In 1806, a Russian visitor, the Baron Von Langsdorf commented upon the sad state of medical knowledge in Alta California. 21. Typically the Fathers and a squad of soldiers went in pursuit. Little pressure was applied and likely converts were encouraged to watch, and eventually to help in building the mission edifice itself. 1649 El Prado, Suite #3 It is, consequently, only indirectly that we, two hundred years removed, can decipher their thoughts. La Pérouse condemned the mission system which made men “whose state at present scarcely differs from that of the negro inhabitants of our colonies, at least in those plantations which are governed with most mildness and humanity.”. Indians were assigned living quarters on the basis of age and marital status. Meetings, Lectures & Workshops – History Center. The padres would often baptize Native Californianvillages en masse and relocate them to the missions, where they would work either voluntarily or by force from location to locat… Historia de Mexico, Primera Serie, tomo 2. 4. CATHOLICAE ECCLESIAE (On Slavery in the Missions) Pope Leo XIII. Despite denial by the Fathers, nearly all witnesses cited excessive flogging, hunger and the death of relatives. When Indians killed a priest who was especially cruel in his whipping they were caught and sentenced to fifty daily lashes each for nine days and to life sentences of hard labor. Sign-up for our e-newsletter: Either soldiers from the escolta, or mission guard, or soldiers from a presidial company were assigned the task of tracking and capturing runaways. Also Lasuén to Fray José Gasol, San Carlos, March 30, 1801, Ibid., pp. Commandants of the presidios were also asked to report on punishments used at the missions and their … Men were publicly whipped to serve as an example while women were lashed in an enclosed and distant area so their cries would not be heard by their men. Yeah that was my first thought, how can Gavin ignore the slavery imposed by Spanish Missions that resulted in genocide of native peoples? To add your comment, please click, Rev. Flogging of Indians at San Diego apparently precipitated the attack although abuses over a period of time had built up resentment. An editorial question (Aug. 20) asked about the removal of Confederate monuments from public land. Despite punishments the recalcitrant Indians continued their transgressions. Trans. To California’s Franciscan frontiersmen residence in a mission was an essential ingredient in a recipe whose final product was to be good Christians and loyal subjects. The Franciscans saw themselves as agents for salvation in the next world, not this. Anonymous, San Gabriel Mission (1832), courtesy of the California Historical Society. The results were people wrenched from home, tradition and family, subjugated to an alien culture and contradictory values. Of the missionaries, he observed, “it is with the most pleasing satisfaction that I speak of the pious and prudent conduct of these religious men, which so perfectly accords with the object of their institution.”10 The Frenchman was impressed by the sincerity and hospitality of the missionaries but he found mission theocracy incompatible with natural rights of man. The regimentation, organized labor and extreme paternalism of the missions resulted in despondency and weakening of desire to live. Girls who had passed their eighth year were housed in the monjerio in which they were confined under lock and key at night to protect their virtue. The use of public property and taxes to display them is one key to the objection. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation, Matt Fox my eyes are being opened by your recounting of this history. 16. As an essentially Western faith, Christianity requires an understanding and acceptance of basic Western values. Your email address will not be published. This number includes only those fugitives who were able to successfully elude constant pursuit. (CNN)California Gov. For Serra, his missions “were little more than forced labor. The four commandants were José Argüello, Felipe Goycoechea, Antonio Grajera and Hermenegildo Sal. The rules and regulations designed to produce Christian subjects for the King were developed over centuries and are a readily available portion of the historical record. 1. The priest’s condition soon became critical and he suffered excruciating pain, convulsions and spasms. In the 1850s, the state government paid bounties for … Yet famed for its liberal reputation, California has a far more complicated history. Even before the state’s admission to the Union in September 1850, California’s Legislature passed a bill — ironically called the Act for the Government and Protection of Indians — which codified the Spanish practice of forcing California Indians into slavery, though it set a few token restrictions on the practice. Another means of resistance to missionization was escape. The Spanish Visitor General wrote to Serra’s close friend Friar Palou that they should “not teach the Indians how to write; for I have enough experiences that such major instruction perverts and hastens their ruination.”, This too followed the methods of the slavery plantations where reading and writing were forbidden. Thank you for your writing and speaking!♥️. Within this short period the status of native groups within the system can be readily examined. 619-232-6203. by Ivan Petroff (Los Angeles, 1953), p. 14. The best curanderos and curanderas have been procured. In fact no missions were secularized on the northern frontier during the Spanish period. The Franciscans in California were only dimly aware of the ideals of human freedom popularized by the Enlightenment, and certainly had little sympathy for them. They are a people without education, without government, religion or respect for authority, and they shamelessly pursue without restraint whatever their brutal appetites suggest to them. The Father President’s refutation included a scathing indictment of the very people whom he served. Slavery, in the usual sense of the word, implies economic exploitation of the enslaved for the benefit of the slaveowner. Desertion was not an occasional occurrence but rather a persistent problem. Syphilis, introduced by single soldiers, was the major cause of mortality and declining birth rates since it caused sterility and was passed on congenitally. Soldiers were later sent into the hills to try and capture those responsible for the insurrection. The roots of the mission system as it developed rest in part in the unique relationship between state secular and sacerdotal laboriously developed in Spain. Fuster was a missionary at San Diego and left us an eyewitness account. Permission was required but it was easily obtained.8, A plethora of rules and regulations guided the daily round of native activity at the California missions. 194-234. Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. 20. The reconquest of the Spanish homeland from Moorish colonizers was indeed an epic war to recover territory, but because of obvious religious differences it had the added aspect of a grand religious crusade. 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