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CHAPTER VII.

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HE term California was formerly applied exclusively to the narrow strip of land between the Pacific Ocean and the Californian Gulf. Now it designates the extensive country ranging from latitude 22° 48' to 42° north, and between the 107° and 124° of west longitude. It is divided into Old, or Lower, California, and New, or Upper, California.

Old California was unknown to Europeans until 1534, at which time Hernando Cortes, the celebrated conqueror of Mexico, equipped a small fleet, took the command in person, discovered the Peninsula and Gulf of California, and ascended the latter about fifty leagues. He named it the Vermillion or Red Sea, and it was subsequently styled, by his countrymen, the Sea of Cortes. This voyage was

DISCOVERY OF THE COUNTRY.

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unfortunate. By storms and other disasters the conqueror of Mexico was not only prevented from planting a colony, but forced to retrace his course, and even to abandon the original design of the expedition-a north-west passage to the Old World.

Previous to this, and during the visit of Cortes to Spain, Nunez de Guzman had marched with an army from Mexico toward the northwest. In his progress, he collected a large quantity of gold, and received the submission of many caciques; but was finally stopped by a rugged mountainous country, which he named New Galicia. This had induced Cortes, prior to his own expedition, to fit out an armament at Acapulco, which he placed under the command of Hurtado de Mendoza; but violent storms, and the misconduct of the officers employed, defeated the objects of the expedition.

Six years after the discovery of California, the viceroy, Mendoza, sent an expedition to continue the observations of Cortes. The officers are said to have reached the fortieth degree of north latitude, where they observed snow-capped mountains on the coast; and, according to their own statement, met vessels with gilded yards, supposed to belong to China or Japan.

After this period, the burden of continental difficulties and South American conquests afforded the Spaniards but little opportunity to colonize the obscure provinces of the remote Pacific. The decline of maritime adventure in that nation also contributed to the neglect of California. The coast was visited, however, by Sir Francis Drake and other voyagers, and the northern coasts partially explored. The buccaneers frequently touched upon it, and the neighbouring ocean seems to have been a frequent resort for whaling expeditions. Still, for more than a century, no settlement was attempted; and the interior of the country remained as little known as though the coast had never been touched by a foreign vessel.

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SIR FRANCIS DRAKE.

But, notwithstanding this apathy with regard to colonization, a field was opened not long after the discovery, which, exciting that strongest of all motives, the love of gain, soon brought numerous visiters to the adjacent waters. This was the finding of a rich pearl oyster-bed on the coast. The pearls abound chiefly in the southern part of the peninsula, in the Bay of Seralvo, and around the islands

of Santa Cruz and San José. The most valuable pearls in the possession of the court of Spain, were found in 1615 and 1665, by the expeditions of Juan Iturbi and Bernal de Pinadero. In 1768 and 1769, a private soldier, named Juan Ocio, was enriched in a short time by fishing on the coast of Seralvo; but, since that period, the number of Californian pearls brought annually to market has been reduced almost to nothing. The Indians and negroes who followed the severe occupation of divers, were frequently drowned or devoured by sharks.

T length, in 1769, pursuant to the king's direction, Admiral Don Isidro Otondo undertook the conquest of California. He was accompanied by a number of Jesuit missionaries, under Father Eusebio Francisco Kino. The accounts of this undertaking are exceedingly meagre ; but the general owed his ultimate success as much to the efforts of the ecclesiastics as to those of the soldiers. From it, the commencement of the Spanish authority in this province is to be dated. The Jesuits settled in the most fertile provinces, and when the commotions occasioned by the appearance and designs of the white men had in some degree worn away, they entered ardently upon the trying task of proselyting the Indians. Persuasion and presents were the means commonly used; where these failed, force was resorted to. After conversion, each native was required to give ten years' faithful service to the missions, after which he was placed at liberty, and, on security of good behaviour, allotted a small piece of land for cultivation, and a few cattle. But they usually remained in the employment of the missions, having become attached to their masters and occupations. Their duties consisted cniely in taking care of cattle, labouring on the farms, gardening, and household work. Some were taught trades, and others hired out to service. The police of the missions was strict, punishment was administered when required, and rewards were given for good behaviour.

Such was the patriarchal manner in which California existed for an entire century. Remote from the source of its civilization, it felt little of the influence of the parent state, and, indeed, remained almost unknown either to Spain or Europe. This accounts for the conflicting statements entertained, for a long period of time, con

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cerning its soil, riches, climate, and capabilities. During the revolts in 1836, the Indians were mostly cast off from the missions, and deprived of the fruits of their labour. The country was visited, in 1841, by Captain Wilkes, at the head of the United States Exploring Expedition, who found it to be destitute of all government. "The Indians," he says, "are now committing acts of violence on the whites; they are becoming daily more daring, and have rendered a residence in single farm-houses, or estancias, not without danger. In looking at the state in which these poor Indians have been left, it cannot be denied but that they have cause to be dissatisfied with the treatment they have received."

New California appears first to have been discovered by Cobrillo, a Spanish adventurer. He saw the south coast in 1542, and sailed for a short distance towards the north. Thirty-six years after, (1578,) Sir Francis Drake went over the same ground, and pursued his discoveries much further northward. He called the country New Albion. In 1769, it was colonized by the Spaniards; and the Indians were converted principally through the efforts of the Jesuits; and, until 1836, remained a province of Mexico. In November of that year, the citizens of Monterey, the capital, took up arms,

expelled the Mexican garrison, and declared the province independent. A provisional government was established, similar in its general features to that of the United States.

California has taken an active part in the Mexican war, against the United States. The first military operations consequent to that event, within the territory, were the result rather of accident than design. APTAIN FREMONT, of the Corps

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of Topographical Engineers, was sent by the United States government on an expedition to the country lying beyond the Rocky Mountains. The avowed purpose of this command was to find a new pass to Oregon, and part of the route lay through the settled portion of California.

On the 29th of June, 1846, Fremont reached the neighbourhood of Monterey, in the upper province, where he halted his command, and proceeded along to the city, in order to acquaint the authorities with his plans, and request permission to pass some time in the valley. Permission was granted; but, on reaching the valley of San Joaquin, he learned through Mr. Larkin, the United States agent, that General Castro was about to attack him with a considerable force. He then took post about thirty miles from the city, and, raising the national colours, informed the Californians that he would defend the place to the last. Castro, however, did not attack, and Fremont, after a tedious retreat, arrived (May 15, 1846) at the Tlamath lake. This place he soon left, in consequence of the appearance of hostile Indians. On retracing his steps to the Sacramento river, he ascertained that Castro was still in arms against him, and was even preparing an expedition against the Americans who had settled in the neighbourhood. In these circumstances, Captain Fremont considered himself authorized to attempt the complete conquest of California, and its annexation to the United States. This was on the 6th of June. War already existed between the United States and Mexico, but of this fact the captain had not yet been apprized.

The movements consequent to this resolution were rapid and brilliant. The garrison at Zanona was captured, together with nine.

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