california missions slavery
For the 2,000 enslaved people brought into the state during the Gold Rush and granted freedom in 1850, the … Diseases, starvation, filthy and crowded living conditions, cruelty and torture–but also depression killed the mission Indians. Economic motives cannot be assigned to the Franciscan frontiersmen who pioneered Alta California. email@example.com As an essentially Western faith, Christianity requires an understanding and acceptance of basic Western values. This was due to underestimation of the task at hand and frequently a vested interest in economic exploitation of natives possible within the system. Summations of their reports are contained in Hubert H. Bancroft, History of California (San Francisco, 1886) vol. Predictably these people did not submit to such treatment voluntarily and force became a necessary concomitant. In all missions hospitals have been built, potions have been purchased and medicines acquired from surgeons of the province and from books. The priests gradually recovered and Father President LasuÃ©n assumed the affair was at an end. Serra, who was born in Spain, came to the Americas in 1749, and in 1769 he founded the first of what would become 21 missions along the California coast. The best curanderos and curanderas have been procured. Hubert H. Bancroft, History of California, vol. Was Rome blind and deaf when it canonized Sera? The population decline is made more notable since in twenty-four years I have known only two epidemics, that of 1801 and the measles of 1806.27. Their inclination to lewdness and theft is on a par with their love for the mountains. The reduction process was not necessary where missions were located among sedentary people. The Spanish Visitor General wrote to Serraâs close friend Friar Palou that they should ânot teach the Indians how to write; for I have enough experiences that such major instruction perverts and hastens their ruination.â, This too followed the methods of the slavery plantations where reading and writing were forbidden. The tendency is to blame the missionaries for the near extinction of mission Indians. Commandants of the presidios were also asked to report on punishments used at the missions and their … California Fugitive Slave Act of 1852: In 1852, pro-slavery forces in California pushed a law through the legislature that put many blacks at risk of being forcibly deported back to slaveholding states in the south – and to lives of brutal indentured servitude. The San Diego History Center is funded in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and by the County of San Diego. Lower level of the San Diego History Center San Diego, CA 92101, For general inquiries: Discipline ultimately depended upon physical abuse and this was pointed out by the foreigner. Yes, We Live on Ohlone Land. Our museums and archives are temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Encyclical promulgated on 20 November 1890. It is a simple task to define the theoretical operation of missions. 2. These elected leaders, La PÃ©rouse claimed, were simple tools of the Franciscans. Natives were not irrevocably bound to missions until baptism, which commonly took place two or three months after instruction in Catholic doctrine began. Consequently, neophytes were lured to missions with beads, trinkets, food, clothing and promises of a better life. Fuster was a missionary at San Diego and left us an eyewitness account. This report is the most eloquent and complete defense in existence.13, If indeed by slavery we mean an almost total restriction of personal freedom, LasuÃ©n’s defense is the system’s condemnation. Your email address will not be published. In all, it forms a somber calculation of diminution. 139, 131, 109f, 112-114, 98. 10. After one abortive attempt to capture renegades, Governor Diego de Borica organized an expedition to attack the rancheria located across the bay and to capture head men and deserters. Turkanoff’s lurid description may be inaccurate in detail but numerous sources confirm vicious maltreatment toward apostates. As an alternative to subjugation and control by force of arms, these institutions attempted to implant concepts of social order and culture held by the dominant Hispanic society.1 The position of the Indian within this system was at best ambiguous when measured against the later issue of freedom versus slavery. In 1769, under order of the Spanish king, sea and land expeditions departed Mexico for California, meeting in San Diego where the first fort and mission were established to serve as frontier outposts. . Slavery, in the usual sense of the word, implies economic exploitation of the enslaved for the benefit of the slaveowner. 1. European diseases wrought the same devastating effect upon California natives as they did upon natives throughout the Americas. One visitor in particular I judge to have been relatively objective. Are we working for a just economic system that respects all humans and all earth creatures? Twenty-one lashes with the whip was the arbitrary limit placed upon punishment.14, Commandants of the presidios were also asked to report on punishments used at the missions and their descriptions were at variance with LasuÃ©n’s. 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. Societies that Control the Traffic Invoke the Aid of Law and Highbinders, and Have Also Appealed to Their Consul PASADENA, Cal., Sept. 15-When the slaves were emancipated during the civil war it was supposed that slavery had ceased in the United States, yet within a short time a missionary in California has asked aid for a most peculiar purpose. The missions were not agents of intentional enslavement, but rather rapid and therefore violent social and cultural change. Oloton was flogged for ignoring his wife after she had sinned with a vaquero. The fifty-two years from 1769 to 1821 witnessed the beginning, development and golden age of the California missions. For a contemporary expression of the dual role of the California missions see Patentes e Ynstrucciones dados a los Empleados de la ExpedicciÃ³n maritima de Monterrey, JosÃ© de GÃ¡lvez, Puerto de la Paz, December 6, 1768, Archivo General de Indias, Guadalajara 416. By Matthew Fox. 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. LasuÃ©n’s ultimate defense of the system which he served rested upon the defective character of the natives. They were, of course, restricted to the mission complex at all times.9. A review by Edd Doerr, President, Americans for … Missions were far from luxurious, and although food became plentiful all imported items were in short supply. The priest’s condition soon became critical and he suffered excruciating pain, convulsions and spasms. The Fugitive Slave Law decreed any person brought to California pre-statehood as a slave would be considered a slave in the eyes of the law, even though the California constitution banned slavery and the state entered the Union as a “free state” under the Compromise of 1850. Married couples were considered most difficult to teach because of ingrained beliefs and lifestyles. 8. Thank you Matthew for bringing these crimes to daylight and to our consciences. 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. This includes a chronological concept of history and a belief in the subservience of nature. On Wikimedia Commons: Consider deeply how once again, as with slavery, economics is foundational to the entire system of the missions. Corporal punishment is inflicted on the Indians of both sexes who neglect the exercises of piety, and many sins, which are left in Europe to the divine justice, are here punished by iron and stocks. 2, pp. Truancy became so common that it was customary to send presidial soldiers after the fugitives at stated intervals and round up as many as possible at one time to be sent back to their respective missions. Slavery, Serra and the California Missions, continued. 20. 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 LopÃ©z, 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. Force was the natural concomitant of violent cultural change. However, throughout the mission period rumors of revolt never ceased and a number of destructive fires were thought to be the work of malcontents. See Harold Livermore, A History of Spain (New York, 1958). The neophytes the friars chose to carry out the priests’ commands were “like the overseers of a slave plantation: passive beings, blind performers of the will of their superiors (friars).â They beat any Indian, no matter what age or sex, who violated mission rules. Maynard Geiger, PalÃ³u’s Life of junÃpero Serra (Washington, D.C., 1955), pp. Flogging of Indians at San Diego apparently precipitated the attack although abuses over a period of time had built up resentment. 42-61. His 36 books (translated into 74 languages), as well as his lectures, retreats, and innovative education models, have ignited an international movement to awaken people to be mystics and prophets, contemplative activists, who honor and defend the earth and work for justice. It is, consequently, only indirectly that we, two hundred years removed, can decipher their thoughts. At Mission San Diego de AlcalÃ¡ flogging of Indians helped to instigate an open attack in which Fray Luis Jayme and a blacksmith were killed. Hispanicization implied much more than simple religious instruction. Congregation of California natives into missions was theoretically not forcible. Most died within two years, with their faith, customs, and way of life torn from them. There were special circumstances in which the restriction against leaving the mission was relaxed. The communal character directed by a Franciscan priest, typical of California’s missions, was determined primarily by the native peoples with whom the system operated. Before baptism, neophytes were warned that once they had become Christians their lives would be restricted to the mission compound.7 The rationale for this stricture on mobility is clear in light of the mission’s twofold obligation to Christianize and Hispanicize. This in turn, LasuÃ©n continued, “presupposes a mind that is more perverted and more obstinate in evil.”17 At this point punishment by necessity was more severe. Women, LasuÃ©n granted, were flogged as well when they deserved it. Iâm fairly educated yet I am learning about these missions for the first time!! The witnesses went on to catalog other abuses although hunger was cited as the most prevalent reason.22. As Elias Castillo puts it, âSome may have simply willed themselves to die, unable to stand the terrible stressâ¦.Nearly half of the missions populations died each yearâ and to make up for such losses the friars hunted farther and farther to find tribes from which they could seek a new and free labor force for their plantations. Back at the College of San Fernando, Hora addressed a memorial to the viceroy in which he made serious charges against the California missionaries of cruelty and mismanagement. See FermÃn Francisco de LasuÃ©n to Fray JosÃ© Gasol, San Carlos, December 29, 1800. Trans. Such is the character of the men we are required to correct, and whose crimes we must punish.16. They live well free but as soon as we reduce them to a Christian and community life they decline in health, they fatten, sicken and die. Finally, by 1836 the Mexican Republic forcibly stripped the padres of the power to coerce labor from the Indians and the mission rapidly collapsed. Tribal leaders in California, and Governor Gavin Newsom (fourth from left), meet at the future site of the California Indian Heritage Center on June 18, 2019.. Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo 16. When the issue was broached, reactions were defensive. in Kenneally, The Writings of FermÃn Francisco de LasuÃ©n, vol. 75-76. in Kenneally, The Writings of FermÃn Francisco de LasuÃ©n, vol. A new law — carried by San Diego Democratic Assemblymember Shirley Weber — establishes a nine-person committee to study California’s complicity in slavery, develop proposals on what reparations might look like for descendants of enslaved people, and determine who might get paid.. Reparations can take many forms — they could be direct cash payments or subsidized education and … Castillo comments that this policy endorsed by Serra âproved catastrophic for the Indians when they began abandoning the missions in the 1830s.â. Event & Exhibition Updates In October of 1775 gentile and Christian Indians acted in concert to destroy Mission San Diego. When supplies ran short, as they frequently did in the early days, natives were encouraged to leave the missions in order to forage for themselves and thus relieve the pressure on limited mission supplies. The most succinct analysis of the role of the frontier mission is contained in Herbert E. Bolton, “The Mission as a Frontier Institution in the Spanish American Colonies,” American Historical Review, 23 (1917), pp. He was âappalled at the treatment of the Indians by the Franciscan friars.â. They did perceive the challenge to old ways posed by the enlightened monarchy of Charles III. Expediente on diseases of the Indians by JosÃ© MarÃa Benites, Monterey, January 1, 1805, Santa Barbara Mission Archives (SBMA). For a vivid illustration of Franciscan poverty in California see Fray Francisco PalÃ³u to Fray Rafael Verger, San Carlos, November 2, 1773, Archivo del Museo Nacional, Documentos Relativos a los Misiones de Californias, II. Too often economic exploitation of native peoples was the strongest foundation of the surrounding civilian and military society.4. 177-179. 194-234. Thank you for your writing and speaking!â¥ï¸. 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. California rejected slavery from the start, but committed genocide against Native Americans. One native named Tiburcio claimed he had been flogged for crying at the death of his wife and child. Violations of the stern code of sexual conduct were punished by putting men in stocks and women in irons. Through peculiarities of Spanish history, religious and secular became so intertwined as to create an inseparable bond between the two. The Father President’s refutation included a scathing indictment of the very people whom he served. Located in the heart of Balboa Park The purpose of this act is to abrogate these statues and cenotaphs by the authority of those offended. They also established four military installations throughout California, el Presidio Real de San Carlos de Monterey, el Presidio Real de San Diego, el Presidio Real de San Francisco, and el Presidio Real de Santa Bárbara. The California Missions Resource Center is a comprehensive and unique resource for historical information on the twenty-one California Missions. To the Catholic Missionaries in Africa. Open revolt is, of course, the most obvious reaction to real or imagined oppression. Each year the Father President of the missions submitted a report titled “General State of the Missions of New California.” These reports are available for each year with the exception of 1789 in the Santa Barbara Mission Archives. Uniformly they maintained that from 15 to 50 lashes were the norm although a novenary of twenty-five lashes per day for nine days was sometimes applied. Anonymous, San Gabriel Mission (1832), courtesy of the California Historical Society. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation, Matt Fox my eyes are being opened by your recounting of this history. Black slavery is a footnote in California … 208-209. As natives were Hispanicized they were gradually granted limited freedom of movement between missions, pueblos and presidios. Fray Francisco PalÃ³u provides a lucid description in Maynard Geiger, PalÃ³u’s Life of JunÃpero Serra, pp. Although three Indians were whipped and imprisoned, the question of their guilt was never satisfactorily determined. Stocks, shackles and hobbles were also applied to neophytes accused of neglect of work or religious duties, overstaying leave of absence, sexual offenses, thefts and quarreling.15. Meetings, Lectures & Workshops â History Center. Father President FermÃn Francisco de LasuÃ©n, Refutation of Charges, San Carlos, June 19, 1801. Despite punishments the recalcitrant Indians continued their transgressions. A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey, Please consider making a tax-deductible donation. Corporal punishment was indeed an important feature of mission routine. 194-234. While criticisms leveled at mission management by outsiders were apt to be less than sympathetic, defenses of the missions by the Franciscans were written with an eye to justification. Spanish California sustained a series of missions which represented in a compressed time frame a close approximation of the ideal operation of frontier missions. 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. 2, pp. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill establishing a task force to study and make recommendations on reparations for slavery. La PÃ©rouse left a picture of a highly regularized communal system in which transgressions of rules made by the Franciscans were swiftly punished. See also: Matthew Fox, A Way To God: Thomas Mertonâs Creation Spirituality Journey, pp. California’s anti-slavery position regarding African Americans heightened the debate raging in the United States Senate at that time in part because it affected the balance between states that favored slavery and states that opposed it. The San Diego History Center a Smithsonian Affiliate and member to the San Diego Museum Council and Balboa Park Cultural Partnership. Zephyrin Engelhardt, The Missions and Missionaries of California (Santa Barbara, 1930) vol. Liberato fled to escape dying of hunger as his mother, two brothers and three nephews had done. The result in many cases was slavery in fact although not in intent. See Fray Vicente Fuster to Fray JunÃpero Serra, San Diego, November 28, 1775. Colonial stocks. Escapees in concert with non-mission natives frequently made violent and sometimes successful resistance to recapture. Thomas L. Scharf, Managing Editor, By ROBERT ARCHIBALD Director of the Western Heritage CenterBillings, Montana. After an autopsy LasuÃ©n reluctantly reported, “It is now public knowledge, and there is no room for doubt, that the missionary died of poisoning.”19. 5. 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. This is appalling, I had no idea……. Indians were assigned living quarters on the basis of age and marital status. The primary motive for missionization was not, as in the case of the Encomienda, exploitation of natives but rather conversion and gradual assimilation into Hispanic society.3 For this reason, missions had a theoretical lifespan of ten years within which to accomplish stated goals. Either soldiers from the escolta, or mission guard, or soldiers from a presidial company were assigned the task of tracking and capturing runaways. Historia de Mexico, Primera Serie, tomo 2. Syphilis, introduced by single soldiers, was the major cause of mortality and declining birth rates since it caused sterility and was passed on congenitally. 9. At the same time he doubted the feasibility of his method. Physical punishment of neophytes was therefore a topic infrequently mentioned by missionaries. 1, p. 442. The insurgents were held in shackles and chains for a year while a fit punishment was discussed. He was kept tied to a stake all day, but he died soon and they kept his corpse tied up.12. Ghandhi was right, the fundamental evil is greed. La PÃ©rouse 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.”. Consequently only an approximation can be arrived at by comparing population increase with the difference between baptisms and deaths for a stated period.20 The result is a figure varying somewhere between 5 and 10 percent. In 1797 Padre Antonio de la ConcepciÃ³n Hora, who had come to California the same year, was sent back to Mexico by President FermÃn Francisco de LasuÃ©n on charges of insanity. Trans. 28. Yeah that was my first thought, how can Gavin ignore the slavery imposed by Spanish Missions that resulted in genocide of native peoples? by Summer Furzer | Apr 1, 1978 | | 0 comments, The Journal of San Diego History One of the letters most sensitive to the problem was written by a missionary, Father Mariano Payeras, in 1820. Epidemics periodically decimated the population. Economic motives cannot be assigned to the Franciscan frontiersmen who pioneered Alta California. It is not fair to remove these men from their place in time and subject them to standards of the late twentieth century. Another means of resistance to missionization was escape. Also LasuÃ©n to Fray JosÃ© Gasol, San Carlos, March 30, 1801, Ibid., pp. Fray Mariano Payeras to Fray Josef ViÃ±als, La PurÃsima, July 2, 1806, Archivo General de la NaciÃ³n. Slavery, in the usual sense of the word, implies economic exploitation of the enslaved for the benefit of the slaveowner. La PÃ©rouse commented favorably upon the Spanish inhabitants and the climate. 13. tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively As occurred throughout the Americas, debilitating European diseases and a typical lack of sensitivity destroyed the first Americans. This permitted the missions to thrive economically, and allowed the friars to profit personally for the sale of tallow, hides, horns, wine and brandyâ which they sold to foreign merchant ships. At least nine Christian rebels were captured and imprisoned at San Diego. These reports provide a concise summary of baptisms, marriages, deaths and total population resident at each mission. He was the first outsider to visit the missions, arriving seventeen years after its founding. Some of the runaway men were tied to sticks and beaten with straps. $19.95. The regimentation, organized labor and extreme paternalism of the missions resulted in despondency and weakening of desire to live. The next day we saw some terrible things. In 1804 and 1805 JosÃ© MarÃa Benites, a physician, was sent to California to report on diseases responsible for the alarming death rate. However it was early apparent that alien Christian doctrines held little attractive power for suspicious natives. 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. Use of public property and taxes to display them california missions slavery one key to the Franciscan who... Galaup, Comte de Laperouse, sailed into Monterey Bay on September 14, 1786 coast! Were confined in kitchens or other workrooms about these missions for the near extinction of mission routine frame close... Bay on September 14, 1786 mother, two hundred years removed, can decipher thoughts! Hand and frequently a vested interest in economic exploitation of natives possible within the system he! 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