San Francisco History

The Beginnings of San Francisco

The Foreigners (Los Extranjeros), 1795-1846

In that section of the western coast of North America extending from the blue waters of Puget sound to the sunlit shores of San Diego bay, the fame of the Boston man has been known and regarded from the dawn of civilization; and very firmly did he establish himself in the minds, at least, if not in the hearts of the native races of the northwest. The untutored mind of the savage is apt to associate men—the individual and the race—with some one whom he admires, or with some special class whose character or occupation has made an impression on him. Thus the Iroquois gave the name of Corlaer to the governors of New York, because of Arent Van Corlaer, the founder of Schenectady, who had won their hearts and was as a father to them. The governor of Canada was always Onontio, from Montmagny, governor in 1635; the governor of Pennsylvania they called Onas—the feather or quill (Penn); and the governor of Massachusetts was Kinshon—the fish—the name being also applied to the people of New England. So to the Siwash of the northwest, the American was "Boston man," and thus he is known to-day.

At the time when the American colonists were fighting for independence the Spanish missionary fathers, under the protection of a small military force, were making a spiritual conquest of California. As the years went by, the inhabitants of this distant corner of the globe became aware that a nation had been born somewhere on the other side of the continent. They did not understand the thing very clearly at first, but they knew very well that Boston had had something to do with it.

About the beginning of September 1795, an English merchantman, the Phoenix, Captain Moore, from Bombay, put into Santa Barbara for supplies. The officers of the ship were handsomely entertained by the comandante of the garrison and his attentions were reciprocated by a dinner and dance given on board the ship. Among the ship's company was a young sailor and shipmaster from Boston whose ship had been lost in the Pacific. The beautiful country, the delicious climate, the kind hospitality of the people, and the bewitching grace of the lovely senoritas proved strong attractions to the young Bostonaise, and he determined to forsake the hardships and dangers of the sea, give up friends and country, and spend his life in this delightful spot. He was received with open arms and his petition for permission to remain in California was warmly endorsed by the comandante of the presidio in the following letter:

"I inform your Excellency, that on this day, at about four o'clock in the morning, the mail arrived from San Diego bringing safely the enclosed letter.

"Also, I have caused to be about to depart the English vessel, of which I have informed your Excellency, which will finish taking water to-day.

"There has come, as a passenger on this vessel, a young man of the Boston nation, (Un moso Bostones de Nacion), who presented himself to me, asking permission to remain in the province. He wishes to become a Christian, and serve our Catholic monarch (whom God preserve). His name I do not state now, not having it before me, but will do so on the first occasion. He is a very handsome fellow, a skillful pilot and carpenter, of good parentage, according to the statements of all from the captain downward, and having lost two vessels and his capital he does not wish to continue longer in the business of navigation. He will remain in my house until your Excellency may dispose of all according to your superior pleasure.

"Of the refreshment with which this vessel has been succored I will inform your Excellency when she has set sail, as I know not whether she will ask for anything else.

"Our Lord preserve your Excellency many years.
"Santa Barbara, September 5, 1795.
"Felipe de Goycoechea.
"Senor Governor and Comandante Inspector,
"Don Diego de Borica.” [1]

In a subsequent letter dated October 8, 1795, Captain Goycoechea gives the American's name "Josef Ocayne," and says he has sent him on the frigate, Nuestra Señora Aranzazú, to San Blas. He also says "This Englishman is a native of Ireland and his parents now live in Boston." (Dicho Yngles es nativo en Yrlanda y ahora sus padres viven en Boston.) [2] This is the first foreigner I have record of who desired to settle in California.

In December 1799 Captain Goycoechea, who had been appointed governor of Lower California, better informed concerning the Boston nation, complains to the viceroy that the vessels of the Anglo-Americans have not only, within the past few years, begun to frequent the waters of the Spanish possessions in quest of fish, pearls, and furs, "but, confident that there is no one to restrain them, they come with arrogant boldness to anchor in our very harbors and to act with the same liberty as if they were Spaniards. Their arrivals, which are becoming frequent, should convince your Excellency that quite possibly this proud nation, constantly increasing in strength, may one day venture to measure it with Spain." [3]

It was nineteen years after the advent of Joseph O'Cain at Santa Barbara before the first permanent foreign settler appeared in California. In January 1814 the Isaac Todd, an English armed merchantman, bound for the Columbia river, anchored in Monterey bay and landed three men sick with scurvy. One of these, a mere boy of twenty named John Gilroy, was not expected to live. He was taken by María Teodora Peralta, wife of José Apolonario Bernal, and carried to her father's rancho at San Antonio (Alameda county) where he was nursed back to life and health. Gilroy was a Scotchman and his real name was John Cameron for he had run away from home and had changed his name to avoid arrest. The boy made himself useful to his kind friends and in 1819, on application of Captain José de la Guerra, received permission to remain in California. He had been baptized into the Roman Catholic faith and Ignacio Ortega, son of the pathfinder, gave him his daughter, María Clara, to wife, and one sitio of his rancho of San Isidro. He was married in the mission church of San Juan Bautista March 2, 1821. The entry in the libro de matrimonios recites the fact that he had resided in California eight years by permission of the viceroy and that he had been baptized in the mission of San Cárlos. With the advent of the Americanos, Don Juan lost all of his property, as did most of the rancheros, but he lived to see his rancho become the flourishing town of Gilroy.

In January 1816 the American schooners Albatross and Lydia put in to Refugio rancho, near Santa Barbara, and endeavored to land some goods. The comandante of Santa Barbara captured the Lydia and the captain and boat's crew of the Albatross. A settlement was made with the government and the smugglers released. The Lydia sailed for Monterey and on March 11, 1816, landed there Thomas W. Doak, one of the boat's crew of the Albatross. Doak remained in California and was the first American settler. He married María Lugarda, daughter of José Mariano de Castro. [4] He was a native of Boston and was born in 1787.

In 1820 there were thirteen foreigners in California, viz: three Americans, two Scotchmen, two Englishmen, one Irishman, one Russian, one Portuguese, and three negroes. Foreign vessels became more frequent on the coast. California was closed to foreign trade but under pretense of entering for needed supplies vessels would take the opportunity to land a few goods and incidentally increase the census of California by losing a few of their sailors. In 1821 the port of Monterey was opened to foreign trade and the number of ships increased. In 1822 William A. Richardson, an Englishman, mate of the English whaler Orion, left the vessel at San Francisco and was permitted by Governor Sola to remain in California on condition of teaching his arts of navigation and carpentry to the young Spaniards. He was baptized June 16, 1823, as "un adulto de razon de nacion Yngles de religion protestante su edad de 27 años, natural de la cuidad de Londres," [5] and on May 15, 1825, was married to Doña María Antonia, daughter of Lieutenant Ignacio Martinez, comandante of San Francisco. [6] Richardson made the first plan for the town of Yerba Buena, erected the first structure there, became owner of Sausalito rancho in 1836, and was captain of the port in 1837.

Another Englishman, Robert Livermore, first settler of Livermore valley, deserted from the English brig Colonel Young. He married Josefa, daughter of José Higuera.

The opening of the port of Monterey brought an increasing number of ships for trade, American, English, Peruvian, and Russian; the Americans largely predominating; while English and American whalers came into San Francisco for supplies, anchoring at Sausalito. These ships contributed from time to time to the foreign population of California.

Meanwhile from the east and from the north hardy bands of pioneer hunters and trappers were approaching the borders of California. From the north came the trappers of the Hudson's Bay company pushing their way into the upper valley of the Sacramento river, while from the broad interior of the continent the American hunters were each year working their way further and further to the west, passing through the Rocky mountains and into the great basin, until in 1826 they approached the lofty barrier of the Sierra Nevada. The first of this army of hunters to reach California was Jedediah S. Smith, an American. With a party of fifteen Smith started from the Great Salt Lake in August 1826, traveled in a southwesterly direction, passed into California below Death valley, crossed the Mojave desert, and reached the mission of San Gabriel in December. Leaving his men at the mission, Smith was taken before the governor (Echeandía) at San Diego to give an account of himself. He stated that he was a hunter and trapper of fur animals and that he had penetrated so far into the desert country lying to the eastward that a return by the way he had come was impossible as most of his horses had died for want of food and water. He was therefore under the necessity of pushing forward to California, it being the nearest place where he could procure supplies to enable him to return. He exhibited his passports from the government of the United States and begged permission to return by a different route to the headwaters of the Columbia river. His petition was endorsed by Wm. G. Dana, captain of the schooner Waverly, Wm. H. Cunningham, captain of the brig Olive Branch, and the mate and supercargo of the Waverly and Courier, all of whom certified to the correctness of Smith's papers and their belief in his story. [7] The trapper was given a passport by the governor and after several ineffectual attempts to cross the Sierra Nevada he remained in camp near San José until the melting of the snow made the passage possible. Proceeding northward in May, he crossed the sierra by the Pitt river pass near the mountain of "St. Joseph" (Lassen Peak) and reached Salt Lake in June, having eaten six of his seven horses. This is the first recorded crossing of the Sierra Nevada.

In December 1827 Sylvester Pattie, a native of Kentucky, with his fifteen year old son, James Ohio Pattie, and a party of six trappers, reached the junction of the Gila and Colorado.  Proceeding down the Colorado on rafts they reached tide  water January 18, 1828. Burying their furs and  traps they started across the desert to the Spanish  settlements, and after terrible suffering reached the  mission of Santa Catalina in Lower California on  March 12th. They were sent to Echeandía at San  Diego under guard, reaching there May 27th. The  governor refused to accept their story. They were  locked up in separate cells where the elder Pattie died a month later. The boy received kindness from the sergeant, and his beautiful sister, whom he calls "Miss Peaks," and was ultimately released. [8]

The Californians now began to welcome the  foreigners—in small doses—and to assimilate them, yet  the laws were strict in requiring them to show  passports and submit to surveillance. In 1827-8 more  stringent orders relative to passports were received  from Mexico, and the California authorities were  required to render monthly accounts of new arrivals.  They were also instructed to grant the foreigners no lands and not permit them to form settlements on the  coast or on the islands. Both Americans and  Russians were to be located in the central parts of the  province. The Russians had gradually advanced their stations until they had established trading posts at Fort Ross and Bodega, a few miles above San Francisco. In 1828 the Mexican government authorized the granting of lands in California to such foreigners as could comply with all the requirements of law. Among these was baptism into the Roman Catholic faith and naturalization as Mexican citizens.

The Californians treated the foreigners with unexampled generosity and kindness; they gave them their daughters in marriage and lands on which to pasture their cattle. The masters and supercargoes of American vessels trading on the coast were especially favored by them. The Californian did nothing by halves. When he gave his confidence he gave it fully and finally. The Americans who came early were for the most part superior men; they amalgamated with the Spaniards; their interests became identical, and they did not as a rule, prove ungrateful.

During the latter part of the third decade of the nineteenth century rumors were spread throughout the settlements of the western frontier of the United States of a fairy land beyond the mountains; a land whose shores were gently caressed by the sparkling waters of the Pacific; where, under genial skies, life was easy and farms could be had for the asking. Returning trappers brought wonderful tales of the country and these stories were confirmed and supplemented by letters received from friends long settled in California. Dr. John Marsh, a native of Massachusetts and graduate of Harvard college, who came to California in 1836 and had obtained a great rancho, [9] wrote to friends in Missouri most glowing accounts of the country and urged immigration thither. In May 1841 a company was organized at Independence, Missouri, for emigration to California. Talbot H. Green was made president, John Bidwell secretary, and John Bartleson captain. Among the company were Charles M. Weber, Josiah Belden, Joseph B. Chiles, Robert Hickman, and others well known in California. They were joined by a party of emigrants bound for Oregon. The expedition began its march May 19, 1841, taking its way up the north fork of the Platte, up the Sweetwater, through South pass, up a branch of the Green river into Bear river valley, and down the Bear to Soda springs. Here the party separated, the Oregon emigrants taking the trail along the Snake river while those for California moved down the Bear. Twelve of the California party joined the Oregonians, their hearts failing before the terrors of a journey across an unknown desert. Bartleson understood that they must find a stream called the Mary's river somewhere in the desert to the west, which would lead them to within sight of the Sierra Nevada. Failing to find this stream they would perish in the desert. There were now left in Bartleson's camp thirty-two men, one woman and a child—the wife and daughter of Benjamin Kelsey, one of their number. On August 12th they camped at a mountain spring and two of the party proceeded westward to find Mary's river. Their beef meat had now given out and they killed one of the oxen for food. On September 5th they moved slowly forward meeting the scouts on the ninth, and on the fifteenth decided to abandon the wagons and such property as could not be packed on animals. On the twenty-third they crossed the east Humboldt range and reached the south fork of the Humboldt river, [10] or as it was then called, the Mary. Traveling down the valley of the Humboldt, the route of the Central Pacific railroad, they reached the sink of the Humboldt October 7th. Thence traveling in a southerly direction they reached Walker river and crossed the Sierra Nevada by the Sonora pass. [11] On October 30th they were on the head waters of the Stanislaus river, and on November 4th arrived at Dr. Marsh's rancho on the San Joaquin. This was the first overland expedition from the Missouri river to California.

The newspapers of the United States had announced preparations for a large emigration to California and stated that it was a step towards the inevitable annexation of the country. Extracts from these papers were forwarded from Washington to Mexico and the Mexican representatives abroad were notified that any person going to California without the consent, in due form, of the Mexican consular or diplomatic agent, would do so at his peril, and orders were sent to California that no foreign emigrants were to be permitted to remain in the country except those who were provided with legal passports and even those settled there must furnish letters of security or leave the country. [12] These were the regulations in force when the Bartleson party arrived at Los Médanos. On the following day Marsh notified the sub-prefect of their arrival and said they would, after resting, present themselves to the authorities and prove their lawful intentions. General Vallejo, commanding on the northern frontier, requested Marsh to give an account of his conduct in inviting such an immigration, and ordered the immigrants arrested and brought to him at Mission San José, where they declared their intention of becoming lawful citizens of Mexico and alleged their ignorance of any necessity for passports. Notwithstanding his express orders Vallejo decided to assume the responsibility of granting temporary permits to serve to legalize their residence and he took bonds of well known citizens for their good behavior. The immigrants speak well of the kindness shown them by Vallejo and other Californians. Another party of overland emigrants under Workman and Rowland came by the Santa Fé route and reached California November 10th. Among them was Benjamin D. Wilson ("Don Benito"), well known in California. A small party came from Oregon and reached Sutter's fort in October of that year.

In June 1839 the brigantine Clementine, Captain Blinn, arrived from Honolulu by way of Sitka, having on board John A. Sutter and his party, consisting of four or five Swiss mechanics and several Hawaiians with their wives. Sutter came with the purpose of establishing a large colony of his countrymen in the Sacramento valley. Nathan Spear sent Sutter and his party up the Sacramento river with his goods in two schooners and a four oared boat, under command of William Heath Davis. Sutter had two pieces of artillery and other arms and ammunition. The fleet left Yerba Buena August 9, 1839, and traveled eight days up the river. Entering the American river, Sutter landed, pitched his tents on the south bank, mounted his brass cannon, and made ready his small arms for defense against the Indians. Davis says that Sutter told him that he would immediately build a fort as defense against the Indians and also against the government of California in case any hostility should be manifested in that quarter. He also said he intended to import a large colony of Swiss and develop the Sacramento valley. [13]

Sutter obtained a grant of land from Governor Alvarado and built his fort on rising ground about two miles from the embarcadero, as the landing on the Sacramento river (now the city of Sacramento) was called. It was a parallelogram, five hundred feet long by one hundred and fifty wide, built of adobe with double walls; the outer wall eighteen or twenty feet high and the inner, somewhat less. The space between the walls, twenty-five feet, was roofed and used for store rooms, stables, etc. In the center was the captain's residence, a two-story adobe building. Sutter agreed to protect the Spanish settlements from the raids of Indians from the Sacramento valley and his fort, being the first post of civilization reached by overland immigrants coming by the central route, became the refuge and rallying point for Americans and other foreigners. He gathered about him a trained body of white men and Indians and, as a Mexican officer (juez de paz), stopped the fur-hunting brigades of the Hudson's Bay company from further descent into the Sacramento valley. [Note 30]

In 1840 Governor Alvarado becoming alarmed by the actions of some American settlers ordered the arrest of all foreigners. Some fifty or sixty men were arrested and sent to San Blas under charge of General Castro. The Mexican government disavowed the action of the governor, ordered the men released, returned to California, and compensated for the trouble and inconvenience to which they had been put.

There can be no doubt that the acquisition of California had for some time been considered by the government at Washington, or that the attention of some of the European governments had been directed to the desirability of such a possession. As far back as 1793 Vancouver pointed out the ease with which this delightful country could be acquired. Rezánof, Russian envoy, wrote in 1806: "The Spanish are very weak in these countries, and if, in 1798, when war was declared by Spain, we had had a force corresponding to its proportions, it would have been very easy to seize a portion of California." France sent several expeditions to California, and the English consuls at Pacific ports, notably Alexander Forbes at Mazatlan and James Alexander Forbes at Monterey, urged the taking of California for the debt due England by Mexico.

In the summer of 1842, Commodore Thomas Ap Catesby Jones, in command of the Pacific squadron, was in the harbor of Callao with the frigate United States, sloops Cyane, Dale, and Yorktown and schooner Shark. The English had a fleet in the Pacific in every way superior, while the French had, in the same waters, a fleet equal to both the English and American combined. Jones' instructions were to protect the commerce of the United States, the flag from insult, and citizens from oppression. In May 1842 the French fleet sailed from Valparaiso, destination unknown, but Jones thought it might be California. On September 3d the English admiral sailed from Callao with three men-of-war, under sealed orders just received from England. At the same time Jones received a letter from John Parrott, United States consul at Mazatlan, dated June 22d, in which he stated that war with Mexico was imminent, and he enclosed a Boston newspaper containing an item to the effect that Mexico had ceded California to England for $7,000,000. After consultation with the United States charge d'affaires at Lima, Jones put to sea with the United States, Cyane, and Dale. Sending the Dale to Panama with dispatches, Jones proceeded with the other two vessels under full sail for Monterey which he reached October 19th and anchored at 2 p. m. under the guns of the castillo.

With full realization of his responsibility Jones sent Captain Armstrong ashore at 4 p. m. with a flag of truce to demand a surrender of the post to the United States, "to avoid the sacrifice of human life and the horrors of war." The demand was presented to Alvarado who was given until 9 o'clock the next morning to consider the proposition. Resistance to such a force was useless and before the hour named articles of capitulation were signed.

At 11 a. m. on the 20th Jones landed one hundred and fifty men under Commander Stribling; the garrison marched out of the fort with music and with colors flying and gave up their arms at the government house. The American force took possession of the castillo and raised the stars and stripes. The frigate and sloop fired a salute and the guns of the fort replied. [14]

Jones soon learned that he had made a mistake; that relations between the United States and Mexico were friendly, and that there was no truth in the rumored cession to England. He apologized, restored the post to the Mexican officials, saluted the Mexican flag, and sailed away. His act was disavowed by the United States government and he was ordered home for trial. He was later exonerated from all blame by the secretary of the navy.

This action by the United States naval commander was considered indicative of the purpose of that government to take possession of California, and the Forbes' and other Englishmen redoubled their efforts for an English protectorate or annexation. Meanwhile immigration from the United States continued and notwithstanding the feeling against Americans in Mexico, they were treated with kindness and hospitality by the authorities in California. In the Sacramento valley the Americans became so numerous that they began to consider the country theirs and resented the restrictions and requirements of Mexican law. In the revolt of Alvarado against Micheltorena in 1844-5, the Americans took a hand, and Sutter marched with Micheltorena against Alvarado and Castro with a force of one hundred foreign riflemen—mostly Americans, one hundred trained Indians, and eight or ten artillerymen in charge of a brass field piece. To oppose Sutter's riflemen Alvarado raised a company of fifty foreigners in the south. The opposing armies with their foreign contingents met in the San Fernando valley, near Los Angeles, February 21, 1845, and after two days cannonading, during which a horse had his head blown off and a mule was wounded, Micheltorena proposed terms of capitulation. At the commencement of the action the foreigners on both sides, by agreement, retired from their several parties, leaving the Californians to fight the battle alone. [15] Before marching to the aid of Governor Micheltorena, Sutter took the precaution to secure from him large grants of land for his followers.

In September 1845 the Mexican government sent to California positive orders prohibiting the entry of Americans from Oregon or Missouri. Immigrants were summoned to appear before the prefect and the comandante-general. The order was read to them and the immigrants protested that their intentions were lawful; that they had not been informed that passports were necessary; that it was impossible to cross the mountains during the winter, and they promised that if permitted to remain until spring they would obey the laws in every particular and would then go away if license was denied them. Castro considered the hardship to the women and children if the immigrants were compelled to leave the department during the winter season, and he compromised his duty with the sentiment of hospitality so strong in the breast of every Californian and granted them temporary permits, taking bonds to insure their good behavior and their departure in the spring, should license to remain be refused. Meanwhile they were to remain under surveillance of the Vallejos at Sonoma and Napa and of Captain Sutter on the Sacramento. It does not appear that this matter was carried any further—certainly the settlers did not leave California—and Bancroft says that both General Vallejo at Sonoma and Salvador Vallejo at Napa treated the settlers with great benevolence, without which they could not have gotten through the winter. [16]

How well the consideration of the California officials was requited by the Americans is told in the story of the Bear Flag revolt. Encouraged by the presence of Captain John C. Frémont, of the United States topographical engineers, a party of armed Americans under Ezekiel Merritt, took possession of the town of Sonoma on June 14, 1846, made prisoners of General Vallejo, his brother Salvador, Lieut.-Colonel Prudon and Jacob P. Leese, sent them under guard to Sutter's fort, raised the Bear Flag, and proclaimed the "California Republic." Frémont, with a party of sixty armed men, was engaged in an exploring expedition and had come into California to rest and recruit his men. Obtaining permission to encamp for that purpose in the San Joaquin valley, he had brought his men into the Salinas, to the very doors of Monterey. In consequence of this move and in obedience to orders from Mexico, he was directed by the authorities to leave the department at once. Frémont chose to consider this an insult, and withdrawing to the summit of the Gavilan mountains, he erected fortifications, raised over them the American flag, and announced his purpose to hold the position or die in defense of it. [17] Later he withdrew to the Sacramento valley and started for Oregon, but returned in May to the upper Sacramento, and remained quiet, watching the movements of the disaffected settlers. He was asked to take command of the contemplated rising but declined to commit himself, though he afterwards claimed to be the head and front of the revolt, and that Merritt and other leaders among the Americans were acting under his instructions. [18] Moving nearer to the "seat of war," Frémont and his party were encamped at the embarcadero on the Sacramento river when the prisoners were brought before him. He declined to receive them. General Vallejo demanded to know why and by whose authority he had been arrested and dragged from his home. Frémont denied that he was in any way responsible for what had been done, declaring that they were prisoners of the people who had been driven to revolt for self-protection. The prisoners were taken to Sutter's fort where they were imprisoned for two months. Thus did the foreigners return the kindness and forbearance of the owners of the soil. Of all the Californians, Vallejo was most friendly to the Americans, was favorable to American ascendency, and believed that the best interests of his country lay in its absorption by the United States. [Note 31]

In the spring of 1846 the Mormons driven from Nauvoo began their western pilgrimage, and Sam Brannan, Mormon preacher and elder, sailed from New York with about two hundred saints for San Francisco. Believing that the United States government would take California the Mormon leaders laid before the Washington authorities a proposition to colonize that country with ten or twelve thousand Mormons, then at Nauvoo, and bring forty thousand more from the British islands, giving the president assurance that the patriotism and fidelity of the Mormons to the United States government could be fully relied upon. Meanwhile the war with Mexico broke out and General Kearny was ordered with his command from Fort Leavenworth to California by the Santa Fé route. The offer of the Mormons was rejected, but Kearny was authorized to enlist from among the Mormons who desired to go to California, five companies of one hundred men each, for one year's service. The vanguard of the Mormon advance had now reached Council Bluffs, on the Missouri river, and here the men were enlisted. This was the Mormon battalion which, under Lieut. Colonel Philip St. George Cooke, reached California in January 1847.

The founders of the "California Republic" were beginning to feel somewhat uneasy regarding the fate of their undertaking when on the 7th of July 1846, Commodore Sloat landed his men at Monterey, raised the United States flag, and took formal possession of California. This terminated the embarrassment of the Bear Flag party. The movement had been an ill-advised one, an unnecessary and utterly unwarranted interference with a people from whom they had received nothing but kindness and hospitality. Their conduct at this time and later created such a feeling of antagonism towards Americans as made difficult the pacification of the country. The better class of Californians had long realized the fact that the province would be infinitely better off under either English or American rule and would have accepted the change with relief. General Kearny says in his official report from Monterey March 15, 1847.  [19] * * *  "The Californians are now quiet, and I shall endeavor to keep them so by mild and gentle treatment. Had they received such treatment from the time our flag was hoisted here, in July last, I believe there would have been but little or no resistance on their part. They have been most cruelly and shamefully abused by our own people—by the volunteers (American emigrants) raised in this part of the country and on the Sacramento. Had they not resisted they would have been unworthy the name of men. [Note 32]

I cannot, in this place, go into the history of the Conquest. With the return of peace the country settled down to the quiet life of a rural people. Everything was peaceful and dull, until suddenly, when no man expected, there came a change of transcendent magnitude.

1. Provincial State Papers XIV, 221, 222. Spanish Archives of California. [back]
2. Provincial State Papers XXI, 637, 638. Spanish Archives of California. [back]
3. Bancroft: Hist. Cal. ii, 32. [back]
4. Libro de Matrimonios, Mision de San Juan Bautista. [back]
5. Libro de Bautismos, Mision de San Francisco de Asis. [back]
6. Libro de Casmientos, Mision de San Francisco de Asis. [back]
7. Randolph: Address, p. 33-34. [back]
8. Bancroft: Hist. Cal. iii, 162. (The sergeant of the garrison at that time was José Antonio Bernardino Pico, brother of Pio Pico). [back]
9. Los Médanos, four leagues, in Contra Costa county. [back]
10. Jedediah Smith who was, perhaps, the discoverer of the river, named it the Mary, for his Indian wife. It was also called the Ogden, from Peter Skeen Ogden, a brigade leader of the Hudson's Bay company. [back]
11. Statement of Josiah Belden, Bancroft Collection. Bancroft: Hist. Cal. iv. 268-272. [back]
12. Statement of Josiah Belden, Bancroft Collection, Bancroft: Hist. Cal. iv, 264. [back]
13. Davis: Sixty Years in California, 16-18. [back]
14. Bancroft: Hist. of Cal. iv, 256-329. [back]
15. Robinson: Life in California, 218-219. [back]
16. Several of these men took part in the Bear Flag affair the following June. [back]
17. "If unjustly attacked we will fight to extremity and refuse quarter." Frémont to Larkin, March 9, 1846. [back]
18. Frémont: Memoir of My Life i, 509. [back]
19. Executive Doc. No. 17, H. of R. 31st Cong. 1st Ses. p. 284. [back]
Source: Eldredge, Zoeth Skinner. The Beginnings of San Francisco. 1912: San Francisco.


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