In 1779 a maritime event of importance occurred. The padres at San Carlos and the soldiers at Monterey saw a galleon come into the bay, which proved to be the “San Jose,” from Manila. It should have remained awhile, but contrary winds arose, and it sailed away for San Lucas. But the king later issued orders that all Manila galleons must call at Monterey, under a penalty of four thousand dollars, unless prevented by stress of weather.
In 1784 Serra died and was buried at San Carlos.
For a short time after Serra’s death, the duties of padre presidente fell upon Palou; but in February, 1785, the college of San Fernando elected Lasuen to the office, and thereafter he resided mainly at San Carlos.
September 14, 1786, the eminent French navigator, Jean Francois Galaup de la Perouse, with two vessels, appeared at Monterey, and the Frenchman in the account of his trip gives us a vivid picture of his reception at the Mission of San Carlos.
A few years later Vancouver, the English navigator, also visited San Francisco, Santa Clara, and San Carlos. He was hospitably entertained by Lasuen, but when he came again, he was not received so warmly, doubtless owing to the fearfulness of the Spaniards as to England’s intentions.
When Pico issued his decrees in 1845, San Carlos was regarded as a pueblo, or abandoned Mission, Padre Real residing at Monterey and holding services only occasionally. The little property that remained was to be sold at auction for the payment of debts and the support of worship, but there is no record of property, debts, or sale. The glory of San Carlos was departed.
For many years no one cared for the building, and it was left entirely to the mercy of the vandal and relic hunter. In 1852 the tile roof fell in, and all the tiles, save about a thousand, were either then broken, or afterwards stolen. The rains and storms beating in soon brought enough sand to form a lodgment for seeds, and ere long a dense growth of grass and weeds covered the dust of California’s great apostle.
In Glimpses of California by H.H., Mr. Sandham, the artist, has a picture which well illustrates the original spring of the roof and curve of the walls. There were three buttresses, from which sprang the roof arches. The curves of the walls were made by increasing the thickness at the top, as can be seen from the window spaces on each side, which still remain in their original condition. The building is about one hundred and fifty feet long by thirty feet wide.
In 1868 Rev. Angelo D. Cassanova became the pastor of the parish church at Monterey, and though Serra’s home Mission was then a complete mass of ruins, he determined upon its preservation, at least from further demolition. The first step was to clear away the debris that had accumulated since its abandonment, and then to locate the graves of the missionaries. On July 3, 1882, after due notice in the San Francisco papers, over four hundred people assembled at San Carlos, the stone slab was removed, and the bodies duly identified.