The Old Franciscan Missions Of California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 194 pages of information about The Old Franciscan Missions Of California.

Left now to themselves, and knowing that they were sure to be attacked ere long, the Indians began to prepare for defense.  They erected palisades, cut loopholes in the walls of the church and other buildings, and mounted one or two rusty old cannon.  For nearly a month they were not molested.  This was the end of February.

In the meantime the governor was getting a force ready at Monterey to send to unite with one under Guerra from Santa Barbara.  On March 16 they were to have met, but owing to some mischance, the northern force had to make the attack alone.  Cavalry skirmishers were sent right and left to cut off retreat, and the rest of the force began to fire on the adobe walls from muskets and a four-pounder.  The four hundred neophytes within responded with yells of defiance and cannon, swivel-guns, and muskets, as well as a cloud of arrows.  In their inexperienced hands, however, little damage was done with the cannon.  By and by the Indians attempted to fly, but were prevented by the cavalry.  Now realizing their defeat, they begged Padre Rodriguez to intercede for them, which he did.  In two hours and a half the conflict was over, three Spaniards being wounded, one fatally, while there were sixteen Indians killed and a large number wounded.  As the governor had delegated authority to the officers to summarily dispense justice, they condemned seven of the Indians to death for the murder of the white men in the first conflict.  They were shot before the end of the month.  Four of the revolt ringleaders were sentenced to ten years of labor at the presidio and then perpetual exile, while eight others were condemned to the presidio for eight years.

There was dissatisfaction expressed with the penalties,—­on the side of the padres by Ripoll of Santa Barbara, who claimed that a general pardon had been promised; and on the part of the governor, who thought his officers had been too lenient.

An increased guard was left at Purisima after this affair, and it took some little time before the Indians completely settled down again, as it was known that the Santa Barbara Indians were still in revolt.

During all the years when contending with the destructive forces of earthquake, fire, flood, and battle, to say nothing of those foes of agriculture,—­drought, frost, grasshoppers, and squirrels,—­the material results of native labor were notable.  In 1819 they produced about 100,000 pounds of tallow.  In 1821 the crops of wheat, barley, and corn amounted to nearly 8000 bushels.  Between 1822 and 1827 they furnished the presidio with supplies valued at $12,921.  The population, however, gradually decreased until about 400 were left at the time of secularization in 1835.  The Purisima estate at this time was estimated by the appraisers to be worth about $60,000.  The inventory included a library valued at $655 and five bells worth $1000.  With the exception of the church property this estate, or what remained of

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The Old Franciscan Missions Of California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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