The Famous Missions of California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 58 pages of information about The Famous Missions of California.

Hardly had this been accomplished before the viceroy and governor, having resolved upon a further extension of the mission system, sent orders to Father Lasuen to proceed with two fresh settlements, one of which was to be dedicated to the Holy Cross, the other to Our Lady of Solitude.  Time was, as usual, consumed in making the necessary preparations, and the two missions were finally founded within a few weeks of each other — on the 28th of August and the 9th of October, 1791, respectively.  The site selected for the Mission of Santa Cruz was in the neighborhood already known by that name, and near the San Lorenzo River; that of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, on the west side of the Salinas River, in the vicinity of the present town of Soledad, and about thirty miles from Monterey.

A glance at the map of California will help us to understand the policy which had dictated the creation of the four missions founded since Junipero’s death.  The enormous stretch of country between San Francisco and San Diego, the northern and southern extremes of evangelical enterprise, was as yet quite insufficiently occupied, and these new settlements had been started with the object of to some extent filling up the vast vacant spaces still left among those already existing.  For the efficient performance of missionary work something more was needed than a number of separate establishments, no matter how well managed and successful these in themselves might be.  Systematic organization was essential; for this it was requisite that the various missions should be brought, by proximity, into vital relations with one another, that communication might be kept up, companionship enjoyed, and, in case of need, advice given and assistance rendered.  The foundations of Santa Barbara, La Purisima, Santa Cruz and Soledad, had done something, as will be seen, towards the ultimate drawing together of the scattered outposts of church and civilization.  But with them a beginning had only been made.  Further developments of the same general plan which aimed, it will be understood, not alone at the spiritual conquest, but also at the proper control of the new kingdom — were now taken under consideration.  And, as a result, five fresh missions were presently resolved upon.  One of these was to be situated between San Francisco and Santa Clara; the second, between Santa Clara and Monterey; the third, between San Antonio and San Luis Obispo; the fourth, between San Buenaventura and San Gabriel; and the fifth, between San Juan Capistrano and San Diego.  The importance of these proposed settlements as connecting links will be at once apparent, if we observe that by reason of their carefully chosen locations they served, as it were, to put the older missions into actual touch.  When at length the preliminary arrangements had been made, no time was wasted in the carrying out of the programme, and in a little over a year, all five missions were in operation.  The mission San Jose (a rather tardy recognition to

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The Famous Missions of California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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