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.

[2] The mission was transferred in 1874 from the location selected by Junipero to a site some two miles distant, up the river.


While Junipero and his companions were thus engaged in planting the faith among the Indians of San Diego, Portolà’s expedition was meeting with unexpected trials and disappointments.  The harbour of Monterey had been discovered and described by Viscaino at the beginning of the seventeenth century, and it seemed no very difficult matter to reach it by way of the coast.  But either the charts misled them, or their own calculations erred, or the appearance of the landscape was strangely deceptive — at any rate, for whatever reason or combination of reasons, the exploring party passed the harbour without recognizing it, though actually lingering awhile on the sand hills overlooking the bay.  Half persuaded in their bewilderment that some great catastrophe must, since Viscaino’s observations, have obliterated the port altogether, they pressed northward another forty leagues, and little dreaming of the importance attaching to their wanderings, crossed the Coast range, and looked down thence over the Santa Clara valley and the “immense arm” of San Francisco Bay.  By this time the rainy season had set in, and convinced as they now were that they must, through some oversight or ill-chance, have missed the object of their quest, they determined to retrace their steps, and institute another and more thorough search.  On again reaching the neighborhood of Monterey, they spent a whole fortnight in systematic exploration, but still, strangely enough, without discovering “any indication or landmark” of the harbour.  Baffled and disheartened, therefore, the leaders resolved to abandon the enterprise.  They then erected two large wooden crosses as memorials of their visit, and cutting on one of these the words — “Dig at the foot of this and you will find a writing” — buried there a brief narrative of their experiences.  This is reproduced in the diary of Father Crespé[3]; and its closing words have a touch of simple pathos:  “At last, undeceived, and despairing of finding it [the harbour] after so many efforts, sufferings and labours, and having left of all our provisions but fourteen small sacks of flour, our expedition leaves this place to-day for San Diego; I beg of Almighty God to guide it, and for thee, voyager, that His divine providence may lead thee to the harbour of salvation.  Done in this Bay of Pinos, the 9th of December, 1769.”  On the cross on the other side of Point Pinos was cut with a razor this legend:  - “The land expedition returned to San Diego for want of provisions, this 9th day of December, 1769.”

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