The entire population of Upper California including foreigners, Mexicans and Indians, may be estimated at about thirty-one thousand human souls, of whom, about one thousand are foreigners, ten thousand are Mexicans, and the residue are Indians. By the term foreigners, I include all those who are not native citizens of Mexico, whether they have become citizens by naturalization, or whether they remain in a state of alienage. They consist, chiefly, of Americans, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Germans and Spaniards, but there is a very large majority of the former. The foreigners are principally settled at the various towns, and upon the Sacramento; those of whom who, are located at the latter place, consist almost entirely of our own citizens. The foreigners of this country are, generally, very intelligent; many of them have-received all the advantages of an education; and they all possess an unusual degree of industry and enterprise. Those who are emigrating to that remote and almost unknown region, like those who are emigrating to Oregon, are, in all respects, a different class of persons, from those who usually emigrate to our frontier. They generally, possess, more than an ordinary degree of intelligence, and that they possess an eminent degree of industry, enterprise and bravery, is most clearly evinced, from the very fact, of their entering upon this most arduous and perilous undertaking. Very few cowards ever venture voluntarily, to meet all those imaginary and real dangers, to which they are necessarily exposed, in crossing the Rocky mountains or doubling Cape Horn; and no indolent man, even if he possess the bravery of Caesar, can ever summon the requisite energy; and if he possess the bravery of Caesar, and the strength and energy of Hercules, and lack the enterprise, he will have no disposition to attempt a feat, so arduous and irksome. Hence, if he possess an unusual degree of cowardice, he dare not, if nature has supplied him with a great competency of indolence, he cannot; and if he be not blessed with more than an ordinary share of energy and enterprise, he will not emigrate, either to Oregon or California. The above gives some of the leading traits of character, of the foreigners of California, but extraordinary kindness, courtesy and hospitality, are additional traits, which the possess to an unusual degree. A more kind and hospitable people are nowhere found; they seem to vie with each other, in their kindness and hospitality to strangers; and at the same time, they treat each other as brothers. Here, you see the citizens and subjects, of almost every nation in the civilized world, united by the silken chains of friendship, exerting every energy, and doing every thing in their power, to promote the individual and general welfare. Upon the arrival of a stranger among them, the question is not, is he an Englishmen, an American or Frenchman, but is he a foreigner? which latter, if he is found to be, he receives all that kindness and hospitable attention, peculiar to the foreigner of California. These are truly a happy people; among whom, no distinction of clime is recognized, national preferences and prejudices do not exist, religious rancor is hushed; and all is order, harmony and peace. The sages of by-gone days, sighed for such scenes as here exist, but they realized them not; the children of fancy, dreamed their dreams of union and harmony, but the foreigners of California, enjoy their desired realities.
The Mexicans differ in every particular, from the foreigners; ignorance and its concomitant, superstition, together with suspicion and superciliousness, constitute the chief ingredients, of the Mexican character, More indomitable ignorance does not prevail, among any people who make the least pretentions to civilization; in truth, they are scarcely a visible grade, in the scale of intelligence, above the barbarous tribes by whom they are surrounded; but this is not surprising, especially when we consider the relation, which these people occupy to their barbarous neighbors, in other particulars. Many of the lower order of them, have intermarried with the various tribes, and have resided with them so long, and lived in a manner so entirely similar, that it has become almost impossible, to trace the least distinctions between them, either in reference to intelligence, or complexion. There is another class, which is, if possible, of a lower order still, than those just alluded to, and which consists of the aborigines themselves, who have been slightly civilized, or rather domesticated. These two classes constitute almost the entire Mexican population, of California, and among them almost every variety and shade of complexion may be found, from the African black, to the tawny brown of our southern Indians. Although there is a great variety, and dissimilarity among them, in reference to their complexions, yet in their beastly habits and an entire went of all moral principle, as well as a perfect destitution of all intelligence, there appears to be a perfect similarity. A more full description of these classes, will be found, in what is said, in reference to the Indians, for as most of the lower order of Mexicans, are Indians in fact, whatever is said in reference to the one, will also be applicable to the other. The higher order of the Mexicans, in point of intelligence, are perhaps about equal, to the lower order of our citizens, throughout our western states; but among these even, are very few, who are, to any extent, learned or even intelligent. Learning and intelligence appear to be confined, almost entirely, to the priests, who are, generally, both learned and intelligent. The priests are not only the sole proprietors of the learning and intelligence, but also, of the liberty and happiness of the people, all of which they parcel out to their blind votaries, with a very sparing hand; and thus it is, that all the Mexican people are kept, in this state of degrading ignorance, and humiliating vassalage. The priests here, not only have the possession of the keys of the understanding, and the door of liberty, but they also, have both the present and ultimate happiness, of these ignorant people, entirely at their disposal. Such at least, is the belief of the people, and such are the doctrines there taught by the priests. At times, I sympathize with these unfortunate beings, but again, I frequently think, that, perhaps, it is fortunate for the residue of mankind that these semi-barbarians, are thus ridden and restrained, and if they are to be thus priest ridden, it is, no doubt, preferable, that they should retain their present riders.
Notwithstanding the general learning of the priests, they are the most dissolute and abandoned characters of the whole community. They indulge, without restraint, in all the vices common to those people, and, especially, in those of drunkenness and gambling. To such an extent do they indulge in the former of these vices, that it is not unusual, to see them so much intoxicated, as to prevent the discharge of their ordinary religious duties. It may not be. inappropriate here, to give one or two instances, which were related to me by respectable gentlemen, in California, and which, may show, to what extent, those priests, indulge in these vices. One Sabbath morning, as my informant was passing along the street, in one of those towns, he observed a priest standing at the counter of a grocery, and in the act of satiating his artificial appetite, not with the delicious wine of California, but the inebriating brandy of the states of which, he seemed already, to have received a surcharge, for his deranged system, appeared to be almost entirely, beyond his control. By a fast hold upon the counter, however, he was enabled to hold his position, I but not to change it, though the latter appeared to be an object which, he had a very great anxiety to accomplish. Finally, a lad, who was evidently in search of the priest, was seen passing from grocery to grocery, until he fell in with the object of his search, our hero, when he inform him, that the people were in attendance, at the church, waiting his arrival, to which the priest replied, that it was very well, he would go, so saying, he took another glass of brandy, when, with the aid of the boy, he staggered on church-ward, with more than ordinary rapidity, as he had, by this time, ample propelling power. But his movements were very irregular, which was very much owing to the inadequacy of the power, at the helm, which was the small lad, despite of all whose powers, he frequently made the most tremendous leaps plunges, which appeared to threaten an immediate wreck. By the aid of the helmsman, however, and the gradual diminution of the propelling power, that awful calamity was averted, and this great craft, was safely moored in the desired haven, amid the shouts of the multitude, and to the infinite joy and gratification of the whole crew. Whether this was the last voyage, my informant was not advised, but that it was not the first, he was fully advised, for he had witnessed several similar arrivals and departures, in person.
When I shall have related one other instance of this kind, I will have done with this class of the Californians. The instance to which I allude, was related to me, in substance, by a respectable foreigner, of that country, who witnessed the whole occurrence, as here related. As my informant was passing in the street, of one of those towns, his attention was attracted to a gambling house, upon entering which he saw four or five gentlemen engaged at a game of cards, among whom, were several officers of the government and other gentlemen of standing, as well as a very devoted and learned priest, who appeared to be much interested in the game and very much excited, not only from the effects of large betting, but also from the effects of large drinking. While my informant remained in the room, which was about thirty minutes, he saw this religious personage, bet and stake, not less than one hundred dollars, and drink not less than three glasses of brandy. My informant now left these high dignitaries, about "half seas over," excepting the priest, who appeared not to deal in halves; he did not appear willing to bet half of a hundred, to drink half of a glass of brandy, nor did he appear willing to be half drunk, for he was more than two thirds drunk. Very early the next morning, my informant passed the door of the same establishment when, upon hearing unusual confusion, he again stepped in, and to his utter astonishment, he found the same gentlemen in the same condition as that in which he left them the evening previous, with the exception of an increase of their numbers and their excitement, the latter of which, was strongly indicated, by their boisterous and angry declamations, as well as the thunderings of their repeated stamping upon the floor, and their successive furious blows upon the table. A further difference, however, was, that the floor was strewed with the victims both of Morpheus and Bacchus, amongst whom, were two priests. But our hero, who seemed to take every thing by the entirety, had taken the whole night, and appeared inclined to take the whole day; he was now in high glee, and was evidently triumphing over the fallen victims with whom he was surrounded. He had out-drunk, out-gambled, out-generaled and out-juggled them all. As any new or interesting circumstance occurred, he was frequently heard to exclaim, in a jocular way, "qod est in corde sobrii, est in ore ebrii," what soberness conceals, drunkenness reveals. In the midst of this high glee, and this learned display, a servant appeared, who informed the learned divine, that his attendance was now required at the church, where the people had already convened. The learned, polite and drunken divine, now arose, and thus addressed his fellow bacchanalians; "gentlemen, you will excuse me, for a few minutes, as I have a religious duty to perform, when I shall have done which, I will immediately return, but in the mean time, go on with the game; good morning gentlemen." Of course, the learned prelate was excused, who having performed his religious services, soon returned and renewed his bacchanalian revelings with renewed vigor. How different are the priests of California from those of the same denomination, of christians in our own country? There, as above seen, we find among them, the most cruel oppressors, the most absolute tyrants, and the most devoted and dissolute debauchees, of the whole land, while here, we find among the clergy of the same denomination, not only the most humane, just and honorable citizens, but also the most meek and sincerely devoted Christians.
The Indian population, as before stated, amounts to about twenty thousand, most of whom, are found in the interior and mountainous regions; yet they are found, in greater or less numbers, in all the different valleys. They are usually found, congregated in villages, in many of which, there are, frequently, many hundreds, and even thousands, who occupy small huts, of most singular construction. These huts consist of mere conic elevations of earth, about eight or ten feet in height, and about twenty feet in diameter, with a small aperture at the top of each, of about two feet in diameter, which affords an entrance into each; besides which, there is also, an entrance at the side of each, near the surface of the earth. In each of these villages, there are, usually, from ten to fifty of this kind of primitive buildings, which are capable of accommodating from ten to twenty persons. They have the external appearance, of being constructed entirely of earth, but upon entering them, they are found to be constructed, internally of timbers, which sustain the earthen covering. The Indians of this country, are not migratory, but it is seen, that they have, in numerous instances, abandoned their old haunts, and re-established in other portions of the country, but for what cause, it is difficult to ascertain, with any degree of certainty, for the sites which have been thus abandoned, appear in many instances, to possess advantages much superior, to those which have been subsequently selected. As far as can be ascertained, the desolating ravages of war, have been the chief causes of these repeated removals, for villages of fifty, or even a hundred of these huts, are frequently seen, which have the appearance, of having been their ancient haunts, but which, are, now abandoned, the ground at, and around which, is covered with human skulls. Upon examining several of these huts, of these abandoned villages, I very readily found, that whatever the cause of this, mortality, might have been, it was, evidently, inflicted upon them, when within their huts, for the earth of the external covering of the huts, having fallen in, was extensively intermixed with skulls, and other human bones. At the villages which they occupy, there are no apparent evidences of that extensive mortality, which formerly prevailed, to such an alarming extent among them, at their abandoned villages. All of the various tribes, of this country, are found in their aboriginal state of barbarism , as perfectly wild and timid, as the herds of beasts, with which they are surrounded. Upon approaching one of their villages, without their previous knowledge, a scene of most extraordinary confusion, and noisy clamor is presented; all scudding at once, into their earthen houses, not a human soul is to be seen, excepting those who present their heads through the aperture at the apex, of each of the huts, and who are, in a most clamorous and confused manner, drawing upon your humanity and mercy, and begging you to spare them, collectively and individually. The nearer you, approach their village, the more boisterous and clamorous they become, in their loud and confused appeals, to all the better feelings of your nature, to spare their tribe, from the dire calamity, of extermination, or, at all events, to save their village, from which the earth maybe repeopled. After having remained a few minutes, amid their loud lamentations, furious cries, frantic yells, and wild gesticulations your pity and sympathy are excited, and sure enough, you conclude to spare their village, at least, and leave them, making the very heavens resound, with their loud, clamorous shouts, of exultation and joy. These Indians are much more advanced, in civilization, than any others found in this country, with the exception of those who have been connected with the missions, or those who have become Mexicans, which, by the by, is a very slight transition.
In many other portions of the country, they do not even build huts, nor do they wear any kind of clothing; being mere children of nature. Nothing whatever is attached to their persons, excepting, perhaps, a few feathers, which are attached to the heads of the chiefs, by means of the hair, and which are designed, to designate their rank; but when they are about to engage in some extraordinary chace, they also tie either a bark or a grape-vine around their waists, drawing it so tight, as to almost sever their bodies. When going to war, they also tie a vine or bark around the waist, in addition to which, they besmear their faces, and their bodies generally, with the white clay before alluded to, which having done, and having provided themselves, either with a kind of rude bow, or equally as rude war-club, they are prepared for any warlike emergency. Many of these tribes, which are found far in the interior, and in the mountainous regions, subsist almost entirely upon edible root, grass seeds, oats, acorns, and insects, such as crickets and grasshoppers, the former furnishing them a substitute for bread, and the latter for meat. In those portions of the interior, where they subsist mostly upon insects, such insects as crickets and grass hoppers are extremely numerous; so numerous, in fact, that it is not unusual to see fifty or sixty bushels, at one of these villages, which are dried and prepared for food. In order to take these insects, fire is set to the dried vegetation, which, in many places, is literally covered with them, and which, as it burns, leaves them upon the ground partially burned, when, without waiting for the command, "arise, slay and eat," they all, old and young, male and female, with their rude baskets, and whatever else they happen to possess, now go forth, to the in gathering of the rich harvest. In this manner, many bushels are soon gathered, which are exposed to the rays of the sun, until they are perfectly dried, when they are laid up in store, for their future necessities. The wildness and timidity of these tribes, are such, that upon the appearance of white persons, at their villages, all of the males, both old and young immediately flee in the utmost confusion, to the surrounding hills and mountains, while the females remain ; and as you advance, they commence a most doleful moaning and crying, and at the same time persist in offering you such food as they, have collected. It would excite both your curiosity and compassion, in passing their villages, which have been thus abandoned, by the males, to hear the mournful lamentation, and the piteous crying of the timid women, and the deafening screaming, and the deafening screaming, and wild clamor, of the frightened children, and to see the females cautiously approaching, upon the right and left, with rude dishes, containing insects, which they are now offering you, with a view of appeasing your wrath, and thereby, averting the awful calamity which evidently awaits them, and all their insectile neighbors. In passing through the extreme interior of this country, I have often come suddenly upon several hundred, of these wild, naked creatures, when, like the wild beasts of the forest, they would leap and scud away, plunging into the river, and swimming across, they would soon, be lost to our sight, in the vast plains, upon the opposite shore. Those of the tribes, which build huts, are, usually, found upon, and in the vicinity of the streams; they subsist, chiefly upon fish, which they are able to take at any season of the year, and as many of them have bows, of a very superior kind, they are also able to kill much game. Many of these tribes take the salmon, and other fish, not only in quantities sufficient for their own purposes, but they also, supply all the different settlements with an ample abundance, for the most trivial compensation. Most of these tribes are entirely friendly, and they are of the greatest service to the various settlers, who are able to perform all their labors, upon their farms, by the aid of the Indians, with very little expense, and with very, little trouble, or inconvenience to themselves.
The government of California, being the government of one military chieftain, whose will is the law of the land, may be defined to be, a military despotism. The present executive, is Manuel Michetorena, who in also the commander in chief, of the militia, of both Californias. He resides at Monterey, where he arrived in the autumn of 1843, when he was very favorably received, although there had been much opposition to his appointment. He was appointed by the government of Mexico, to fill a vacancy, occasioned by the removal of one Juan Baptiste Alvarado, who was elevated to that station, by the people in 1836, in opposition to the government of Mexico, the previous governor, Echuandra, having been forcibly deposed, by the Mexicans and foreigners combined. This was the result of the revolution of 1836, in which the Mexicans and foreigners succeeded, in a very few days, not only in acquiring complete possession of the country, and establishing an independent government, but they also succeeded, in shipping the whole crew, of Mexican officers, " in good order," for Matzatlan, on their way to city of Mexico, and thus the country was rid, of a horde of governmental robbers. When the government Mexico, became advised of the course pursued by the Californians, and that the Mexicans and foreigners had combined, to accomplish their purposes, it proceeded, immediately, though very reluctantly, to ratify the revolutionary act of the Californians, by issuing a commission to the "rebel" governor, by which, he was authorized to hold the office, which he had thus acquired, by his treasonable intrigue. The chief cause, of the government's so readily, recalling its rejected governors and confirming the act of the "rebels," was, that it was now fully advised, that the foreigners had determined to adhere to the revolutionists. This course, they had been persuaded to pursue, by the "rebel" governor, and several other influential Californians, who pledged themselves to the foreigners, that upon their succeeding, the government should be declared independent of Mexico, and that they should be entitled to all the privileges, and immunities of citizens. These with numerous other inducements, were held out to the foreigners, in order to induce them to aid, in the pending revolution, which they did, and which resulted as before stated, in the elevation of this Alvarado to the governorship, and as they thought, in the acquisition of their independence of Mexico. But this Alvarado, a libel upon the human race, accepted the appointment from the Mexican government and commenced a series of indiscriminate insult and oppression upon all foreigners, within his inhuman grasp; but the foreigners, not being inclined to submit tamely, to this repeated wrong and outrage, were now in feeling, at least in formidable and hostile opposition, to his supreme highness, the rebel governor. His insignificant excellency, continued his insult, cruelty and oppression, from day to day, and from month to month, but finally, after the lapse of about three years, perceiving that he was receiving his just deserts, the disapprobation and supreme contempt, of all foreigners, as well as that of all the better class of the Mexicans, now determined to make one last, desperate effort to redeem his lost character.
After consulting his own black heart, and those of some of his villainous comrades, in disgraceful, cowardly oppression; he determined to adopt some means, which might terminate, either in the extermination, or expulsion of all the foreigners from California, and in order to accomplish his fiendish purpose, he now commenced his unheard of cruelties, and barbarous oppressions, with renewed vigor and malignancy. His extreme and justly deserved unpopularity, had a great tendency, to prevent his desired success, in infamy and crime, until the autumn of 1840, when, by the aid of others, more skilled in low treachery, and black villainy, he finally, fell upon a scheme, which to some extent, effected his sinful and criminal purpose. The course fixed upon, was to report among all the Mexicans, that the foreigners had combined, for the purpose of revolutionizing the government, and establishing a republic, and that all the preliminary measures, preparatory to the accomplishment of that object, were already adopted. All this, he well knew, to be absolutely false, yet he also knew, that the credulous and suspicious Mexicans would, very readily, credit it, especially, as it came from so credible a source, but notwithstanding the high source from which it was derived, he took particular care, to have it well confirmed, by three or four other malicious villains. Lest the falsity, of this base and murderous intrigue, might be seen, even by the benighted rabble, his criminal excellency, was extremely cautious, to enjoin upon every Mexican, to whom he reported this base falsehood, that he keep the whole matter, a profound secret, and above all things, that he should not divulge to any foreigner, although he might be his most intimate friend, or even closely allied, by the ties of affinity or consanguinity. This injunction of secrecy, he well knew, to be highly essential to his cowardly purpose, for he was not ignorant of the fact that there were many of the foreigners, whom he had implicated, in the treasonble schemes alluded to, whose words simply, would be entitled to greater weight than the solemn oath of himself, and his whole fraternity; nor was he ignorant of the fact, that if the foreigners should acquire, the least knowledge, of his infamous designs, his excellency would soon, cease to exist as governor, or in any other manner. The whole matter was, therefore, kept a profound secret, as far as the foreigners were concerned, for there was not one of them, in the entire country, who had the least intimation, that any thing unusual, was in contemplation.
His ungrateful and black-hearted excellency, having accomplished his unholy preliminaries, now dispatched a few of his niggardly hirelings, in the dead of the night to the residences of most of the foreigners through out the country, with orders to bring them, in irons, before his supremely contemptible excellency. Nothing could have been more congenial, to the feelings of this pusillanimous crew, than the base and cowardly enterprise, in which they were about to engage; that of attacking innocent, unoffending men, under cover of night; without giving them the least intimation of their despicable designs, and that too, after having treated them, but the day before, with all the apparent kindness, and affected politeness, at the command of their hypocritical natures. Contemptible hypocritical cowards; base midnight assassins! In most instances, the first notice which the foreigners had of their approach, was a volley of musket balls, poured in upon them, through their windows and doors, as they were reposing upon their couches, with their families, in deep, midnight slumber. Many of them, most manfully resisted, this unceremonious attack, but being finally overcome by numbers, forty of them were taken, put in irons, taken to Monterey, and delivered to that demon in human form, his more than criminal excellency Alvarado. Here these brave Anglosaxons were dragged about, from place to place, during all the following day, many of them suffering most intensely, from the wounds which they received, the night before, and others, from the sore gallings of their ponderous shackles. Among them, was one Graham, who suffered extremely; for having fought bravely, and desperately, upon the night previous, he had received several very severe wounds, from musket balls, the breeches of muskets, and from swords; but he endured it all, with the fortitude of an American, which he is by birth; a brave determined American! These unfortunate men, still loaded with irons, were now thrown into dungeons, where they were confined for several days, suffering the most exquisite torture, from the continual gallings, of their massive fetters, parching thirst, and gnawing hunger. But to heighten their sufferings, they were all thrown together, into a little, narrow, filthy dungeon, the floor of which, was the wet muddy ground, and into which the air was admitted only at a small aperture, at which, scarcely sufficient could be received, to sustain life. Under this cruel, oppressive treatment, many of them were rapidly sinking; and had become so far exhausted, that they were no longer able to stand at the little aperture to avail themselves of the oxygen, essential to the support of life, but were actually fast declining, under the influence of the carbonic acid gas, which occupied the bottom of the deep, dark and wet cell. Their companions, now seeing their exhausted condition, immediately, took them to the aperture spoken of, where after inhaling the atmospheric air for a few minutes, they were partially revived, and thus, for several days, those who were able, going frequently to this aperture, and those who were not able to stand, being carried to it, they were able to aid respiration, and to sustain life, though with the greatest possible difficulty, and most intense suffering.
Having thus satiated, his more than barbarous revenge, this heartless, soulless wretch, alias governor, now ordered his helpless, and almost lifeless victims, to be loaded with additional irons, and to be shipped for Matzatlan, and to be taken thence, to the city of Mexico, there to be dealt with, as the supreme authorities might direct. Arrangements were accordingly made, when these now pale, emaciated and dejected men were dragged from their dungeons, torn from their families and friends, loaded with massive fetters and chains, and thrown on board the vessel, by which they were to be conveyed to Matzatlan, or the grave, they knew not which, nor had they much solicitude as to the result. So violent was the suffering, of these unfortunate men, that one or two of them sunk under it, and died before reaching Mexico, while many others, suffered under severe illness, not only during their confinement, but also for months after their release, and all were reduced to an extreme state, of feebleness and emaciation. Upon arriving at the city of Mexico, an investigation was instituted, not only by the Mexican authorities, but also by the foreign ministers, the result of which was, that they were all, at once, released, with a tender of a small amount of money, as a remuneration for the insults and injuries, which they had thus wrongfully sustained. Some of them received the trivial remuneration, which was offered them, while others refused, absolutely, to receive so trivial a remuneration, and hence, have not, to this day, received a farthing. And is not this a gross neglect of our government, thus to permit her citizens to be chained, and dragged in irons, under the most cruel and barbarous treatment, suffering every thing but death, and even death itself, and that too, without the slightest cause, without a shadow of provocation? The result of all this affair, as far as the base tyrant, the governor is concerned, is all very well, but by no means as, he had anticipated. As before remarked, he acquired his ascendancy forcibly, and against the will of Mexico, and the only reason of Mexico's suffering such an outrage upon her rights, was her dread of the foreigners, who adhered to him, in his treasonable elevation. But now, finding that the foreigners had abandoned him, and were most bitterly opposed to him, the government availed itself of thin opposition of the foreigners, and unceremoniously removed this ungrateful, cowardly oppressor, and, as before stated, appointed the present governor in his stead. And now, being thus supplanted, as the fates will have it, and "plane uti factum oportuit," just as it ought to be, he is everywhere looked upon, with the most indignant contempt, not only by the foreigners, but also, by the Mexicans, for he has proved equally treacherous to both, and has shown himself unworthy of the confidence of either; the consequence of which is, that he is now to be seen wandering about, like a "discontented ghost," having neither talent, worth, nor power, sufficient to attract the attention of any human soul, he drags droanishly about, from place to place, unobserving and unobserved.
Notwithstanding the complete prostration, in public opinion, of the treacherous monster of whom I have just spoken, the present governor, had many misgivings, as to the propriety and safety, of his attempting to enter upon this discharge, of his gubernatorial duties, in California, without a competent military force, to ensure his protection. Having advised the proper authorities of Mexico, of his fears and doubts, and some of the grounds upon which they were predicated, one thousand criminals were extracted, from the various prisons and committed to his charge. With this formidable band of cut-throats, as their brands and cropped ears showed them to be, he set out upon his march to the Californias, where he arrived in the fall of 1842, remaining in the extreme southern part, of Upper California, until the fall of 1843, when he collected sufficient courage, to enable him to advance to the seat of government. The timorous movements of the governor, and, especially, the fact of his being unwilling to venture among the Californias, without an armed force, for his protection, created much dissatisfaction among them, which became so general, at one time, that they determined to interpose their omnipotence, to prevent his excellency from marching his omnifarious troops, to the seat of government. But before I left that country, his generalship was permitted to march northward, and was in full possession of the chief town, there to be seen marching and parading his cropped and branded troops, about the streets, with all imaginable pomposity. Disease and dissertion had reduced these troops, to two hundred, before they arrived in California, but there were quite enough of them left, to afford some of the rarest specimens of humanity, that I have ever beheld. They were in deed a motely crew; some were cropped, and others were branded; some were without shoes, and others were without shirts; some had guns, others had spears, others lances, and others nothing; and the latter were equally as well armed as the former, for those who had guns, had no ammunition. Thus armed and equipped, this omnifarious soldiery, is prepared to meet, in mortal combat, even a Caesar, a Hannibal, a Bonaparte or a Washington, but they cannot be induced to meet a Jones. These soldiers, like all others of Mexico, are mere Indians, many of whom, are as perfectly wild and untutored, as the most barbarous savages of the forest; yet it is with these wild, shirtless, earless and heartless creatures, headed by a few timid, soulless, brainless officers, that these semi-barbarians, intend to hold this delightful region, as against the civilized world.
The Judiciary of this government, is extremely simple; it is divested of all that complexity, peculiar to our judiciary system. The judicial officers consist simply of a few alcaldes, or justices of the peace, who are appointed for each town, and settlement throughout the country, and who have unlimited jurisdiction, in the precinct for which they are appointed. The chief duties of these alcaldes are merely to adjudge all trivial difficulties, which arise among the people, and to issue passports for those who wish to pass from one precinct to another, and prohibit their passing without them. A passport, issued by the alcalde, is a mere written, authority, given you, to pass to and from, such places as are designated, without limiting you to any particular time, though they always contain the words, valid for the time necessary, or words of similar import, and a request, of the alcalde, to the civil and military authorities, to permit you to pass unmolested. The officers are latterly, very inattentive to that branch of their duty, for it is very seldom now, that a foreigner is interrogated in reference to his passport; prehaps it is never the case, unless the foreigner is an entire stranger, and the officers have some good reason, to apprehend some improper conduct. In passing from place to place, no Mexican even spoke of my passport, unless it was, when I applied for its renewal, which I sometimes did, as I passed from one precinct to another, although it was not strictly necessary. Upon one occasion, when I applied for a passport, I remember to have spoken to the "commandante," in reference to the propriety of being thus required, like slaves, to obtain a permission, to pass from place to place when he remarked, that the authorities were not as strict, with foreigners, in that respect, as they had formerly been, for instance, he remarked that if I should pass throughout the entire country, the question would never be asked, whether I had obtained a passport. The reason of this great difference, in this respect, he said, was that from the long residence of foreigners among them, they were satisfied, that they were not as evilly disposed, as they had formerly been supposed to be; but the true reason is, that they have not the balance of power, in their favor, as they formerly had, which if they had, all their former hostility and barbarity, would be renewed, with infinite pleasure. The foreigners are annually increasing in numbers and power, the inevitable tendency of which, is clearly seen and understood, even by the Mexicans, hence it is, that foreigners are now treated with the utmost respect, kindness and hospitality. The bombardment of Vera Cruz, the triumph of Texas, and the impromptu conquest of California, by Com. Jones, have long since, taught them the propriety, of respecting the rights of foreigners.
Now, instead of that inhuman oppression, which was formerly inflicted upon foreigners, without measure and without mercy, they are treated with all the deceptive kindness imaginable, and instead of that hostile opposition, which formerly existed to the emigration of foreigners to that country, every inducement is held out to encourage foreign emigration. Large grants of land are given to each emigrant, averaging from one to eleven square leagues, the quantity depending upon the number of members, composing the applicant's family, and his means of improving, by building, fencing or otherwise. In order to obtain a grant of land, it becomes necessary for a foreigner, first to make an application for naturalization, then to present a petition addressed to the governor, praying for a grant of the land which he may have selected, and of which, he, at the same time, presents a general map, representing its extent and surface. This being done, he is entitled to the possession of his land, and when the process of his naturalization is accomplished, he is entitled to his deed, which is made by the government, of California, under the hand and seal of the governor. Although the quantity of land usually granted is from one to eleven square leagues, yet it is seldom that either extreme is taken, perhaps there are no instances of any individuals' having obtained but one league, though there are some instances, of their having obtained eleven square leagues. There are also several grants of twenty or thirty square leagues; among these extensive grants, is Captain Sutter's, which contains thirty square leagues, or two hundred and seventy square miles. Grants of this extent, are given only upon the condition that the grantee settle a certain number of families upon it, within a certain number of years, according to the provisions of the colonization law, which law, however, it is said, has recently been repealed. Any person arriving in that country, is at liberty to take any lands which are not taken, or which have not been applied for, even without making any application for that purpose, but in such case, he is liable to be dispossessed at any time, by the lands being regularly applied for, by another. All those who emigrated to that country, with me, settled in that manner, and made some extensive improvements, without having made an application for a title, yet they all designed to make their applications, in due time. The reason of their not making their application, immediately, upon their arrival, was, that it was, at that time, rumored, that foreigners would be enabled to obtain their titles, without becoming citizens, which they all very much preferred, if it could be accomplished. I am aware that a certain high functionary, at Washington city, who represents the government of Mexico, insists that foreigners can not obtain lands, in California, merely by becoming citizens, but that their obtaining lands, depends entirely, upon the option of the governor of California. Now how this may be, I do not pretend to say, but I do say, that the only prerequisites, required, are those just stated, and in reference to this matter, I speak from my own personal knowledge, as I called upon the governor, with a view of applying for the grant of a certain tract of land, when he informed me, as above stated. But as I did not think proper to become a Mexican citizen, I did not obtain my title, and as I am fully determined never to become a Mexican citizen, the presumption is, that I shall never obtain a title to the lands for which I applied especially if it is the destiny of Mexico forever to retain possession of the Californias. In reference to the option of the governor to grant lands or not, as contended by the Mexican functionary alluded to, it is not at all material, more specialty, as it happens to be his preference, or at least his practice, to grant lands to all foreigners, who make application in conformity with the requisitions before stated. And should his preference suggest a different course, I am inclined to the opinion, that his excellency would still find it much more conducive, both to public policy, and peace, to grant lands upon the same terms, to all who make application for that purpose; and thus, avoid creating distinctions and prejudices, between native and naturalized citizens.
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