California Genealogy and History Archives
La Baja History
DISCOVERY AND EARLY EXPLORATIONS.
Very soon after the conquest of Mexico the attention of Cortez was attracted by certain stories told by some of the conquered tribes regarding a mysterious but wonderful country, lying far to the northwestward. This land they called Ciguatan, or The Realm of Women; and they declared that it abounded in gold, in pearls, rubies, garnets, turquoises, and many other products, rich and precious. Marvelous things were told also concerning the people, customs, and appearance of that far country. About the same time (1530) Nuño de Guzman, President in New Spain, was told by an Indian slave of The Seven Cities of Cibola," with their reputed great population, their streets paved with gold and silver, and their exceeding splendor in general. The marvels and mysteries that they had already witnessed in Mexico made credence of these tales easy for the Spaniards, who readily conjectured that Ciguatan and Cibola might be one and the same. As actuating motives for investigation, there was the potent hope of the acquisition of treasure; the idea, cherished by all the invading Spaniards, of discovering a northern waterway from the Atlantic to the Pacific; and the hope of exploring the South Sea coasts and islands.
So Cortez the Conqueror fitted out vessels that made three northward expeditions. The first ship, in 1533, discovered a bay, probably that of La Paz, on the eastern or gulf coast of what is now Lower California. A second expedition sailed in 1534 and in 1535, which Cortez accompanied, to make personal inspection. It is needless to say that the anticipations were not fulfilled and that colonization languished.
In July, 1539, moved by the renewal of the old marvelous stories, Cortez sent out Francisco de Ulloa, with three small vessels. Ulloa reached the head of the gulf now called California, and probably saw, from the mouth of the Colorado, the shores of the territory which is now "The Golden State." He also circumnavigated the peninsula, and sailed up its west coast as far as Cedros Island. It seems that in the account of this voyage was first applied the name "California," whose origin has caused much discussion, which seems to have been pretty conclusively settled by Mr. Edward Everett Hale, who in 1862 discovered that the name was of romantic origin, being that of the Amazonish heroine of Ordonez de Montaloo's old romance, Sergos de Esplandian, which was very popular at the period of the Conquest. This term was first applied between 1535 and 1539, to a particular spot or a locality, but it was soon generalized, to designate the entire adjacent region; and, as this territory was supposed to consist of a group of islands, the plural form was used—Las Californias, or Las Islas Californias—the California Isles.
During July, August and September, 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese navigator in the Spanish service, followed the Pacific coast northward to a spot which he called Puerto de San Miguel, latitude 34° 20' N.; this Evans, in 1879, identified with San Pedro, but most historians maintain that it was San Diego. Cabrillo died on the voyage from the result of an accident, but the expedition was pushed as far north as Cape Mendocino.
In 1597 Sebastian Vizcayno sailed from Acapulco to re-explore and occupy for Spain the Islas Californias. His expedition found good ports, fruitful islands and rich pearl-beds, and he achieved the notable exploit of founding a settlement of Europeans at a point then named and ever since called La Paz (Peace), from the pacific character of the aborigines. This place was presumably identical with Santa Cruz, the pseudo-island where, in May, 1535, Cortez had founded a colony. Like that earlier one, this colony of Vizcayno was almost at once abandoned. A second expedition under Vizcayno, in 1602, advanced beyond Cape Mendocino. In. the years that followed, Tomas Cardova, in 1610; Francisco de Ortega, in 1632, and again in 1636; Luigi Cestin de Cañas in 1642; Porter y Casanate in 1644; Bernal de Pinadero in 1667: Ysidro Otondo (who founded at La Paz a colony that endured about two years, and was then abandoned) in 1683;—these were the chief personages who sailed to the peninsula in the seventeenth century. A number of lesser lights appeared also, but they were very transient visitors, being mainly adventurers attracted by the fame of the pearl-beds.
In 1710 a vessel of Woodes Rogers' fleet lay at La Paz to refit, having as sailing-master the renowned Alexander Selkirk, original of Robinson Crusoe, who had been rescued the preceding year from Juan Fernandez Island.
THE JESUITS IN LA BAJA.
The first Jesuit priest to tread Lower California soil was Father Roque de Vega, chaplain to Francisco de Ortega, on that worthy's third survey. Ortega, on this voyage, on January 14,or 15, 1636, anchored his vessel of seventy tons' burden in the bay called Playa Honda, eleven miles south of La Paz. A terrible storm, lasting eleven days, wrecked the ship and drove it ashore, the men escaping to the land on fragments of the vessel. There drifted also—miraculously, thought the forlorn, castaway explorers —enough vessels of the church service to enable Father Vega to say mass regularly. These were the first Christian ministrations in the Californias. They were followed by the good father's baptizing several dying natives at La Paz, whither the party went, in a boat constructed from the fragments of the wreck. The second Jesuit priest in California was Father Jacinto Cortez, who in 1642 accompanied Luis Cestin de Cañas to the country for which his order was destined to do so much in the future.
From the epoch of Cortez to that of Otondo —1535 to 1683—so expensive and so fruitless had been the many efforts to occupy the western peninsula, that the government had determined to equip no more such expeditions. Yet it was most desirable, because of the important geographical position of the territory, that it should be under Spanish dominion. Therefore, counting on the steadfastness of the missionary spirit, the council convened to consider this question, offered to the Company of Jesus a subsidy of $40,000 per year as an inducement to undertake the California mission. The order declined the offer on the ground of unwillingness to participate in the temporal concerns involved in the enterprise.
Father Eusebio Kino (also written Kühn), one of the priests who had accompanied Otondo on the expedition that colonized La Paz in 1683, had vowed his life to the work of sending missionaries to the Californias. Obtaining his transfer to the Sonora missions, he met there the Visitador, the devoted Father Juan Maria Salvatierra, who became as great an enthusiast as Kino, and thenceforth these two labored unceasingly in behalf of California. In 1697 they were joined by Father Juan Ugarte, of the Jesuit College in Mexico, a man of strong powers, natural and circumstantial, who soon developed as much zeal as his coadjutors. After a long period of seemingly hopeless efforts, the cause began to gain ground. Contributions of money ranging from $2,000 to $20,000 began to come in from church guilds, and from individuals, thus beginning the famous " Pious Fund of the Californias." Pressure was produced to annul the royal cedula forbidding expeditions to California, and on February 5, 1697, the vice-regal license was given. It authorized Salvatierra and Kino to undertake the conversion of the Californians, to enlist and pay soldiers for the enterprise, to appoint or remove officials, in short, to direct and dispose entirely in the matter, on two conditions,—that all should be done at their own expense, and that possession should be taken of the countries to be subjugated, in the name of the King of Spain.
It must be admitted by an impartial reader, without regard to race or religious prejudice, that these Jesuit fathers were impelled by the purest of motives, with great generosity and singleness of purpose, in this undertaking. They went at their own risk and at their own cost. The experiences of previous movers in the same direction had declared the country to be unattractive, indeed, repellant, and without elements of riches; and that its conquest was dangerous, and doubtful of achievement. It must be remembered, also, that during their sway, the missionaries sternly forbade the fomenting of the resources of the pearl-fisheries, by whose rich potency they might have mitigated the asperity of their conflict, while the opposition they offered to working the pearl-beds gave rise to many of the most serious obstacles they encountered. It has been the fashion of many writers to asperse the motives of these devoted men, and that is obviously an injustice.
After many wearisome preliminaries and vexatious delays, Salvatierra landed on the peninsula, on October 16, 1697, with a strangely assorted escort of six soldiers, comprising a Spaniard, a Portuguese, a Mexican creole, a Maltese, a Sicilian and a Peruvian mulatto. On October 25, in a tent that had been prepared as a church, with a cross set up, and the venerated image of Our Lady of Loreto, mass was said, and formal possession taken of the country in the name of the King of Spain. This, the first mission founded in California, was called Loreto Conchó, for the patroness whose image they honored on their altar, and from the native name of the site.
The history of the missions from this time on reads like a romance. The natives at first were friendly, and rendered willing services in return for slight rations of grain and porridge. Later they became refractory, began to steal from the strangers, and then went on to personal attacks, often repeated, of murderous intent. Unexpected rains, in a country they had supposed rainless, damaged the stores. Their own weapons of defense recoiled upon them; for when they fired their pedrero (a swivel-gun) to repel a ferocious attack of the Indians, it burst and wounded several of the garrison. A great obstacle, too, lay in the missionaries' ignorance of the language of the natives, and the misleading teachings of it by the Californienses, through a mischievous enjoyment of the strangers' blunders. The crews of the supply ships took the pearl-fishing fever, which pursuit the Fathers deemed the most dangerous of all the evils menacing their work. Still they persisted, bravely combating every obstacle, and strong in their faith, stimulated by various notable coincidences that they regarded as miraculous intervention in answer to their prayers.
In March, 1699, encouraged by more favorable conditions, they set about extending their enterprise, and on November 1 of that year they founded San Xavier, second of the California missions.
The last year of the century, the third of this work, was full of trouble for the Jesuit fathers. The loss of a ship, the deaths of friends and supporters, laymen and priests, lack of resources, indifference in Mexico and Spain to the needs of the colony, and the opposition of the local military power, all led to great distress, material and spiritual, which was somewhat mitigated by the arrival, early in 1771, of Father Ugarte, a man of power in every sense. Strong, intellectual, magnetic, practical, a churchman militant, his presence ever inspired the devoted little band with fresh courage in periods of depression, even when, more than once, the padres and their companions were reduced to subsisting, like the savages, upon wild berries, roots, and pitahayas—the fruit of a species of cactus—and when attacks from the natives and insubordination among the soldiery were like to drive them desperate.
In 1705–'06 the missions San Juan Bautista and Santa Rosalia were founded, and in 1708 that of San Jose. The year 1709 was full of disaster, what with the loss of another ship, and the ravages of small-pox and other diseases. All this time Father Salvatierra, in his various offices, had never ceased to labor valiantly for these missions; but on July 17, 1717, that good, true, disinterested priest died in Guadalaxara.
In 1718 was founded the mission of La Purisima Concepcion, which later became one of the best on the peninsula. In 1719 was launched the first ship built on the shores of California. El Triunfo de la Cruz (The Triumph of the Cross) was constructed through the determination of Father Ugarte, bent on executing Salvatierra's fond plan of gulf exploration. Sailing in this vessel, in November, 1720, Ugarte and Bravo, being joined by a land party, founded the mission Nuestra Señora del Pilar de la Paz, on the spot still known as La Paz. In 1721 Father Helen founded the mission Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.
In May, 1721, Ugarte sailed in the Triunfo on a four months' exploring tour up the gulf; the journey was hard and perilous, but it supplied much geographical data, and proved conclusively that California was not an island, but a peninsula. From this on explorations were made as often as possible.
In 1721 was established mission Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, and in 1723 that of Santiago. In 1730 was founded near Cape San Lucas the mission San Jose del Cabo, and that same year witnessed the death of Father Ugarte, after thirty years' work in California. In 1733 was founded the mission Santa Rosa. This year, and again in 1734, there were outbreaks of the Indians, who murdered several of the friars. Troops were brought from the mainland to reduce the rebels of this province, now became a valuable possession, and thus the revolt led to the increase of the local presidial force.
Intermittent troubles with the natives, and promises, made only to be broken, of Government support to the missions, occupy the record up to 1746, after which there is a blank of twenty years.
By the year 1750 the missions of La Baja were producing grain, fruit, live-stock and other staples, almost sufficient for their own consumption, and were no longer in straits of necessity. The policy followed was also modified. Trade was measurably encouraged, and pearl-fishing was not discountenanced. All was not, however, plain sailing for the Fathers. Much discontent was expressed against them. They were accused of concealing, through self-interest, resources of great richness alleged to exist in the country, and that they engaged in smuggling was more than hinted. From 1751 to 1766 Fathers Consag and Link made some not very important explorations. It would seem, however, that their successors were wanting in the spirit of enterprise and disinterestedness that had marked the original founders of the missions.
The situation became most unpleasant; it was, no doubt, the strength of the opposition to them that led the Provincial of the Jesuits to offer formally to give up all the missions of the society, including those of California. There is also little doubt that the conditions on the peninsula had some influence in the expulsion, in 1767, of the Jesuits from all Spanish possessions.
In November of that year, Don Gaspar do Portola landed near San Jose, charged with the governorship of California and the expulsion of the missionaries. The fathers seem to have borne themselves through these trying circumstances with composure and dignity; and the scene at their departure was most affecting. Their disciples, ungrateful and savage as they had shown themselves in the past, were contrite and full of sorrow at this juncture; and they followed their pastors up to the last moment, with bitter lamentations. It is said that even the governor shed tears as the parting exiles started on their via dolorosa.
THE FRANCISCAN AND THE DOMINICAN OCCUPATION OF LOWER CALIFORNIA,
AND MEXICAN INDEPENDENT RULE.
After 1767 the Spanish Viceroy gave the administration of the government in La Baja to the commandante of the presidio troops, who acquired the title of governor. The capital was at Loreto, commonly called Presidio de Californias.
In June, 1767, when the Jesuits were expelled from Mexico, the charge of the California missions was offered to the Franciscan College of San Fernando, in the Mexican capital; and, the proffer being accepted, seven friars from the establishment set forth for the peninsula, to be joined by five from the Sierra Gordo missions. Their progress was delayed, first, by contrary seas and then by counter orders; at last they reached Loreto on April 1st, and, after receiving their instructions—which were not a little disappointing, as they were intrusted with only spiritual interests, and no temporal powers—they separated on the 8th, to distribute themselves among their respective missions. This loss of power so weakened the influence and abilities of the padres, that the system of missions bade fair to become extinct. Don Jose de Galvez, on his round as visitador, came invested with full discretionary powers in matters secular and ecclesiastical; and, seeing the evils of prevailing conditions, he demanded a rendering of accounts from the secular officials, restored much power to the fathers, reformed the faulty division of mission lands, organized colonization regulations, and instituted progressive movements in mining, agricultural and judicial matters. Here was a gentleman full of generous, philanthropic projects for the good of the settlers, yet loyal and careful of his sovereign's interests. Enthusiastic, too, was he for the northward extension of Spanish dominion; and he organized four expeditions, two by land, and two by water, to prosecute explorations in that direction. These started in the spring of 1769, and more will be said of them hereafter. With this expedition went Father Junipero Serra, his place as president in the peninsula being taken by Father Francisco Palou. Galvez now introduced many reforms in California, and projected many others, including the restoration of the population and prosperity of Loreto, agricultural and industrial training for the country's youth, and many other laudable features. Leaving instructions to these effects, he sailed for the mainland. May, 1769, marks the first visit, probably, of a scientific commission to California: a party, French and Spanish, under M. Chappe d'Auteroche, arrived at San Jose del Cabo, to observe the transit of Venus. Scarcely were their observations completed, when they were attacked by a malignant fever, from which perished several members, including the leader. This pestilence was succeeded by three others, which caused great ravages at all the missions, and badly demoralized the people.
For some years the peninsula was now a scene of constant contest between the friars and the secular rulers. Matias de Armona, who was in office hardly five months, seems to have found favor with the fathers, and to have merited their confidence. But the administrations of the others, particularly of Felipe Barri, would seem to have been a perpetual chain of petty intrigues, encroachments, jealousies, and harassing abuses of office. These conditions led to a petition from the Franciscans that their responsibility in the missions might be transferred to some other order. For some years there was much discussion of the question of ceding a part of the missions to the Dominicans, who, since 1768, had been endeavoring to extend their field to California. Prior to the fitting out by Galvez of expeditions to San Diego and Monterey, the Dominican father Juan Iriarte had sought license to establish missions between latitudes 25° and 28° on the west coast, but the application had been disallowed. Persisting, Iriarte the next year endeavored to obtain control of the northern districts of the peninsula, as well as some in the north of Sonora. Thus was the way paved for a cession of a part of the missions, and, in a conference between the Franciscan guardian, Rafael Verger, and the Dominlean vicar-general, Iriarte, it was settled that the Dominicans should have the entire peninsula, and its old missions, up to a point just below San Diego, with the right to extend their field eastward and northeastward beyond the gulf's head; while to the Franciscans should appertain the missions above San Diego and unlimited territory for the extension of their establishments north and northwestward.
The Franciscans received with delight the news of this decision, in August, 1772; a number of them departed in that same year for the northward. The rest were not to escape so easily from the persecutions of Barri the pugnacious. In an evil hour came the reply to Palon's letters of complaint to the viceroy; and the partial justification of the father mightily incensed the governor. He stirred up anger among the Indians against the Franciscans; he accused the priests of having plundered the missions--a charge refuted positively by the careful taking of accounts on which they insisted. Still, they were delayed by the same policy of accusation, and by injunctions against removing certain properties, church ornaments, etc., which they had been authorized to carry to the northern missions; and, although the vice-regal power was invoked, and its intervention secured, not until late in 1775 were the last of the Franciscans enabled to leave San Fernando Velicata, and the Dominicans remained in full possession of the peninsula.
By this time, the continual complaints against Barri had taken effect, and in 1774 he was succeeded by Felipe de Neve, the terms of the decree implying strong disapproval of Barri's course. Certain provisions were made to prevent, if possible, farther conflict between the ecclesiastics and the military, the duties of the respective branches being clearly defined so as not to encroach upon each other.
The garrison at Loreto was allowed thirty-seven soldiers, which implied a cost of $12,450 per year. Neve soon found this force insufficient. He also expressed dissatisfaction with the conditions of revenue, and the administration of the friars. In short, he favored secularization. In 1775 this governor was ordered to remove his residence to Monterey, which then became the capital of the two Californias.
The Dominicans, at first very zealous, became discouraged and indifferent, owing to the refractory character of the natives, and the obstacles opposed by their surroundings. Not only were the visits of supply vessels from Mexican ports few and far between, but the inhabitants were forbidden to mitigate their discomforts by trade with foreign vessels. These foreign ships soon resorted to independent hunting of the sea otter in Lower Californian waters. From this measure there shortly resulted a considerable contraband trade with the people, which certainly proved of great benefit to them.
The year 1804 witnessed the decree separating La Baja from Alta California, and thereafter the neglect of the peninsula grew much more marked. During the long strife for Mexican independence from 1810 to 1820, the very isolation which in some respects weighed so heavily upon the peninsula, served as a protection against the horrors of warfare, although hostile ships made at least one incursion, sacking the mission at San José del Cabo. Great things were hoped from the early progressive measures taken by Echeandia, appointed to the civil and military command of the two Californias, under the Mexican government, which administration went into power in 1821, its commissioners arriving in La Baja the next year; these expectations, however, proved delusive.
THE WAR OF 1846.
After the downfall of the federal system in Mexico, the peninsula was again placed in the same department as Alta California, and its inhabitants were invited to support the American cause in the war between the United States and Mexico, on the understanding that the former country would keep possession of this province, and protect its citizens. But not until after completing the conquest of the northern division did the American warships appear in those waters with intent to extend American dominion thither. This was in the autumn of 1846. Some effort was made at defense by the Bajeños, hut various ports surrendered. After the submission of La Paz on April 13, 1847, the country seemed peaceful enough, and the Americans left but a small force in charge. To remedy this oversight, the authorities in Alta California despatched two companies of the New York volunteers under Colonel Burton, who found open and declared resistance at San Antonio, Mulejé, Loreto, and elsewhere. Revolts at San Jose and Todos Santos, and the general tone of disaffection, led to the fortification and the placing under martial law, of La Paz. On November 16, 1847, a force of 600 or 700 Californians, under Captain Manuel Pineda, attacked this port, which they might have captured, had they exercised correct military tactics. A bitter contest was waged between the two forces until the 28th, and then, after a few days of inactivity, Pineda drew back toward San Jose, where also a small detachment of Americans was besieged by a vastly superior force of Californians. This siege was raised, only after considerable suffering, by the arrival and determined advance for rescue of the Cyane under Dupont. The volunteers continued to garrison the peninsula until it was restored to Mexico by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848. In those days, the Mexicans seemed more indifferent than now about the possession of the peninsula thus inconsistently given over by the United States, in violation of all promises made to its citizens.
WALKER IN LA BAJA.
William Walker, a Scotch-American, 29 years old, of strong personal characteristics and adventurous nature, after a varied career, conceived, about 1853, the idea of forming independent republics in certain districts of Mexico, the remoteness and sparse settlement of whose districts made the plan seem feasible. He was impelled, no doubt, largely by an emulative spirit of jealousy toward the dashing French Count, Raoul Raousset, whose operations in northwestern Mexico had a somewhat similar purpose.
This Walker, of unbounded and misdirected ambition, balked in his first tentative efforts to further aid project by deception and cajolery of the Mexican government, renewed the enterprise in San Francisco, where, cloaking his scheme under the guise of humanity and patriotism, he readily enlisted a little army of hardy and reckless men, mostly of the adventurer type. Escaping by a ruse from the attempted interference of Hitchcock, then military commander, on October 15, 1853, Walker, on board the Caroline, with a large number of armed men, and a nepotic staff of secretaries, etc., for a cabinet, sailed from San Francisco, and on November 3 landed at La Paz, where he captured the chief government representatives, seized upon the archives, and, after several skirmishes of little importance, hauled down the Mexican flag and substituted his own, declaring La Baja a new republic, proclaiming himself president, and appointing his staff officers to their respective positions. On January 18, 1854, this organization was remodeled, Lower California and Sonora being declared one government, and called the Republic of Sonora. Walker shortly rejoined his confederate, Watkins, who had clandestinely left San Francisco with some 100 more armed men, and he now issued his orders and decrees broadcast, written in true filibustering style, and dated now from Santo Tomas, now Tia Juana, La Gorulla, La Ensenada, or San Vicente. He met, however, considerable opposition from the Lower Californians; and the Commandant Melendez with his soldiers particularly hard-pressed the audacious invader on his return to Santo Tomas, after heading an expedition to the Colorado to capture Sonora. This expedition resulted very disastrously to the command, and so to Walker's prospects. He therefore made haste to "evacuate Lower California," and to retire across the border, where Major McKinstry and Captain Burton, United States military officers stationed at San Diego, received his surrender and parole, on May 6, 1854. The invasion was ended by the dispersion of the band at San Diego. Walker reported for trial to General Wool at San Francisco, but the arraignment of himself and his officers came to naught, as nothing was proved against them. Walker devoted himself to journalism until the Nicaragua scheme, a year or two later.
AMERICAN IMMIGRATION. ANNALS FROM 1854 TO 1889,
AND ATTEMPTED AMERICAN COLONIZATION.
Many of the soldiers who shared in the invasion of 1847–'48, retained such agreeable impressions of the peninsula that they afterward returned thither to settle as farmers, miners, or traders. There was, moreover, a profound conviction that La Baja must speedily belong to the United States, and here, as ever, speculation was eager to share in the prize. Upon those parties seeking to obtain land grants, the government imposed the condition of founding colonies, realizing that upon foreign immigration mainly must depend the development of the country's natural resources. On the other hand, the inhabitants looked not kindly upon foreigners, nor did the authorities, having jealous suspicions that the United States had designs as to the acquisition of the territory.
In 1855 the Dominicans abandoned the secularized missions. In 1862 began the war of French intervention, and, while there was some slight local agitation, the remoteness of La Baja once more shielded the country from the customary devastations of war time.
With the entry of troops from the mainland peace was secured, industries revived, agriculture flourished, mines were opened, steamers were induced to touch monthly at La Paz and San José del Cabo, and there were two very prosperous years. The winter of 1863–'64 brought a drouth so severe as to cause great destruction of crops and live-stock. At the same time, the mining industry also declined, owing to the usual feature, lack of capital for sustained effort, most of the miners who had rushed to the fields having been actuated by the intent to speculate, rather than to develop their claims.
Since 1863 a regular monthly line of steamers has plied between San Francisco and the Mexican Pacific ports as far as San Blas, touching at La Paz and San José del Cabo, and thus bringing Lower California into communication with the outside world.
In 1864 an important grant was made to the Lower California Colonization and Mining Company, the concession embracing the immense tract lying between 24° 20' and 31°, nearly 47,000 square miles. The conditions were that one-fourth of the land should be reserved for Mexicans; that at least 200 families should be introduced within five years, and that $100,000 should be paid to the Juarist government for the land to be occupied. It appeared difficult to fulfill the contract from California, and it was transferred, in 1866, to Eastern capitalists. Their experts reported unfavorably as to soil and water, but the shareholders, securing an extension of time, set about recouping their investment. An advance party was sent to clear land, build roads and sink wells, and 300 people were sent out from New York under contract to colonize, and to gather the parasite orchilla. The artesian wells proved a failure; there was insufficient food, poor water, and little or no shelter; the heat was torrid, and the surroundings desert-like and forbidding. All these elements of misery struck terror to the hearts of the Magdalena Bay colonists, and most of them abandoned the field, and made their way as best they could to California, while others struggled across the country to La Paz. The government annulled the grant, and the over-zealous officials of La Paz made a too hasty descent upon the company's agent, dispossessing him and the remaining handful of the colonists. The disappointed company was only too ready to enter upon this pretext a $10,000,000 claim against Mexico, whose government compromised by conceding the privilege of gathering orchilla free for six years.
In the twenty years since then there have been organized several colonization enterprises, of which the principal were as follows: The Peninsula Plantation and Homestead Association, which obtained a large, fertile tract along the Mulejé Bay, offering to actual settlers 30,000 shares at $16, in 1870; the Gulf of California Commercial Company, a second Mulejé colony association, formed at San Francisco in 1871; the Colorado Hemp Company, which in 1874 sent down a party to cultivate hemp with the aid of the Indians; the Guaymas and Mulejé Trust Company, formed at San Francisco in 1880, to plant sugar-cane, for which 36,000 hectares were granted to Keely & Co. These and a number of minor projects' bring the record down to the period since Mexico's colonization act of December 15; 1883, which invites citizens of friendly nations to settle in Mexico and share in the advantages of its rich resources. The Government has also offered to colonizing companies certain subsidies, mostly taking the form of large land grants, accompanied with exemptions, to induce the immigration of a desirable class of foreigners. The law in question also provides liberally for the partition and distribution of the public lands.
In view of these favorable conditions, the International Company of Mexico has acquired a complete and perfect title to 18,000,000 acres of land in Lower California, all of which has been duly surveyed by the company, for which service it obtained without further cost one-third of the tract, the remaining two-thirds having been acquired by purchase. The International Company's territory begins at the national boundary, fifteen miles south of San Diego, and extends southward for 300 miles, covering the entire region between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California. The average breadth of the district is 100 miles.
These lands were acquired as follows: Three contracts with the Mexican government, in the form of concessions, were, with the consent and approval of said government, transferred to the International Company by the respective concessionaires, T. Garcia, A. Riffle, Louis Huller, et al. By these transfers the immense domains of these parties in Lower California were acquired by the corporation, duly incorporated under the laws of Connecticut, April 3, 1883, with the name of "The International Company of Mexico," and with a capital of $500,000 actually paid in. To this company the Mexican government, on July 21, 1884, made a concession bestowing ample powers, under which the company is now acting. Under the terms of the contract the company is bound to settle a given number of colonies within a determined period, and seventy per cent of the settlers may be foreigners. The Mexican government is under no obligation to forward the enterprise by subsidies or privileges other than those already cited. Money expenditures must be met by the company or by the settlers. The company has been offering its lands to the public, either for cash or on time. The town of Ensenada is to be the base of operations, and the headquarters of the peninsular railways and of the steamship lines. One railway is projected from San Diego to Ensenada and San Quintin, and another to San Jose de Guatemala. A telegraph line has been built between San Diego and Eusenada, in which city extensive irrigation works have been begun, a fine hotel built, and other preparations made for the expected large immigration.
Owing to some errors of administration, the company was for a time placed in a false position, involving temporary difficulties. There has been made recently a change of management, by which the affairs of the company rest in the hands of experienced parties, backed by ample capital, who are rapidly adjusting their concerns upon a safe and satisfactory plan. The company's resident manager or agent is Captain B. Scott (of the Royal Engineers), Ensenada, Lower California.
There are in La Baja various Americans outside of those introduced by the companies, who have acquired individual possessions of land, which they find worthy of enthusiastic praise, and of whose future profits they have great expectations.
There is, moreover, another colonization project in contemplation, the colony to be established on land controlled by General Eli H. Murray, ex-Governor of Utah. This land, which is known as Palm valley, lies near the northern frontier line, inland, but a few miles from San Diego County.
TOPOGRAPHY, CLIMATE, AND RESOURCES OF LA BAJA.
The southern extremity of La Baja, Cape San Lucas, is in a little below 23° north latitude. The ocean coast thence has a general northwest direction for some 700 miles to a parallel one marine league from the southernmost point of San Diego Bay, where, near Tia Juana, a marble monument was erected in 1850 by the boundary commissioners, to identify the line defined by the treaty of 1848 with Mexico. This monument is situated in a fraction over 32° 31' north latitude, and 117° 06' west of Greenwich. The gulf shore of the peninsula ends at least 100 miles farther south. The section of the peninsula on the seacoast for some fifty nautical leagues below the boundary, is one of the finest districts in the world for healthfulness, fertility, and delightful uniformity of climate.
From the earliest settlement of the first mission near the Pacific coast in Lower California, that portion of the coast has been noted for its healthfulness and its equability of climate. No other climate of the world, it is said, is more beneficial than that of the region lying from ten to thirty miles from the Pacific coast of this peninsula, in bronchial and throat affections, or catarrhal or pulmonary disease. Nearer the ocean there is dampness, and occasional fogs, hurtful to such cases. The climate of La Baja is modified by its distance from, or its nearness to the Pacific ocean or the Gulf of California, by its altitude above the sea-level, and by its range of hills or mountains. In the ocean strip, reaching some twenty miles back from the shore, and ranging from San Diego southward, the mercury seldom falls below 40°, or rises above 80°, and the same weight of garments may be worn with comfort the year round. A second strip, embracing the same range, extending from twenty to forty miles back from the coast, varies from 30° in winter to 90° in summer, although it feels but little frost or excess of heat, except where modified by the altitude. A third strip, joining this upon the east, and a little wider than the other two, has thunder-storms in summer, and ice and snow in winter. This third strip is a mountain belt where grow many kinds of trees, and which has an abundance of water, supplied by nature, suitable for storage and distribution to the lower-coast zones. A fourth strip, between the last mentioned and the gulf coast, is warm in winter and hot in summer, being not unlike southern Arizona. This section is as yet but little known. At present the two most western strips are most sought; but hereafter the interior regions will be sought for wood and timber, and for subterranean mineral riches.
American surveyors estimate—as no accurate survey has been made—that the peninsula contains 200,000 square miles, or 128,000,000 acres of land. The State of California contains something approximate to a territorial extent of 158,687 square miles, or 101,559,680 acres. Oregon covers above 95,248 square miles; Arizona, 126,147 square miles; from comparison with these may be judged the area of Lower California.
The peninsula of Lower California may be divided geologically into three fairly well marked districts. The first includes the high mountainous portions between La Paz and Cape San Lucas; the second extends to between San Ignacio and Santa Gertrudes; the third includes all that part lying north of Santa Gertrudes. The lower portion is almost totally mountainous, the spurs and chains varying much in height, and being interspersed with countless beautiful and fertile valleys, well watered. Even those high up in the mountains are well grassed, and surrounded by fine oak and pine timber. The geology here is simple. The high ridges are granitic, the rocks varying in structure from true granite to true syenite through all intermediate gradations. Gold, silver, and copper have long been known to exist in this district.
The peninsula is said to excel even the State of California in the extent of its fossil remains, including shells, fish, and mammals. Above Mulejé, argentiferous galenas are common, and near the volcanic vicinities, close to the same old mission, pure sulphur occurs in heavy deposits. Copper ores abound in various districts, and various copper mines have been worked for many years.
It is said that quicksilver ores exist near Santa Catalina Mission. The ocean coast salinas from San Quintin to Magdalena are numerous and plentiful, and the salt is easily gathered. The salt-mines of Carmen island are said to be extensive enough to supply the whole world. Much has been exported, and it is found to be dry, pure, and of prime quality. Before 1750 the King of Spain had declined the offer of the Jesuits to take upon themselves the entire support of the California missions, in exchange for the grant of this salt mine. It has in turn afforded considerable revenue to the Mexican government.
An excellent grade of marble has been found near La Paz and Loreto, also gypsum, or sulphate of lime, in large slabs, transparent enough to serve as window-lights. Deposits of tequisquite (impure carbonate of soda) exist in various parts. Fine varieties of building-stone are abundant and accessible.
The existence of gold in the northeastern part of La Baja has long been known. Old maps show the general location of gold-bearing districts in that territory lying in a direct line between San Diego and the mouth of the Colorado river, and due east of the Ensenada.
In 1870 gold placers were discovered in the San Rafael valley, resulting in an excitement which attracted many immigrants to La Baja, and caused a regular stage-line to be run thither from San Diego. It brought corresponding disadvantages in the way of incentives to depredations by Indians and bandits.
In " Peninsular California," Mr. Charles Nordhoff wrote as follows: " There are at several points on the peninsula considerable placer and quartz deposits promising well, and there have been lately discoveries of copper deposits in the northern part, believed to be as rich as those on the gulf coast. The color of gold can be got in almost every gulch and ravine on the peninsula; and when the mineral resources are better known, it will probably be found that the peninsula is but an extension of the great Northern California gold-field."
Thus the history of the past, and the forecast of the future, made by experienced intelligence, had paved the way for an enthusiastic, not to say friendly, eager reception of the announcement made in the San Diego Sun of February 28, 1890, of the discovery of marvelously rich gold fields in the Santa Clara district, some sixty miles from La Ensenada de Todos Santos. The first gold exhibited as found there was a ten-ounce nugget, which was picked up by a Mexican boy named Malendrez, searching for strayed cattle. No sooner was the news given to the outside world than it spread, or fairly leaped, like an electric thrill, all over the country. From every quarter, and from great distances, came throngs stricken with mining-fever. Those San Diego houses which dealt in articles suitable for mining and camp life, and provisions, soon found depleted their stocks of those wares.
The custom-house at Tia Juana assumed an importance never enjoyed before in all its existence, and that at Ensenada also felt strongly the impulse of the enormous immigration. Men in all walks in life left their various avocations to rush to the mines, and the district was shortly crowded with merchants, miners, ranchers, professional men and loafers, all eager to wrest a sudden fortune from the placers. The natural and inevitable results speedily ensued. The journey and sojourn were full of great discomforts; the territory was limited; supplies were very dear, and scarce at any price; very many people had started for the mines with very little money, to arrive penniless, trusting to the resources of the spot to rehabilitate their purses. Then to crown all, the placers became exhausted. All these difficulties and drawbacks did not fail to produce a tremendous outcry of wrath and disappointment and the malcontents inveighed bitterly against the discoveries as fraudulent or mythical—which they were not. Meanwhile, rich ledges of gold-quartz had been discovered, and men of means who had gone thither to investigate the placers found other sources of mining richness less immediate of result, but more stable. Thus money was invested, mills and other improvements of advanced mining methods constructed, and there has sprung up in the mining district a flourishing little town,—Alamo,---while work is steadily advancing and the mining industry seems to be here firmly established upon a solid basis. These mines are situated in the Santa Clara range of mountains, seventy miles northeast of Ensenada, and 150 miles southeast of San Diego. The mineral belt, as far as developed, extends from two miles south of Camp Alamo, near the base of Tomasa mountain, ten miles northwesterly by some two miles wide, several hundred quartz locations having been made therein. The general character of the country is mesa land, over which wagons can be driven almost at discretion, the surface covered with sage brush, cedar, and juniper, with some manzanita and scrub-oak.
The country rock is generally granite and porphyry. Large porphyry dikes stand out boldly, being traceable for miles from north to south. The quartz veins, also traceable for long distances, run parallel to the dikes, their strikes being northwest and southeast, and the dip being an average of seventy-five degrees to the south. The average width is three to five feet, with a maximum of seven feet. The veins are sometimes encased wholly, in granite on one side and porphyry on the other, being well defined. The quartz is that known as "sugar quartz," from its resemblance to loaf sugar, and easily crushable " ribbon rock," mostly free from base metals. The gold is generally distributed in fine particles, much of the richest ore showing no gold visible to the naked eye. Several locations frequently are made on the same vein, and on all such pay rock has been discovered. This is important, as showing the veins are continuous for a long distance, with pay rock their entire length, which conditions are unusual in other mineral-bearing regions. The greatest depth as yet reached is forty-five feet with short drifts toward either side to determine the direction and the dip. At that depth, most of the veins show increased strength, in some cases widening to eight and nine feet, and becoming more vertical, with perfect walls; the enclosing rock indicates increased width of veins at lower depth. In the majority of cases more or less water is found at from fifteen to forty feet deep, which usually indicates deep fissures, or continuous veins to great depths. For most of the mines pumping machinery will be required before any great depth can be reached.
The country surrounding the mines is better watered than most other portions of the peninsula, the water being pure and cool. Among the most important mines are the Elsinore, Asbestos, El Paso, Ulises, Centipede, Telemaco, Grandota, Grande, Encantada, Rattlesnake, St. David, Montezuma, Princesa, Cocinero, Aurora, Scorpion, Arabella, Lavina, Sunrise, and Rainbow. Some of the most important mining companies are the International, the El Paso, the Independencia, and the Alamo.
On the eastern side of the peninsula are copper mines so promising that the Rothschilds have purchased them at high figures; and there is recently reported the discovery of a new and valuable mine of this metal at San Fernando, on the west side of the mountain range. The silver mines near San Antonio were worked in 1784, and by simple processes of working metal was obtained that amounted to almost $1,000,000. Between 1861 and 1864 some twenty companies were incorporated in San Francisco to work the silver and copper mines, especially those at Triunfo and San Antonio Real, near La Paz. Much money was spent and in three or four instances with successful progress.
There are said to be guano deposits of a quantity and quality profitable to work on various of the rocky headlands and islets of the upper gulf sections, and companies have at different times been formed for their working.
It is said that here exist two distinct species of pearl oysters, with a possible third. They are found between the Magdalena, southward to and around the cape, and northward to above the Guardian Angel island, covering over 1,000 miles of shore line. Ordinary pearls abound every year, but very rare are those extraordinary in size and color. A first class pearl from these fisheries brings $5,000 to $6,000, or even a higher figure. The most splendid pearls in the Spanish regalia were taken from the gulf of California before Napoleon's invasion, and they had been in great demand in Spain. Since the days of Cortez California pearls of good quality have been in demand in Mexico and Peru at profitable prices for the last 300 years. Between 1700 and 1710 the king's share of all the pearls taken in California amounted to $12,000 annually. In 1857 there was obtained $22,000 in pearls and $30,000 in pearl shells. The largest pearl taken from the district was one discovered at La Paz in 1882, which weighed seventy-five carats. A pear-shaped pearl found several years since in the crust of a pearl-shell oyster brought $150.
There is said to be an abundance of coral in Magdalena Bay and the gulf waters.
In 1860–'62 Professor John Xantus, collecting for the Smithsonian Institute, in the lower portion alone of the peninsula, leaving unworked two-thirds of its territory, gathered over 100,000 specimens of animals, plants and minerals, of which 30,000 were fish, shells, sponges, etc., and over one-half of his species were new to science.
The true tortoise-shell turtle abounds on both coasts, as well as all the known species of edible turtles.
The indigenous quadrupeds, insects, birds and reptiles of lower California are almost identical with those of Arizona, and that portion of California lying south of Point Concepcion. Nearly every species and variety of edible fish found on the coasts of Europe, the West Indies, Chili or Atlantic North America, are found in lower California in abundance.
La Baja is by no means deficient in the elements needful for agricultural greatness. The average yearly rainfall over the northern section for the past ten years has been 22.69 inches. .
Valleys of frequent occurrence in the northern half of lower California are deep, and also by the configuration of the mountains they are assured a large amount of moisture. Springs are by no means rare. The soil in the valleys is reported as extremely fertile, and as admirably adapted to fruits of all kinds, notably the grape. In the valleys near Ensenada, grapes of all kinds are raised without irrigation. On the mesas more or less irrigation is requisite, except for citrus fruits. Among the possible products are corn, wheat, barley and all the other cereals, sugar-cane, tobacco, cotton, apples, pears, grapes, apricots, peaches, oranges, lemons, figs, pomegranates, limes, bananas and pineapples, besides other varieties of fruits, citrus and deciduous, tropical and semi-tropical. The aim of the concessionaires and of the colonists alike, seems to he to repeat here the history of Alta California, in making agricultural, rather than mining pursuits, the chief industry of La Baja California. Careful surveys have been made to determine the feasibility of bringing water from the canons, and for the sinking of artesian wells, to secure for agricultural purposes an ample supply of water. As an illustration of the resources of this section in the respect of farming, it may be well to cite at least one instance. A certain New Hampshire man who had come to California nearly thirty years since, going to Ensenada in 1887, has become possessed of a ranch or farm, whose orange trees planted from the seed nine years since are in good bearing. So, also, bearing good fruit, are his bananas, eight years old. Some of the stalks of these trees have reached a diameter of ten inches. One olive tree, nine years old, yielded sixteen gallons of oil, which sold for an average price of seventy-five cents per gallon. A single grape vine, nine years old, produced last season 900 pounds of grapes. During no season within the past twelve years has there failed to be an abundant grape crop. The lemons, peaches and apricots on this possession yield well, and the fig trees produce a great weight of fruit.
All the republic of Mexico offers a great market for the products of all manufacturing industries established by American or European enterprise, as the native industrial manufactures are very crude and limited as well, and very heavy duties are imposed on imports from the United States and other countries. The peninsula might readily become a great manufacturing district and source of supply for the whole of Mexico, being, as it is, very accessible both by sea and by rail, and becoming populated by an influx of people more inclined to industrial ventures than are those entering the more southern States of the Republic. Late reports announce the discovery of coal in paying quantities, and the development of this most important mineral element would be a potent factor in promoting the establishment of manufacturing institutions. Coal in small veins has long been known in lower California, both on the coast and in the desert district. A good coal mine would prove of more actual practical worth than a rich gold mine.
Mineral springs, both warm and cold, of properties highly medicinal, are found in nearly every district. On the gulf shore above San Felipe de Jesus harbor are several boiling-hot springs
As far back as 1857 La Baja exported, according to Mexican official statistics, wine, salt, cheese, sugar, dried meats, figs, raisins, dates, oranges, salt fish, Brazil-wood, hides, gold, silver and copper ores, gold and silver in mark and ounces, pearls, mother-of-pearl, etc., amounting in all to $155,000. The item of animal oils to be derived from seal, sea-lion, sea-elephant, whale, etc., is one of importance, as also that of peltries.
The parasite plant, orchilla, used for dyeing purposes, was first discovered on this peninsula, by a Nantucket sailor. For seventy-five years this industry has been increasing and it is now conducted on a very extensive scale. The most important field of gathering this valuable plant is around Magdalena Bay, on the west coast. It is marketed chiefly in Europe.
There are, in various portions of the peninsula, good timber regions, producing limited quantities of red cedar, choice white oak, and black, sugar and yellow (also known as "bull") pine. It is estimated that in the Tableta section alone there is at least 400,000,000 feet of lumber and timber, and active preparations are in hand for the exploiting of this interest.
La Paz has one of the finest and safest harbors in the two Californias. This bay has been known for 350 years to navigation and history, and has been all the while celebrated for its rich pearl fisheries, from which have come some of the rarest gems in royal regalia. La Paz has been since 1830 the capital of Lower California, and the center of all local government operations. The Ensenada, or Bay, of Todos Santos, is a fine harbor for vessels under 400 tons.
Directly ahead, as the vessel enters the Bay of All Saints, lies the town of Ensenada, where the rocky shore meets the beach curving in crescent shape around a reach of seventy-eight miles, the land sloping upward to the mountains, ten miles distant.
The personnel of the Mexican official corps of Lower California is pleasing. These are mostly men of enlightened and progressive ideas, entirely in touch with the policy of developing Mexico's great resources through the instrumentality of foreign capital and foreign immigration. It is not probable that they, any more than the mass of educated Mexican citizens, would consent to the scheme of annexation; but they thoroughly concur in the idea of mutual assistance and support between the United States and Mexico.
GENERAL HENRY S. BURTON,
deceased, once a distinguished military man on this coast, was born at West Point, May 9, 1819, when his father, Major Oliver Burton, was stationed at that post. He received his appointment as a cadet before he was quite sixteen years old; would have entered the military academy in January, 1835, but he lacked three months of being sixteen years of age, so that he was obliged to wait until the July term. He graduated high in a class of very able cadets, and had the opportunity offered him of going into the engineer corps, but he preferred to serve in " the line," and chose the artillery. On his graduation he was immediately promoted to the Second Lieutenancy in the third regiment of artillery, and five months afterward, November 11, 1839, he was promoted to the First Lieutenancy of the same. He served in the Florida war, 1840-'42; was stationed at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, until 1843, and then appointed instructor of artillery at West Point. In that capacity he served until 1846, when the war with Mexico was declared, for service in which he was commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel of the First Regiment of New York Volunteers; but his command of that regiment was equally divided with Colonel Stevens. Sailing from New York harbor they arrived at Monterey, in February, 1847. Colonel Burton was placed in command of Santa Barbara, while Colonel Stevens remained at Monterey. In a few months, more troops having arrived in Upper California, Burton was sent to take Lower California.
On his disembarking at La Paz, he was sneered at by the natives for undertaking so great a task with so few men. He laughingly replied that he would try; but if they would not let him he could not blame them, as they had the right to resist him. He and his men, while holding the post at that point, were friendly to the citizens, and they were friendly in return. After waiting in vain for the arrival of arms from Sinaloa or Sonora, the Mexicans concluded to make an effort to drive out the Americans, without arms. Collecting together all sorts of antiquated and useless material in the shape of guns and other weapons and military accoutrements, they "fell upon" La Paz. A tremendous fusilade awoke the inhabitants from their peaceful slumbers at midnight; the querulous hectic bark of their lame little cannon was heard three times above the rattle of the musketry, but his own efforts threw him hors de combat, for he had shaken off his broken wheel and he lay there a disabled warrior with one leg off! In ignominous helplessness he was hitched to a mule and carried away in haste before Barton's " gringos" might take a notion to come out and carry it off, just for the fun of it. But the "gringos" never moved, and as they kept well hidden behind their parapet, the Mexicans took courage to approach nearer, hiding behind the houses in the vicinity of the fortification. The night was so dark that neither the attacking party nor the besieged could see each other ten paces distant. After a time the Mexicans bethought themselves that they were wasting their precious ammunition upon empty air, as the Americans' fort remained silent; and daylight revealed to them the folly of their making an attack with so few weapons as they had. Retiring to the opposite mesa, they continued to annoy the Americans, as much as they could, with their defective arms, from day to day, obtaining provisions and supplies from some obscure quarter.
Thus they continued their ineffectual hostilities until one bright morning the United States flag-ship Ohio, with Admiral Shubrick on board, and the war frigate Dale, sailed into the bay of La Paz, which enabled Colonel Burton to sally out and rout the Mexicans at Todos Santos. Had the Mexicans known how few Americans there were in the fort previous to this time, they could easily have made mince-meat of them.
Shubrick published a proclamation to the people of Lower California in the name of the United States Government, informing them that they should disperse and not bear arms against the Americans, else they would be severely punished at the conclusion of the war which was nearly over. He also promised protection to the lives and property of the people in that proclamation, and followed it with balls and receptions and other signs of a "good time coming." The leading Mexicans were even glad of the change, as they really had been suffering a sort of slavery to the old government; but, poor Mexicans! their happy dream was of short duration, for the news was directly received that a treaty of peace was proposed, ceding Upper California to the United States, but not Lower California! They were nervously anxious that Colonel Burton should, with the aid of his Government, see that Shubrick's promises of taking Lower California under the protecting care of the United States, were made good, for they had been openly advocating annexation to our Government, and now their very lives were in peril; but Colonel Burton informed them, and truly, that it was too late, as the final treaty of peace would be signed before he could communicate with the powers at Washington.
The Colonel's good nature was intensely affected, and he proposed, as the best alternative, to provide free transportation to all the Mexicans of Lower California to Upper California, and besides to pay them a certain compensation for the property which they might be obliged to abandon. This, of course, was accepted, although a poor substitute for the brilliant promises of Admiral Shubrick's proclamation. The war transport Lexington came to take the self-exiled Californians who wished to flee from the wrath to come, and with heavy hearts they sailed from La Paz for Monterey, arriving October 4, 1848. Colonel Burton followed in the flag-ship Ohio, and the frigate Dale brought part of the troops. On arriving at Monterey, the Colonel with his regiment was mustered out of the volunteer service, and he took command of the post at Monterey as an officer in the regular army. He remained there until the winter of 1852, when he was transferred to the post at San Diego, with headquarters at the Mission ; and while here he commanded the Mojave expedition of 1857. Soon afterward he was changed to Fort Yuma, and in 1859 ordered East, having been on the Pacific coast over twelve years.
While stationed at Monterey, Colonel Burton was married to Miss Ruiz, a young lady whose acquaintance he made at La Paz, and who is now the widow, residing at San Diego. She is a granddaughter of Don José Manuel Ruiz, who was the military governor of Lower California for more than fifty years. He was ordered by the Colonial Government of Spain to take command of the forces sent to the frontier to assist in founding missions in Lower California. He came from Loreto to the head of the gulf in 1780, with a large force, and landed on the Sonora side of the Colorado river, thus having to cross the river under a shower of arrows from the Indians. He founded several missions on the frontier of the peninsula and kept the wild Indians in wholesome awe of him and his well-disciplined soldiers. Entering the army at the early age of fourteen years, and continuing in active service until he was past seventy-five years of age, his services to his country were more extended than those of any other military man in Mexican history. His government granted him several tracts of land, among which was the Ensenada de Todos Santos, on the north of the peninsula, and this is now the property of Mrs. Burton. It has been rendered famous by its having been occupied by the International Company for the purpose of colonizing the peninsula; but as the company took possession without authority from her, she was obliged to publish a warning that no one should buy her lands from the company. This has put an end to the operations of such company, and they have sold out their interest to an English syndicate. Now all the investors who bought land from that company are patiently waiting for the syndicate to settle with Mrs. Burton the question of title and go on with the colonization.
Colonel Burton was stationed at Fortress Monroe for a few months in 1859, after his return East. Soon afterward the civil war broke out, and General Scott selected him as one of the most trustworthy officers of the army, and he was placed in command of Alcatraz Island, in San Francisco harbor, for two years; and in 1862 he returned East again and took command of Fort Delaware, which was filled with prisoners. Thence he was ordered on detail service to erect fortifications around Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, from September, 1863, to January, 1864. Next he had command of an artillery reserve in the Richmond campaign of the Army of the Potomac; then of the artillery of the Eighteenth Corps until 1865, being engaged in the battles of Cold Harbor, Spottsylvania Courthouse, and at the bombardment of Petersburg, for which service he was breveted Brigadier General in March, 1865. While erecting the works around Petersburg he contracted malarial fever, which resulted fatally, April 4, 1869,when he was but forty-nine years and ten months of age; he was buried at West Point.
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler.