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California missions


Volume III, Section I of Engelhardt's series on California missions covers largely the period of 1812 through 1830 addressing the challenges and difficulties facing the missionaries including the scarcity of resources and labor. He described the invasion of Monterey and other ports in Upper California by Hipólte Bouchard in 1818. Section II covers the period of 1830 through 1836 and the secularization of the missions by the Mexican government during which time the missionaries held their posts until either death or the government relieved them of the responsibility of protecting the neophytes against "white rapacity" and the destruction of the missionary establishments. Engelhardt noted that to secularize an Indian mission, as decreed and practiced under Spanish rule, meant that all the property, save the church building, the priest's habitation, the garden, and the vineyard, should be turned over to the neophytes to be managed in common by officials chosen from among the same neophytes. According to the author, the Californians' greed and disregard for religion were the real motivation behind secularization. Engelhardt discussed in detail Eceandia's Decree of Mission Confiscation issued in 1831, the adverse impact of the Californians on the missions, missionaries and neophytes and efforts to emancipate the Indians. According to Engelhardt, "[t]he mission despoilers and their abettors chose to call it 'secularizaton,' but it was nothing less than brutal confiscation which resulted in the annihilation or dispersion of the Indian converts."


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1913 - The Missions and Missionaries of California, Vol. III, Upper California, Part II, General History, Zephyrin Engelhardt