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William Hepworth Dixon, White Conquest: Volume 1, Chapter 1: San Carlos. (search)
ndreds of natives lived within this fence, yet nothing but these heaps of dust and earth remain. Adobe walls soon melt away. The summer sun is frying them to dust; the winter rain is washing them to earth. Each zephyr steals some grains of loam and drops them over wood and field. Ere long, lovers of the past will seek for them in vain. The stone pile may stand a few years longer than the earthen fence. San Carlos is a church of poor materials, put together in the crude though showy Mexican style. No beauty feeds the eye. No magic clothes a gateway; no enchantment lurks in shaft and skyline; yet a sacred edifice is always solemn, and a broken arch affects our feelings like the epitaph on a friend. The pathos of San Carlos lies in the fact of its being the ruin of an Indian's church. No door impedes our entrance to the nave, no rail prevents our passage to the altar-steps. A portion of the roof still rests on solid beams; the rest has fallen in, and helped to choke up nav
William Hepworth Dixon, White Conquest: Volume 1, Chapter 3: strangers in the land. (search)
Tularenos ever gave away his squaw for love. He sold her as he sold a buffalo hide or catamount skin. Fray Junipero tried to stop this sale of girls, but his successors winked at customs which they had no means of putting down. Castro and Alvaredo hoped to crush this traffic, but their secular energies were worsted in the vain attempt. Neither Liberal Mexico nor Independent California was equal to the task of wrestling with this evil. Indians sold their children to Spanish dons and Mexican caballeros, just as Georgians and Circassians sold their girls to Greek skippers and Turkish pashas. Even under the Stars and Stripes, and in a region governed by American law, the trade goes on; less openly and briskly than in olden times; but still the Red man's daughters are bought and sold, even in the neighbourhood of American courts. It is a custom of the country, which, like other maladies, attacks the stranger when he lands. You catch a local custom very much as you catch a loc
William Hepworth Dixon, White Conquest: Volume 1, Chapter 4: a lost Capital. (search)
Santa Cruz, but on this stretch of amber sands the waters lap and lie, gently as the fancies float about the eyelids of a sleeping child. Like waiting in a Syrian road, is waiting at a Mexican port. Who cares for time? Beyond the rickety old Mexican pier, a tiny creek winds in between two grassy banks, with uplands clothed in oak and cypress. In the hollow you can see a wooden cross: June 3, 1770. That cross is Fray Junipero's cross; that ancient oak beside it, is the tree under whican Francisco as an upstart city, built by nobody, not even by a viceroy, and peopled by the scum of New York, Sydney, and Hong-Kong. At Monterey they have a line of governors, and a second line of bishops, with the ruins of a castle and a gaudy Mexican church, as visible evidence of their temporal and spiritual sway. At Monterey, too, a gentleman has rights; not only those of a Spanish knight, but those of an Indian chief. He may be sharp of tongue and light of love. Nobody thinks of counti
William Hepworth Dixon, White Conquest: Volume 1, Chapter 5: Don Mariano. (search)
nia. In one sense he is right. Don Mariano's story is that of nearly every Mexican of rank. In olden times (now thirty years ago!) he was the largest holder of en the bishop of Monterey denounced the new republic, Mariano, Catholic first, Mexican afterwards, followed his pastor into civil war. Captured by the enemy, who puthe has been swimming up a stream, in which the floods are high and swift. No Mexican of note, he says to me in one of our drives, has been able to keep his lands. e in their solid prosperity at the empty show and pretentious poverty of their Mexican ancestors. You will attend our ball to-night? asks Don Mariano. Ball!or four doses of their fire-water serve to wake the demons that sleep in every Mexican eye. Each don and caballero wears a poignard in his vest. Good Catholics, , true caballero second, ell Don Mariano? Yes, senor; a mixed blood may be Mexican first, Catholic afterwards; a Spanish gentleman will always put his religion f
William Hepworth Dixon, White Conquest: Volume 1, Chapter 6: White conquerors. (search)
hs, they drive their herds afield, not caring on whose land they stray, if grass and water suit them. Throwing up a fence and cabin, they challenge any one who chooses to dispute their claim. The owner has a choice of evils. He may try to drive them oft by either force or law. If force is used, blood will be shed ; his blood or that of others ; and the native, though alert and reckless, has a wholesome dread of English guns. If he appeals to law, his title must be proved, and hardly any Mexican deed will bear the scrutiny of an American judge. The owner yields, and his submission to one act of violence brings a swarm of squatters on his land. In one of the big ranches lives a young Scotch settler, the story of whose life, as told me by himself, might stand for that of many a neighbour. I was rather wild, he says, in my young days, and my father, a Scotch minister, with a large family and a small stipend, was bothered what to do with me. I liked to tear about on ponies, and
William Hepworth Dixon, White Conquest: Volume 1, Chapter 7: Hybrids. (search)
kening superstitions cloud such brains as they possess. Aware that they are neither red nor white, and have no place among the Indian tribes, they loath their mother's kitll as fiercely as they hate their father's kin. The vices of two hostile breeds are mixed in them; the pride and cruelty of their Spanish sires, the laziness and licentiousness of their Indian dams. The land, they say, is theirs. They are not strangers, like the foreign troops, nor savages, like the native tribes. In Mexican days, they fought the soldiers, robbed the friars, and helped themselves to squaws. In every riot they are first and last; the first in outrage, and the last to be subdued. When Mexico threw off the yoke, they fought against the crown of Spain, and when that fight was done they turned against their comrades in the camp. Unstable as water, they rallied to the Single Star, and after causing the young republic of California much annoyance, they rallied to the Stars and Stripes. This tre
William Hepworth Dixon, White Conquest: Volume 1, Chapter 8: brigands. (search)
i shot the marshal dead; and as a challenge to the town, rode back with his company into Los Angeles, where he plundered several houses, and carried off a bevy of Mexican girls. Fifteen hundred dollars were offered for the person of Capitan Senati, to be paid by the jailer of Los Angeles for his body, whether alive or dead. Thialifornia would be Vasquez if he had the talent and the mettle. Lives of Vasquez, Adventures of Vasquez, Captures of Vasquez, are written for the lowest grade of Mexican and Californian readers. Vallejo is but half a hero in the eyes of his countrymen. No one is sure of Vallejo; every one is sure of Vasquez. The general may liv; but the brigand's work on earth is done, and he is lying at San Jose in a patriot's cell, waiting for the sentence that will lay him in a patriot's grave. In Mexican eyes, a brigand is a finer figure than a soldier. Vasquez, moreover, is no common bandit. He began his acts of violence in the name of an invaded country, and c
William Hepworth Dixon, White Conquest: Volume 1, Chapter 9: Capitan Vasquez. (search)
rned to read a little, to recite his creed, and curse the heretics who came into his port for trade. Though ignorant of arts and men, he grew apace in animal strength and animal appetite. Like his Indian mothers, he was fleet of foot; like his Mexican fathers, he could catch a wild horse. Early in life, he learned to use the knife, and not one damsel in a score could tire him in bolero and fandango. The fandango was his favourite dance. The produce of Los Felix satisfied his father's wa, Guadalupe Cantua, was a half-breed woman from the San Benito hills, above Los Angeles. She understood her son. He meant to live on other people, taking what he wanted from them, and she feared her boy might suffer at their hands. Like a true Mexican she blessed him to his task, and placed him under the protection of her saints. I got my mother's blessing, says the brigand, and from that day I began to rove and rob. Going into the hills of San Benito, where his kindred lived, he first
William Hepworth Dixon, White Conquest: Volume 1, Chapter 13: the Jesuits. (search)
im her enemies, loving liberty and justice more than they fear priestcraft. How, with such poor allies, are the Jesuits to confront such strong adversaries? They have everything to create and to apply. These hybrids cannot furnish them a decent priest, much less a learned professor. As a rule the priests are foreigners. The bishop of Monterey is a Gaul, the cure is a Swiss. At Santa Clara the professional chairs are held by English, Irish, French, and Italian scholars. Not a single Mexican holds a chair. It is a great misfortune for the fathers, since no people on earth are so touchy on the point of foreign rule as those of Spain. But Padre Varsi cannot help this state of things. A foreigner himself, he sees that foreigners must supply the lack of native learning, loyalty, and faith. The Church has much to do and much to undo. She has to train her officers to command, to teach her rank and file to obey. In front of her stands an enemy not only armed with physical powe
William Hepworth Dixon, White Conquest: Volume 1, Chapter 14: Jesuits' pupils. (search)
raining more than twenty thousand children in these towns. Considering how lately the whole population was Catholic and Mexican, and more Catholic than Mexican, the numbers now remaining under Jesuit teaching are assuredly not large. A greater qMexican, the numbers now remaining under Jesuit teaching are assuredly not large. A greater question still remains: how far have these Jesuits succeeded in their aim of fencing Santa Clara from the world, and raising up an army of their own within her gates? Enough to lend them hope, but not enough to make them proud. With lads of slow e second kind in our host, an advocate at San Jose. Alexander Delmas is a son of Sefior Delmas, a shrewd and wealthy Mexican, of better stock than the original denizens of San Jose. A Catholic, he sent his boy to Santa Clara, hoping the fathers had no time to carry out this plan. When Senior Delmas heard of his son's return to Santa Clara, he leaped, with all a Mexican's jealousy of priests, to the conclusion that Alexander was falling into a Jesuit snare. Driving to the college, he dem
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