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The March of Portolá and the Discovery of the Bay of San Francisco


Zoeth S. Eldredge.

The popular mind accepts the oft-repeated statement that the settlement of California was due to the pious zeal of a devoted priest, eager to save the souls of the heathen, supplemented by the paternal care of a monarch solicitous for the welfare of his subjects. The political exigencies of the day are forgotten; military commanders and civil governors sink into insignificance and become mere executives of the priestly will, while the heroic efforts of Junípero Serra to convert the natives, his courage in the face of danger, his sublime zeal, and his unwearied devotion, make him the impelling factor in the colonization of California.

Nor is the popular conception that the church led the way into California strange, when we understand that it is to the writings of Fray Francisco Palou, friend, disciple, and successor of Junípero, that all historians turn for the account of the occupation. Fray Palou details the glorious life of the leader with whom he toiled; he eulogizes the worthy priest, the ardent missionary, as he passed up and down the length of the land, founding missions, planting the vine, the olive, and the fruit tree in a land whose inhabitants had often suffered from hunger; giving aid and comfort to the sick and weary and consolation to the dying. Indeed, the pictures of the padres are fascinating. The infant establishments planted by the church grew rich and powerful, but so wise and gentle was the administration of the priests and so generous their hospitality, that life in California in the first quarter of the nineteenth century was an almost dolce far niente existence.

Radiant as is the priestly figure of Junípero drawn by Palou, the careful investigator will find that the impelling factor in the occupation of California was stern military necessity, not missionary zeal. From the time of Cabrillo, Spain had claimed the coasts of the Pacific up to forty-two degrees north latitude by right of discovery, but more than two hundred years had passed and she had done nothing towards making good this right by settlement. The country was open to colonization by any nation strong enough to maintain and protect its colonies.

Before relating the story of Portolá's march, let us consider for a moment the situation of California in its relation to Spain and other European nations, and we will then understand why Spain found it necessary to occupy the country.

When Legaspi completed the conquest of the Philippines in 1565, he sent his flagship, the San Pedro, back to New Spain under command of his grandson, Felipe Salcedo, with orders to survey and chart a practicable route for ships returning from the Islands. The San Pedro sailed from Cebu, June 1, 1565, and took her course east-northeast to the Ladrones, thence northward to latitude thirty-eight, thence sailing eastward, following the Kuroshiwo, the Black Current of Japan, they made a landfall on the coast of California about the latitude of Cape Mendocino. A sail of two thousand five hundred miles down the coasts of California and New Spain brought the voyagers to the port of Acapulco. This route was charted by the priests on board the San Pedro, and for nearly three centuries was the one followed by the galleons of Spain sailing from Manila to Acapulco. The voyage across the Pacific was a long one and ships in distress were obliged to put about and make for Japan. A harbor on the coast of California in which ships could find shelter and repair damages was greatly desired. A survey of the unknown coasts of the South Sea, as it was called, was ordered, and it was also suggested that the explorations be extended beyond the forty-second degree of north latitude, it being held that the coast was a part of the same continent as that of China, or only separated therefrom by the narrow strait of Anian, which was believed to open in latitude forty-two.

Up to this time the only exploration of the northern coast of California was that of Juan Rodrigues Cabrillo, and continued after his death by his chief pilot, Bartolomé Ferrelo, in 1542-1543. Cabrillo sailed as far north as Fort Ross, anchored in the Gulf of the Farallones, off the entrance to the Golden Gate, and then sought refuge from the terrible storms in San Miguel Island, Santa Barbara Channel, where he died. Ferrelo took command and sailed up to Cape Mendocino, which he named in honor of Don Antonio de Mendoza, first viceroy of New Spain.

On the 17th of June, 1579, Francis Drake, in command of the Golden Hinde, took refuge in the bay under Point Reyes, now known as Drake's Bay. He took possession of the country in the name of Queen Elizabeth, and named it New Albion, because of the white cliffs which, Chaplain Fletcher writes, "lie towards the sea," and also "that it might have some affinity with our own country." It was in this place and at this time that the first English service was held in America, by Master Francis Fletcher, chaplain to Francis Drake. The "Prayer Book Cross" in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, commemorates the event.

Drake remained in this bay thirty-seven days, refitted his ship, supplied himself with wood and water, and sailed on July 23d to the Southeast Farallones, where he laid in a store of seal meat, and on the 25th sailed across the Pacific for England by way of the Cape of Good Hope.

In 1585, Captain Francisco de Gali, sailing for the Philippines, was directed to sail, on the return voyage, as far north as the weather would permit, and on reaching the coast of California, examine the land and the harbors on his way homeward, make maps of all, and report all that he accomplished. It does not appear from Gali's report that he accomplished anything in particular. He reached the coast in latitude 37° 30' (Pillar Point), and noted that the land was high and fair; that the mountains[1] were without snow, and that there were many indications of rivers, bays, and havens along the coast.

In 1594, Captain Sebastian Cermeñon, a Portuguese sailor in the service of Spain, sailed for the Philippines with orders similar to those of Gali. In an attempt to survey the coast, he lost his ship, the San Agustin. It is supposed she struck on one of the Farallones and was beached in Drake's Bay. From the trunk of a tree they constructed a boat, called a viroco, and in this the ship's company of more than seventy persons continued the homeward voyage. The little vessel reached Puerto de Navidad in safety, and here the commander and part of the company left it in charge of the pilot, Juan de Morgana, with a crew of ten men, who brought it into Acapulco on the 31st of January, 1596; a most remarkable voyage of nearly twenty-five hundred miles by shipwrecked, sick, and hungry men, crowded into an open boat. With the loss of the San Agustin, explorations of the California coast by laden ships from the Philippines came to an end.

Sometime prior to the summer of 1595, the viceroy of New Spain, Don Luis de Velasco, entered into an agreement with certain persons looking to the exploration of the coasts of the Californias and the settlement of the land. The consideration for this undertaking, which was to be at the expense of the adventurers, was the privilege of pearl fishing and trade, together with all the honors, favors, and exemptions usually given to the pacifiers and settlers of new provinces. Preparations for the expedition were under way, when a dispute arose between the leader and his partners in the enterprise, and the matter was carried into the courts. Before a decision was reached, the leader died, and the judge ordered the other partners, among whom was one Sebastian Vizcaino, to begin the voyage to the Californias within three months. Under this order, Vizcaino applied to Viceroy Velasco, and received his permission to make the journey. This was the condition of affairs when, on October 5, 1596, Velasco was relieved and a new viceroy, Don Gaspar de Zúñiga y Azevedo, Count of Monterey, took command. At Velasco's request, Zúñiga made a careful examination of all matters pertaining to the expedition to the Californias, and the result was not favorable to Vizcaino. The new viceroy did not think that an enterprise which might involve results of such vast importance should be entrusted to the leadership of a person of such obscure position and limited capital. He also doubted if Vizcaino had the resolution and capacity necessary for so great an undertaking, and it appeared to him that if disorders should arise among his men through lack of discipline, or if the natives of the country to which he was going should repel him, the repute and royal authority of the king would be in danger. On the other hand, there was the decision of the court, the concession of the viceroy, and the fact that Vizcaino had already been at expense in the matter. Zúñiga communicated his doubts to the former viceroy, who, in his perplexity, submitted the question to a theologian and a jurist, selected as the viceroy writes, from the number of those whose opinions were entitled to the greatest consideration. Their decision was that the concession of the viceroy had the force of an agreement and contract; that what was at first a favor had become a right, and that, as the captain had manifested no incapacity and had been guilty of no offense, the compact could not be varied. The audiencia[2], before whom Zúñiga also laid the matter, was of like opinion. In view, therefore, of the length to which the affair had gone, the viceroy resolved not to annul the contract but to do all in his power to insure the success of the expedition. That Vizcaino's soldiers might respect and esteem him, the viceroy clothed him with authority and showed him the greatest honor. He required Vizcaino to furnish him with complete memorandums and inventories of the ships and lanchas he intended to take with him, with their sails and tackle, the number of people, and the provisions for them, arms, ammunition, and all other property, and he instructed the royal officers at Acapulco that the expedition must not be permitted to sail until it was fully provided with everything necessary for the voyage and the safety of the people. The Council of the Indies, on receiving Zúñiga's report, ordered him to cancel Vizcaino's commission and select another leader for the expedition, but before this order could reach the viceroy, Vizcaino had sailed. The expedition consisted of the flagship San Francisco, six hundred tons; the San José, a smaller ship, under command of Captain Rodrigo de Figueroa, and a lancha. Vizcaino sailed from Acapulco in March, 1596. His first stop was at the port of Calagua on the coast of Colima, where he took on some of his people and stores, and to this point the watchful viceroy sent a personal representative to see that Vizcaino complied with all of his requirements, and to report on the conduct of his soldiers. From here Vizcaino sailed northwest to Cape Corrientes, thence northerly to the Islands of San Juan de Mazatlan. From Mazatlan he bore west-northwest across the Gulf of California and landed in a large bay which he named San Felipe, afterwards known as the Bay of Cerralbo. From here he went to La Paz bay, which he so named because of the peaceful character of the Indians, who received him hospitably with presents of fish, game, and fruits. This was, it is supposed, the place where Jimenez, the discoverer of California, lost his life in 1533, and where Córtez planted his ill-fated colony two years later. In entering the bay, the flagship ran on a shoal, and they were obliged to cut away her masts and lighten her of her cargo of provisions, a great part of which was wet and lost. Here Vizcaino landed and built a stockade fort, and leaving the dismantled flagship and the married men of his company under command of his lieutenant, Figueroa, he sailed on October 3rd, with the San José and the lancha and eighty men to explore the gulf. He encountered severe storms which separated his vessels, and not having proper discipline among his men, had trouble with the Indians of the coast, during which nineteen men were lost by the overturning of the ship's long boat. He turned back to La Paz, where his men, disheartened by the storms and the loss of their comrades, demanded to be returned to New Spain. His stock of provisions was running low, and putting the disaffected on the flagship and the lancha, he sent them back, and with the San José and forty of the more adventurous of the men, again sailed, on October 28th, for the headwaters of the gulf. For sixty-six days he battled against strong north winds, and only succeeded in reaching latitude twenty-nine; then yielding to the demands of his men, he sailed for the port of the Isles of Mazatlan.

The results of the expedition did not add to Vizcaino's reputation, but he made a most glowing report of his discoveries. He told of a land double the extent of New Spain and in situation much preferable; its seas abounding in pearls of excellent quality and in fish of all kinds, in quantity greater than was contained in any other discovered sea; while in the interior of the land, some twenty days' journey to the northwest, were people who lived in towns, wore clothes, had gold and silver ornaments, cloaks of cotton, maize and provisions, fowls of the country (turkeys), and of Castile (chickens); thus the Indians told him - not only in one place but in many. He desired permission to make another voyage, and as the late expedition had exhausted his own resources, asked that he be granted thirty-five thousand dollars from the royal treasury and outfitting for his ships. These advances he agreed to repay from the first gain received by him during the voyage. He also asked, on behalf of those who accompanied him, that the countries brought by him into subjection to the crown be given to them encomienda for five lives[3]; that they be made gentlemen and granted all the favors, exemptions, and liberties that other gentlemen enjoy, not only in the provinces of the Indies but also in Spain. For these and for other favors asked, Vizcaino agreed to sail with five ships, equipped with proper artillery, one hundred and fifty men, arms and ammunition, provisions, etc. - all things necessary for the voyage. He would pay the king one-fifth part of all gold, precious stones and valuable mineral substances obtained, one-tenth part of the fish taken, and one-twentieth part of the salt obtained. He also agreed to make discovery of the whole ensenada and gulf of the Californias, take possession of the land in the name of his majesty, make settlements, build forts, and explore the country inland for a distance of one hundred leagues.

Vizcaino's rose-colored report did not deceive the authorities, but as he had the necessary outfit and had had some experience, the Council decided that he was the best man to head the expedition, though Zúñiga favored Don Gabriel Maldonado, of Saville, for commander. The Council ordered that Vizcaino be supplied from the royal treasury with all necessary funds; it granted the boon of encomienda for three lives, and that the discoverers should have all the privileges of gentlemen throughout the Indies. It also granted other minor privileges and boons asked for. Vizcaino was made captain-general of the expedition, and sailed from Acapulco May 5, 1602, with orders to explore the coasts of the Californias from Cape San Lucas to Cape Mendocino, or as far north as latitude forty-two. His ships were the San Diego, flagship, the Santo Tomas, under Toríbio Gomez de Corvan, the Tres Reyes, a small fragata or tender, under Alférez Martin Aguilar, and a barcolongo for exploring rivers and bays[4]. The chief pilot of the expedition was Francisco Bolaños who had been one of the pilots with Cermeñon on the lost San Agustin. Three barefooted Carmelites looked after the spiritual needs of the adventurers. The story of this second voyage of Vizcaino is well known. On the 10th of November, they were in the Bay of San Diego, which Vizcaino named for San Diego de Alcalá, whose day, November 14th, they spent in the bay, ignoring the name, San Miguel, given it by Cabrillo sixty years before. Later in the month he entered and named San Pedro bay, for Saint Peter, bishop of Alexandria, whose day, November 26th, it was. He also named the islands still known as Santa Catalina and San Clemente. He next sailed through and named the Canal de Santa Barbara, which saint's day, December 4th, was observed while in the channel, and also named Isla de Santa Barbara and Isla de San Nicolas. Passing Punta de la Concepcion, which he named[5], Vizcaino sailed up the coast in a thick fog, which lifting on December 14th, revealed to the voyagers the lofty coast range usually sighted by the ships coming from the Philippines. Four leagues beyond they saw a river flowing from high hills through a beautiful valley to the sea. To the mountains he gave the name of Sierra de la Santa Lucia, in honor of the Saint whose day (December 13th) they had just celebrated, and the stream he named Rio del Cármelo, in honor of the Carmelite friars. Rounding a high wooded point, which he named Punta de los Pinos, he dropped anchor in Monterey bay, December 16th, 1602. Here Vizcaino found the much desired harbor of refuge, and he named it for his patron, the Conde de Monterey. Vizcaino made the most of his discovery, and in a letter to the king, written in Monterey Bay, December 28, 1602[6], he gives a most glowing descriptio of the bay, which is, at best, but an open roadstead. The Indians, as usual, told him of large cities in the interior, which they invited him to visit, but Vizcaino could not tarry. His provisions were almost gone, his men were sick with scurvy, of which many had died, and putting the most helpless on board the Santo Tomas, he sent her to Acapulco for aid, and sailed, January 3, 1603, with the flagship and fragata, for the north. A storm soon separated the vessels and they did not see each other again until they met in the harbor of Acapulco. Vizcaino was told by the pilot, Bolaños, that Cermeñon had left in Drake's Bay a large quantity of wax and several chests of silk, and he entered the bay on January 8th to see if any vestiges remained of ship or cargo. He did not land, but awaited the arrival of the fragata. As she did not appear, he became uneasy, and sailed the next morning in search of her. On the 13th, a violent gale from the southeast drove him northward. This was followed by a dense fog, and when it lifted, he found himself in latitude forty-two - the limit of his instructions - with Cape Blanco in sight, "and the trend of the coast line onward," he writes, "towards Japan and Great China, which are but a short run away." Only six of his men were now able to keep the deck, and he bore away for Acapulco, where he arrived March 21, 1603. Of the company that sailed with him, forty-two had died.

In 1606, Philip III, King of Spain, ordered that Monterey be occupied and provision made there to succor and refit the Philippine ships. He directed that to Vizcaino should be given the command of the expedition. His orders were not carried out and Vizcaino sailed instead for Japan, whence he returned in 1613, and died three years later.

For over one hundred and sixty years, no steps were taken for the pacification and settlement of Alta California. The galleons continued to make their yearly voyages to the Philippines, and returning, sail down the coast within sight of the fair land; but no harbor of refuge was established and no attempt was made to colonize the country.

At last the Spanish king began to realize that if he would retain his possessions in America, some action was necessary for their protection. Spanish sovereignty in the Pacific was threatened. The Russians had crossed Bering Sea, had established themselves on the coast of Alaska, and their hunters were extending their pursuit of the sea otter into more southern waters. England had wrested Canada from France and was ready to turn her attention to the American possessions of Spain. The Family Compact of the Bourbon princes of France, Spain, and Italy had aroused the ire of Pitt, then at the zenith of his fame, and he resolved to demand an explanation from Spain, and, failing to receive it, attack her at home and abroad before she was prepared, declaring that it was time for humbling the whole house of Bourbon. A check in the cabinet caused Pitt's resignation, but in 1766 he was again restored to power with vigor and arrogance unabated.

On February 27, 1767, Don Carlos III of Spain issued his famous decree expelling the Jesuits from the Spanish dominions. This society had established a number of missions in Lower California, and Don Gaspar de Portolá, a captain of dragoons of the Regiment of Spain, was appointed governor of the Californias and sailed from Tepic with twenty-five dragoons, twenty-five infantry, and fourteen Franciscan friars to dispossess the Jesuits and turn the California missions over to the Franciscans.

The king having been warned of the advance of the Russians upon the northern coasts of California, ordered the viceroy of New Spain to take effective measures to guard that part of his dominions from danger of invasion and insult. While the viceroy was casting about to find a person of sufficient importance and ability to organize and carry out so great an undertaking, Don José de Galvez, visitador-general of the kingdom and member of the Council of the Indies, offered his services and volunteered to go to Lower California and effect the organization and equipment of the expedition. His services were eagerly accepted, and Galvez set out from the City of Mexico, April 9, 1768, for San Blas, on the coast of New Galicia. Before arriving at that port, he was overtaken by a courier from the viceroy bringing orders just received from the court directing that a maritime expedition should be at once dispatched to Monterey and that port fortified. Convening the Junta at San Blas on the 16th of May, 1768, the señor visitador laid before them the situation and the wishes of the king. He stated that on the exterior or occidental coasts of the Californias, Spain claimed from Cape San Lucas on the south to the Rio de los Reyes[7] in 43 degrees, though the only portion occupied was from Cape San Lucas up to 30° 30'[8]. The civilized or Christian portion of the community (gente de razon - people of reason) did not, he said, number more than four hundred souls, including the families of the soldiers of the garrison of Loreto and those of the miners in the south; that if foreigners of any nation were to establish themselves in the celebrated ports of San Diego and Monterey, they might fortify themselves there before the government could receive notice of it. In all the Sea of the South that washes the shores of New Spain there were no other vessels than the two packet-boats recently built in San Blas, the San Carlos and the San Antonio, and two others of small tonnage which served the Jesuit missionaries in their communications between California and the coast of Sonora. In these few ships consisted all the maritime forces which could have been opposed to foreign invasion. All this Galvez laid before the Junta, there being present the commandant of the department and the army officers and pilots who chanced to be there. It was resolved to send an expedition by sea in the San Carlos and San Antonio, and orders were made to prepare the ships, while Galvez proceeded to the peninsula to attend to the gathering of supplies and provisions. All the missions of Lower California were laid under contribution of vestments and sacred vessels for the new missions to be established, also dried fruits, wine, oil, riding horses and mule herd; for Galvez had decided to supplement the maritime expedition by one by land, lest the infinite risks and dangers attending a long sea-voyage should render the attempt abortive. The governor, Don Gaspar de Portolá, volunteered to lead the expedition, and he was named commander-in-chief. Don Fernando de Rivera y Moncado, captain of the presidio of Loreto, was appointed second in command. The troops were composed of forty cavalrymen from the presidio of Loreto in Lower California, under Rivera, and twenty-five infantrymen of the compania franca of Catalonia, under Lieutenant Don Pedro Fages. To the presidial troops were joined thirty Christian Indians from the missions, armed with bows and arrows. These were intended for the land expedition. The mission of Santa Maria, the northernmost mission on the peninsula, was the rendezvous of the land forces, and from Loreto four lighters loaded with provisions for the land expedition were sent up the gulf to the bay of San Luis Gonzaga, the nearest point to the mission of Santa Maria, whither also went by land the troops, muleteers, and vaqueros, with the herd of every sort. Finding insufficient pasturage for the cattle at Santa Maria, they advanced to Velicatá, some thirty miles distant, and here was assembled the land expedition. In addition to the officers named, Don Miguel Costansó, ensign of royal engineers, was ordered to join the expedition as cosmographer and diarist, and Don Pedro Prat was appointed physician. To minister to the soldiers and take charge of the missions to be established in the new land, the following missionary priests, all of the college of San Fernando in Mexico, were named to accompany the expedition. Fray Junípero Serra, appointed president of the missions of Alta California, Fray Juan Crespi, Fray Fernando Parron, Fray Juan Vizcaino, and Fray Francisco Gomez.

On the 6th of January, 1769, at the port of La Paz, the San Carlos was loaded and ready for sea. The venerable Father Junípero Serra sang mass aboard her, and with other devotional exercises blessed the ship and the standards. The visitador named the Señor San José patron of the expedition, and in a fervent exhortation, kindled the spirits of those about to sail. These were Don Pedro Fages, with his twenty-five Catalans of the 1st batallion 2d regiment, Voluntarios de Cataluna, Alférez Miguel Costansó, Surgeon Don Pedro Prat, and Padre Fernando Parron. The ship was commanded by Don Vicente Vila, lieutenant of the royal navy; the mate was Don Jorge Estorace, and twenty-three sailors, two boys, four cooks, and two blacksmiths made up the rest of the ship's company - sixty-two in all. They embarked on the night of January 9th and sailed on the 10th. Galvez appointed Fages gefe de las armas - chief of the military expedition at sea, and instructed him to retain command of the soldiers on land until the arrival of the governor at Monterey[9]. On the 15th of February, Father Junípero performed like offices for the San Antonio, and she sailed the same day under command of Don Juan Perez, "of the navigation of the Philippines," carrying Frays Vizcaino and Gomez, some carpenters, blacksmiths, and cooks, that, with the sailors, made some ninety persons, all told, on both ships. The rendezvous was San Diego bay, where all were to meet.

The land expedition was divided into two parts. The first division, under Rivera, started from Velicatá March 24th, and the second, under command of the governor, started May 15th. With Rivera were Padre Crespi, Pilotin (Mate) Jose Cañizares. Twenty-five soldados de cuera[10], three muleteers, and eleven Christian Indians - forty-two men. With the governor marched Junípero Serra, fifteen soldados de cuera, under Sergeant Jose Francisco de Ortega, two servants, muleteers and Indians - forty-four in all. The previous day, May 14, 1769, being Easter Sunday, Junípero established the Mission of San Fernando with Fray Miguel de la Campa as Minister. For the succor and relief of the forces, both sea and land, Galvez built, at San Blas, a ship which he named in honor of the protector of the expedition, the San Jose, and loading her with supplies and provisions, sent her with orders to meet the expedition at Monterey. She was lost at sea.

There is very little of interest in this march of some two hundred miles through a barren country to the bay of San Diego. Junípero's diary lies before me[11]; it is a dreary recital of small incidents of the march, the Indians they met, the barrancas they crossed, with pious comments, etc.; no course, no distances traveled, or other like information necessary to an understanding of the route and country. As a diarist, he is not to be compared with Crespi. On June 20th they came first in sight of the sea at the Ensenada de Todos Santos; thence their journey was by the sea until they came to the rendezvous. As they drew near to San Diego, their Indian allies began to desert, evidently in fear of the Diegueños, whom they began to meet in numbers and who proved a rascally lot. They thronged the camp and became a perfect nuisance with their begging and stealing. They begged from Junípero his robe and from the governor his cuera, waistcoat, breeches, and all he had on. One of them succeeding in inducing Junípero to take off his spectacles to show them to him and as soon as he got them in his hands made off with them, causing the priest a thousand difficulties to recover them. On the 27th of June Sergeant Ortega, with his scouts, pushed on to San Diego and announced to the anxious camp the proximity of the governor. Rivera sent ten of his soldiers with fresh horses back with Ortega, and Portolá, in advance of his command, reached the camp June 29th, and the entire division arrived, June 30th, in good order and condition, forty-six days from Velicatá.

Let us anticipate their arrival and ascertain the fate of the other divisions of the expedition. For more than a century and a half the placid waters of San Diego bay had lain undisturbed by any craft more formidable than the tule rafts (balsas de enea) of the natives, when on the 11th of April, 1769, a silent ship slowly entered the bay and dropped her anchor not far from the point where now the ferry boat for Coronado leaves the slip. It was the San Antonio, the first arrival at the rendezvous. No attempt was made to land, for they were alone and dread scurvy had them in its grip. Two had died, and most of the ship's company were sick. On the 29th, the San Carlos arrived, 110 days from La Paz, with her company in even worse condition. All were sick, some had died, and only four sailors remained on their feet, aided in working the ship by such of the soldiers as were able to help. She had been driven far out of her course; had found herself short of water, and had to put into the island of Cedros to supply herself, and it was with the greatest difficulty she reached the bay of San Diego. The first thing to be done was to find good water and to minister to the sick. For this purpose there landed, on May 1st, Don Pedro Fages, Don Miguel Costansó, and Don Jorge Estorace, with twenty-five men-soldiers, sailors, etc., all who were able to do duty, and, proceeding up the shore, found, by direction of some Indians, a river of good mountain water at a distance of three leagues to the northeast. Moving their ships as near as they could, they prepared on the beach a camp, which they surrounded with a parapet of earth and fascines, and mounted two cannon. Within they made two large hospital tents from the sails and awnings of the ships, and set up the tents of the officers and priests. Then they transferred the sick. The labor was immense, for all were sick, and the list of those able to perform duty daily grew smaller. The difficulties of their situation were very great. Nearly all the medicines and food had been consumed during the long voyage, and Don Pedro Prat, the surgeon, himself sick with scurvy, sought in the fields with a thousand anxieties some healing herbs, of which he himself was in as sore need as the others. The cold made itself felt with vigor at night and the sun burned them by day - alternations which made the sick suffer cruelly, two or three of them dying every day, until the whole sea expedition which had been composed of more than ninety men, found itself reduced to eight soldiers and as many sailors in a state to attend to the safeguarding of the ships, the working of the launches, the custody of the camp, and the care of the sick.

There was no news whatever of the land divisions. The neighborhood of the fort was diligently searched for tracks of a horse herd, but none were discovered. They did not know what to think of this delay. At length, on the 14th of May, the Indians gave notice to some soldiers on the beach that from the direction of the south men mounted on horses and armed as they, were coming. It was the first land division under Rivera, fifty days from Velicatá, without the loss of a man or having a sick one; but they were on half rations; they had only three sacks of flour left and were issuing two tortillas[12] per day to each man. Great was the rejoicing in the camp of the sick over the arrival of Rivera's force. It was now resolved to remove the camp near to the river. This was done, and a new camp established on a hill in what is now known as "Old Town," where a stockade was made and the cannon mounted. The surgeon, Pedro Prat, devoted himself to the sick, but the deaths continued, until of the ninety and more who had sailed from La Paz, two-thirds were laid under the sand of Punta de los Muertos[13]. It was now thought best to send one of the packets to San Blas to inform the viceroy and the visitador of the state of the expedition, and it was feared that if this were longer delayed, the ship would be unable to put to sea for lack of mariners. The San Antonio was selected for this purpose, and was prepared for sea, but as she was about to sail, the camp was thrown into an ecstasy of joy by the arrival of Portolá and the second division, sound in body, and with 163 mules laden with provisions. The governor promptly informed himself of the condition of affairs, and desirous that the señor visitador's orders concerning the sea expedition should be carried out, offered to Captain Vila of the San Carlos sixteen men of his command to work the ship, that he might pursue the voyage to Monterey. As Vila had lost all his ship's officers, boatswain, storekeeper, coxswain of the launch, and there was not a sailor among the men offered by Portolá, he declined to go to sea under such conditions. All the available sailors were therefore placed on board the San Antonio, and she sailed for San Blas, June 8th, with eight men only for a crew.

The governor now proceeded to organize his force for the march to Monterey. He determined to move at once, lest the advancing season should expose them to the danger of having the passes of the sierra closed by snow, as even at San Diego those who came by sea reported the sierras covered with snow on their arrival in April.

On the 14th of July, Portolá began his march to Monterey, distant one hundred and fifty-nine leagues. His force consisted of Sergeant Ortega, with twenty-seven soldados de cuera under Rivera, Fages with six Catalan volunteers - all that could travel, Ensign Costansó, the priests, Crespi and Gomez, seven muleteers, fifteen Christian Indians from the missions of Lower California, and two servants - sixty-four in all. Both Fages and Costansó were sick with scurvy, but joined the command notwithstanding. The personnel of this expedition contains some of the best known names in California. Portolá, the first governor; Rivera, comandante of California from 1773 to 1777, killed in the Yuma revolt on the Colorado in 1781; Fages, first comandante of California, 1769-1773, governor, 1782-1790; Ortega, pathfinder, explorer, discoverer of the Golden Gate and of Carquines Strait[14]; lieutenant and brevet captain, comandante of the presidio of San Diego, of Santa Barbara, and of Monterey; founder of the presidio of Santa Barbara and of the missions of San Juan Capistrano and San Buenaventura. Among the rank and file were men whose names are not less known: Pedro Amador, who gave his name to Amador county; Juan Bautista Alvarado, grandfather of Governor Alvarado; José Raimundo Carrillo, later alférez, lieutenant, and captain, comandante of the presidio of Monterey, of Santa Barbara, and of San Diego, and founder of the great Carrillo family; José Antonio Yorba, sergeant of Catalonia volunteers, founder of the family of that name and grantee of the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana; Pablo de Cota, José Ignacio Oliveras, José Maria Soberanes, and others.

At San Diego, Portolá left the sick under the care of the faithful surgeon, Prat, and a guard of ten cuera soldiers; Captain Vila of the San Carlos, with a few seamen; Frays Junípero Serra, Juan Vizcaino, and Fernando Parron, a carpenter, a blacksmith, and a few Lower California Indians, some forty persons in all. The governor also left with them a sufficient number of horses and mules and about sixty loads[15] of provisions. On July 16th, two days after the Portolá expedition started, Junípero founded, with appropriate ceremonies, the mission of San Diego de Alcalá, the first mission established in Alta California. The deaths continued, and before Portolá's return in January, eight soldiers, four sailors, one servant, and eight Indians died, leaving but about twenty persons at the camp.

We will now follow the governor. Relying somewhat on the supply ship, San Jose, which was to meet him at Monterey, but which, as we have seen, was lost at sea, and also on the supplies to be brought by the San Antonio, the governor, knowing the uncertainties of a sea voyage, took with him one hundred mules loaded with provisions, sufficient, he concluded, to last him for six months.

On the march the following order was observed. Sergeant Ortega, with six or eight soldiers, went in advance, laid out the route, selected the camping place, and cleared the way of hostile Indians by whom he was frequently surrounded. At the head of the column rode the comandante, with Fages, Costansó, the two priests, and an escort of six Catalonia volunteers; next came the sappers and miners, composed of Indians, with spades, mattocks, crowbars, axes, and other implements used by pioneers; these were followed by the main body divided into four bands of pack-animals, each with its muleteers and a guard of presidial soldiers. The last was the rear guard, commanded by Captain Rivera, convoying the spare horses and mules (caballada y mulada).

The presidial soldiers were provided with two kinds of arms, offensive and defensive. The defensive consisted of the cuera (leather jacket) and the adarga (shield)[16]. The first, being made in the form of a coat without sleeves, was composed of six or seven thicknesses of dressed deer skins impervious to the Indian arrows, except at very short range. The adarga was of two thicknesses of raw bulls-hide, borne on the left arm, and so managed by the trooper as to defend himself and his horse against the arrows and spears of the Indians; in addition, they used a species of apron of leather, fastened to the pommel of the saddle, with a fall to each side of the horse down to the stirrup, wide enough to cover the thigh and a leg of the horseman, and protect him when riding through the brush. This apron was called the armas. Their offensive arms were the lance, which they managed with great dexterity on horseback, the broadsword, and a short musket, carried in a case. Costansó, who was an officer of the regular army, bears testimony to the unceasing labor of the presidial soldiers of California on this march, and says they were men capable of enduring much fatigue, obedient, resolute, and active; "and it is not too much to say that they are the best horsemen in the world, and among the best soldiers who gain their bread in the service of the king."[17]

It must be understood that the marches of these troops with such a train through an unknown country and by unused paths, could not be long ones. It was necessary to explore the land one day for the march of the next, and the camp for the day was sometimes regulated by the distance to be traveled to the next place where water, fuel, and pastures could be had. The distance made was from two to four leagues[18], and the command rested every four days, more or less, according to the fatigue caused by the roughness of the road, the toil of the pioneers, the wandering off of the beasts, or the necessities of the sick. Costansó says that one of their greatest difficulties was in the control of their caballada (horse-herd), without which the journey could not be made. In a country they do not know, horses frighten themselves by night in the most incredible manner. To stampede them, it is enough for them to discover a coyote or fox. The flight of a bird, the dust flung by the wind-any of these are capable of terrifying them and causing them to run many leagues, precipitating themselves over barrancas and precipices, without any human effort availing to restrain them. Afterwards it costs immense toil to gather them again, and those that are not killed or crippled, remain of no service for some time. In the form and manner stated, the Spaniards made their marches, traversing immense lands, which grew more fertile and pleasing as they progressed northward.

The expedition followed practically the route which afterwards became the Camino Real. Its fourth jornada (day's journey) brought it to the pretty valley where later was established the mission of San Luis Rey. They called it San Juan Capistrano, but that name was afterwards transferred to a mission forty miles north of this place. The command rested here, July 19th. Resuming the march on the 20th, the sierra (San Onofre), whose base they were skirting, drew so near the sea that it seemed to threaten their advance, but by keeping close to the shore, they held their way, and on the 24th they encamped on a fine stream of water running through a mesa at the foot of a sierra, whence looking across the sea, they could descry Santa Catalina Island. This was San Juan Capistrano, and here they rested on the 25th. On the 28th they reached the Santa Ana river, near the present town of that name; a violent shock of earthquake which they experienced caused them to name the river Jesus de los Temblores[19]. July 30th and 31st they were in the San Gabriel valley, which they called San Miguel, and on August 1st they rested near the site of the present city of Los Angeles. The stop this day, in addition to the needed rest and the necessity for exploration, was to give opportunity for the soldiers and people of the expedition to gain the great indulgence of Porciúncula.[20] The priests said mass and the sacrament was administered. In the afternoon the soldiers went to hunt and brought in an antelope (barrendo), with which the land seemed to abound. The next day they crossed the Los Angeles river by the site of the present city, and named it Rio de Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles de Porciúncula[21]. Passing up the river, they went through the cañon and came into the San Fernando valley, which they called Valle de Santa Catalina de los Encinos - Valley of St. Catherine of the Oaks. Five days they spent in the valley, and crossing the Santa Susana mountains, perhaps by the Tapo cañon, they came to the Santa Clara river near the site of Camulos, and there rested, August 9th. Portolá named the river Santa Clara, which name it still bears, in honor of the saint, whose day, August 12th, was observed by them. Five days, by easy jornadas, they traveled down the river, and arrived on the 14th at the first rancheria[22] of the Channel Indians. It being the vespers of the feast of La Asuncion de Nuestra Señora, Portolá named the village La Asuncion. It contained about thirty large, well-constructed houses of clay and rushes, and each house held three or four families. These Indians were of good size, well-formed, active, industrious, and very skillful in constructing boats, wooden bowls, and other articles. Portolá thought this pueblo must be the one named by Cabrillo, Pueblo de Canoas (Pueblo of the Boats). This was the site selected for the mission of San Buenaventura, founded March 31, 1782. The natives received them kindly, gave them an abundance of food, and showed them their well-made boats, twenty-four feet long, made of pine boards tied together with cords and covered with asphaltum, and capable of carrying ten men each. The next four days they followed the beach and camped, on August 18th, at a large laguna, called by them La Laguna de la Concepcion. This was the site of the future presidio and mission of Santa Barbara. Everywhere were large populous rancherías of the Indians, and everywhere they were received in the most hospitable manner and provided with more food than they could eat. The next stop was three leagues beyond, on the shore of a large lagoon and marsh, containing a good-sized island on which was a large ranchería, while four others lined the banks of the lagoon. Portolá gave to this group the name In Mediaciones de las Rancherías de Mescaltitan - The Contiguous Rancherías of Mescaltitan. The name of Mescaltitan is still attached to the island, though the marsh is mostly drained and contains some of the finest walnut groves in California. On the 28th, they turned Point Concepcion and camped just north at a place called by them Paraje de los Pedernales. Point Pedernales, about five miles beyond, preserves the name. On the 30th they crossed a large river, which they named the Santa Rosa, in honor of that saint, whose day it was. This is now the Santa Inez, so called from the mission of that name, established on its bank in 1804. Passing northward along the beach, a sharp spur of the sierra jutting out at Point Sal turned them inland through the little pass followed by the Southern Pacific Coast Line, and they came, on September 10th, to a large lake in the northwest corner of Santa Barbara county, to which was given the name of Laguna Larga, now known as Guadalupe Lake. Three leagues beyond, they camped at a lake named by Costansó, Laguna Redonda, but which the soldiers called El Oso Flaco - The Thin Bear - and it is still known by that name. Here Sergeant Ortega was taken ill, and ten of the soldiers complained of sore feet. They rested on the 3d, and on the 4th reached the mouth of the San Luis cañon. Here they were hospitably received by the chief of a large ranchería, whose appearance caused the soldiers to apply to him the name of "El Buchon," he having a large tumor hanging from his neck. Father Crespi did not approve of the name which the soldiers applied to the chief, his ranchería, and to the cañon leading up to San Luis Obispo, and he named the village San Ladislao. As in so many cases the good father was unable to make the name he gave stick, the saint has been ignored, but Point Buchon, just above Point Harford and Mount Buchon, otherwise known as Bald Knob, bear witness to the staying qualities of the tumor on the chief's neck. Passing up the narrow cañon of San Luis creek, they camped at or near the site of the mission and city of San Luis Obispo. From here, instead of proceeding over the Sierra de Santa Lucia by the Cuesta pass into the upper Salinas valley, whence the march to Monterey would have been easy, they turned to the west and followed the Cañada de los Osos to the sea at Morro Bay, which they called El Estero de San Serafin. The Cañada de los Osos[23], still so called, they named because of a fight with some very fierce bears, one of which they succeeded in killing after it had received nine balls. Another wounded the mules, and the hunters with difficulty saved their lives.

The travelers now marched up the coast until, on the 13th, they came to a point where further progress was disputed by the Sierra de Santa Lucia. This was where a spur from the sierra terminating in Mount Mars, blocks the passage by the beach and presents a bold front, rising three thousand feet from the water. Camping at the foot of the sierra, Portolá sent out the explorers under Rivera to find a passage through the mountains. During the 14th and 15th, the pioneers labored to open a way into the sierra through San Carpóforo cañon, and on the 16th the command moved up the steep and narrow gulch, with inaccessible mountains on either side. It is impossible to follow their route through this rugged mountain range with any degree of accuracy. Their progress was slow and painful. On the 20th, they toiled up an exceedingly high ridge to the north, and from its summit the Spaniards looked upon a boundless sea of mountains, "presenting," writes Crespi, "a sad prospect to us poor travelers worn out with the fatigue of the journey." The cold was beginning to be severe, and many of the men were suffering from scurvy and unfit for service, which increased the hardship for all; yet they did not falter but pressed bravely on, and on the 26th emerged from the mountains by the Arroyo Seco, which they named the Cañada del Palo Caido[24] (Valley of the Fallen Tree), and camped on the Salinas river, which they christened Rio de San Elizario. From now on the march is an easy one down the Salinas valley to the sea.

On the last day of September, the command halted near the mouth of the Salinas river, within sound of the ocean, though they could not see it. They were persuaded that they were not far from the desired port of Monterey and that the mountain range they had crossed was unquestionably that of the Santa Lucia, described by Torquemada in his history of the voyage of Vizcaino, and shown on the chart of the pilot Cabrera Bueno. The governor ordered the explorers to go out and ascertain on what part of the coast they were. On the morrow, Rivera, with eight soldiers, explored the coast to the southward, marching along the shore of the very port they were seeking, while Portolá, with Costansó, Crespi, and five soldiers, climbed a hill from whose top they saw a great ensenada, the northern point of which extended a long way into the sea, and bore northwest at a distance of eight maritime leagues, while on the south a hill ran out into the sea in the form of a point, and appeared to be wooded with pines. They recognized the one on the north as the Punta de Año Nuevo and that on the south as Punta de Pinos, while between the two lay the great ensenada[25], with its dreary sand dunes. This was as laid down in the coast pilot (derretero) of Cabrera Bueno, but where was the famous port of Monterey?

They thought that perhaps they had passed Monterey in the great circuit they had made through the mountain ranges. For three days the search was continued. Rivera reported that south of the Point of Pines and between it and another point to the south (Point Cármelo) was a small ensenada, where a stream of water came down from the mountains and emptied into an estero; that beyond this the coast was so high and impenetrable they were obliged to turn back, and he believed that it was the same sierra which compelled them to leave the coast on the 16th of September.

Much perplexed by these reports, the governor called a council of officers to deliberate as to the best course to pursue. On Wednesday, October 4th, the council met and after hearing mass, the commander laid the matter before them. He set forth the shortness of their store of provisions, the seventeen men on the sick list, unfit for duty, the excessive burden of labor imposed on the rest in sentinel duty, care of the animals, and continual explorations, and to the lateness of the season. In view of these circumstances, and of the fact that the port of Monterey could not be found where it was said to be, each person present was called upon to express freely his opinion.

Costansó spoke first; Vizcaino had put Monterey in 37°; they had only reached 36° 42'; they should not fail to explore up to 37° 30', so as either to find the port or decide it did not exist. Fages was for going up to 37° or a little more. Rivera thought they should establish themselves somewhere. Then the resolute commander determined to go forward and put his trust in God. If they found the desired port of Monterey and therein the supply-ship San Jose, all would be well. If Monterey did not appear, they would find a place for a settlement; but if it should be the will of God that all were to perish, they would have discharged their duty to God and man in laboring until death in their endeavor to accomplish the enterprise on which they had been sent. To this decision all agreed, and signed their names to the compact.

Ortega and his scouts were now dispatched to lay out the route and locate camping places for several days in advance, and on the 7th of October, the march was resumed. Sixteen sick men had now lost use of their limbs. Each night they were rubbed with oil, and each morning they were put into hammocks swung between two mules, tandem, and thus carried in the mode of travel used by the women of Andalusia[26]. The march was slow and painful. Some of the sick were believed to be in the last extremity, and on October 8th, the holy viaticum was administered to three, who were thought to be dying.

On this day they crossed the Rio del Pájaro, which they named because of a great bird the Indians had killed and stuffed with straw, and which measured seven feet and four inches from the tip of one wing to that of the other. It was thought to be a royal eagle, and that the natives were preparing it for some ceremony when they were frightened away by the approach of the Spaniards. Crespi, who still had a supply of saints on hand, gave the river the name La Señora Santa Ana, but again the saint was ignored, and the river is known as the Pájaro (Bird). On the 17th they crossed and named the Rio de San Lorenzo, at the site of the present city of Santa Cruz. On the 20th they were at Punta de Año Nuevo, and camped at the entrance of the cañon of Waddell creek. They recognized Point Año Nuevo from the description given by Cabrera Bueno, and Crespi estimated that it was one league distant from the camp. With good water and fuel, the command rested here the 21st and 22d. Both Portolá and Rivera were now added to the sick list. Meat and vegetables had given out and the rations were reduced to five tortillas of bran and flour per day. Crespi named the camp San Luis Beltran, while the soldiers called it La Cañada de Salud. On the 23d, they again moved forward, passing Punta de Año Nuevo and, traveling two leagues, camped probably on Gazos creek, where was a large Indian ranchería, whose inhabitants received them kindly. This camp, which was about opposite Pigeon Point, they named Casa Grande, also San Juan Nepomuceno[27]. The next jornada was a long one of four leagues, and their camp was on San Gregoria creek. It began to rain and the command was prostrated by an epidemic of diarrhoea which spared no one. They now thought they saw their end, but the contrary appeared to be the case. The diarrhoea seemed to relieve the scurvy, and the swollen limbs of the sufferers began to be less painful. They named the camp Vane de los Soldados de los Cursos, and Crespi applied the name of Santo Domingo to it. Unable to travel on the 25th and 26th, but resuming the march October 27th, they pressed forward. The next stop was Purisima creek, two short leagues distant, but the way was rough, and the pioneers had to make roads across three arroyos where the descents were steep and difficult for the transportation of the invalids. On the bank of the stream was an Indian ranchería, apparently deserted. The Spaniards took possession of the huts, but soon came running forth with cries of "las pulgas! las pulgas![28]" They preferred to camp in the open. The soldiers called the camp Ranchería de las Pulgas, while Crespi named it San Ibon. On the 28th they camped on Pilarcitos creek, site of Spanish town or Half Moon Bay. They named the camp El Llano de los Ansares - The Plain of the Wild Geese - and Crespi called it San Simon y San Judas. Every man in the command was ill; the medicines were nearly gone and the supply of food very short. They contemplated killing some of the mules. That night it rained heavily and Portolá, who was very ill, decided to rest on the 29th. On Monday, October 30th, they moved forward. Half Moon Bay and Pillar Point were noted but no names given. Several deep arroyos were crossed, some of which required the building of bridges to get the animals over. They proceeded up the shore until a barrier of rock confronted them and disputed the passage. Here in a rincon (corner) formed by the sierra and. sheltered from the north wind they camped while Ortega and his men were sent out to find a passage over the Montara mountains. A little stream furnished them with water and they named the camp El Rincon de las Almejas, on account of the mussels and other shell fish they found on the rocks. Crespi calls it La Punta del Angel Custodia. The site of the camp is about a mile north of the Montara fog signal. By noon of the next day, October 31st, the pioneers had prepared a passage over the bold promontory of Point San Pedro, and at ten o'clock in the morning the company set out on the trail of the exploradores and made their painful way to the summit. Here a wondrous sight met their eyes and quickened their flagging spirits. Before them, bright and beautiful, was spread a great ensenada, its waters dancing in the sunlight. Far to the northwest a point reached out into the sea, rising abruptly before them, high above the ocean. Further to the left, west-northwest, were seen six or seven white Farallones and finally along the shore northward they discerned the white cliffs and what appeared to be the mouth of an inlet. There could be not mistake. The distant point was the Punta de los Reyes and before them lay the Bahía ó Puerto de San Francisco. The saint had been good to them and with joy in their hearts they made the steep and difficult descent and camped in the San Pedro valley[29] at the foot of the Montara mountains.

Some of the company thought they had left the Port of Monterey behind but would not believe they had reached the Port of San Francisco. To settle the matter, the governor ordered Ortega and his men to examine the country as far as Point Reyes, giving them three days in which to report, while the command remained in camp in the Vallecito de la Punta de las Almejas del Angel de la Guarda, as Crespi calls it, combining the two names of the camp of October 30th and transferring them to the camp in San Pedro valley.

The next day, Thursday, November 2nd, being All Souls day, after mass some of the soldiers asked permission to go and hunt for deer. They climbed the mountains east of the camp and returning after nightfall reported that they had seen from the top of the mountain an immense estero or arm of the sea, which thrust itself into the land as far as the eye could reach, stretching to the southeast; that they had seen some beautiful plains thickly covered with trees, while the many columns of smoke rising over them showed that they were well stocked with Indian villages. This story confirmed them in the belief that they were at the Port of San Francisco, and that the estero described was that spoken of by Cabrera Bueno, the mouth of which they imagined they had seen from the Montara mountains[30]. They were now satisfied that Ortega would be unable to reach Point Reyes, and that three days was not sufficient time to go around the head of such an estero. The exploring party returned in the night of November 3d, discharging their fire-arms as they approached. They reported that they found themselves obstructed by immense estuaries which ran extraordinarily far back into the land[31], but what caused their rejoicing was that they understood from the signs of the Indians that at two days journey from where they were there was a port in which a ship was anchored. On this announcement, some thought that they were at the port of Monterey, and that the supply ship San Jose or the San Carlos was waiting for them. Crespi says that if they were not in Monterey, they were certainly in San Francisco.

On Saturday, November 4th, being the day of San Carlos Borromeo, in whose honor they had come to establish a royal presidio and mission in the Port of Monterey, and also the day of the king, Don Carlos III (que Dios guarde), the holy sacrifice of the mass was celebrated "in this little valley, beach of the Port (without the least doubt) of my father San Francisco." The men feasted liberally on the mussels which abounded on the nearby rocks, and which were pronounced large and good, and, in better spirits than they had been for some time, they took up their march at one o'clock in the afternoon. Proceeding a short distance up the beach, they turned into the mountains on their right, and from the summit beheld the immense estero o brazo del mar. Then descending into the Cañada de San Andres, they turned to the south and southeast, and traveling two leagues camped in the cañada at the foot of a hill, very green with low brush, and having a cluster of oaks at its base. The next two days they traveled down the cañada, coasting the estero, which they could not see for the low hills (lomeria) on their left, noting the pleasant land with its groves of oak, redwood (palo colorado), and madroño. They saw the tracks of many deer and also of bears. The Indians met them with friendly offers of black tamales and atole, which were gladly received by the half-starved Spaniards. They begged the strangers to go to their rancherías, but the governor excused himself, saying that he must go forward, and dismissed them with presents of beads and trinkets. On the 6th, they reached the end of the cañada, which suddenly turned to the east, and saw that the estero[32] was finished in a spacious valley. To the cañada they gave the name of San Francisco[33]. Traveling a short distance towards the east, they camped on a deep arroyo, whose waters came down from the sierra and flowed precipitately into the estero. They were on the San Francisquito creek, near the site of Stanford University[34].

Having failed to get through to Point Reyes by the ocean beach route, Portolá now sent Ortega around by the contra costa giving him four days in which to explore the country and find the port containing the supply-ship.

Ortega with his exploradores, guided by some friendly Indians from the neighboring rancherías, set out after noon on November 7th and returned in the night of the 10th. He reported that he had seen no sign of port or ship, and was convinced he had not understood the information the Indians had tried to convey to him, and that the port of Monterey could not be in advance. They also reported that the country they had seen towards the north and northeast was impassable for the expedition, for the reason that the Indians had burned the grass and, in addition, were hostile and would dispute the passage. They said that they had encountered another immense estero on the northeast (Carquinez Strait), which also ran far inland and connected with the one on the southeast, and that to double it would take many leagues of travel[35].

During the absence of the explorers, the people of the expedition were compelled for want of meat to eat oak acorns, which caused them much suffering from indigestion and fever.

Portolá called a council of officers, on November 11th, to determine the best course to pursue. The decision was unanimous to return to the Point of Pines and renew the search for the elusive Puerto de Monterey, which they believed they had left behind. This was at once acted upon, and the command took up the march in the afternoon of that day, returning by the route of its coming, and on the 27th camped in sight of the Point of Pines at a little lake of muddy water. They had partly subsisted on wild geese which they shot, and on mussels gathered from the rocks of the coast. The following day, November 28th, they moved across the Point of Pines and camped in the cañada of the Cármelo, where was plenty of wood and good water from the river. After giving his men a rest, the governor sent ten soldiers, under command of Rivera, with six of the Indian pioneers, who undertook to guide them by the coast trails, with instructions to thoroughly explore the coast to the south and see if the Port of Monterey was concealed in some "rincon" of the Sierra de Santa Lucia.

The exploring party returned on Monday, December 4th, at night. They were tired out with their travels over the rough mountain trails, and they reported that no port of Monterey existed south of their camp; that the mountains belonged to the Sierra de Santa Lucia, and that there was no passage along the shore.

Vizcaino had said that Monterey was just north of the Sierra de Santa Lucia. "It is all that can be desired for commodiousness and as a station for ships making the voyage to the Philippines, sailing whence they make a landfall on this coast. This port is sheltered from all winds * * * and is thickly settled with people, whom I found to be of gentle disposition, peaceable, and docile; * * * they have flax like that of Castile, and hemp, and cotton,"[36] etc.

The commander knew not what to think. What should be a great port, protected from all winds, was but an ensenada; what should be the Rio Cármelo was but an arroyo; what should be great lakes were but lagunillas; "and where, too, were the people, so intelligent and docile, who raised flax and hemp and cotton?" Costansó says that in their entire journey, they found no country so thinly populated, nor any people more wild and savage than the few natives whom they met here. It is not strange that Portolá failed to recognize, in the broad ensenada, Vizcaino's Famoso Puerte de Monterey.

The situation of the command was becoming very grave. The food supply was almost gone. They had killed a mule, but only the Indians and the Catalonians would eat it. The commander called a council of officers, on December 6th, and told them the condition of affairs. They had not found the port they had come in search of, he said, and had no hope of finding it or the vessel that should have succored them; they had but fourteen half sacks of flour left; winter was upon them, the cold was becoming excessive, and snow was beginning to fall in the mountains. He invited free discussion, but postponed the decision until the next day, that all might have time for reflection. On December 7th, after hearing mass, the junta again met. Some were for remaining where they were until the provisions were entirely consumed, and then retreat, relying on the mules for food during the journey to San Diego; others thought it better to divide the party, one-half to remain and the other return to San Diego. Both projects were carefully discussed, and both presented difficulties. The prevailing sentiment seemed to favor a return, and the governor announced his determination. They would return to San Diego at once, he said, for if the snow should close the mountain passes, the whole expedition would be lost.

A violent storm arose in the afternoon, which lasted until the night of December 9th, delaying the march.

On Sunday, December 10th, they began the retreat from Monterey. Before leaving Cármelo Bay, they set up a large cross on a little hill on the shore of the ensenadita, and on it, cut into the wood, the legend: "Dig; at the foot you will find a writing." A message was put into a bottle and buried at the foot of the cross. It gave the facts of the expedition, its commander, date of starting, the dates of entering the channel of Santa Barbara, of passing Point Concepcion, of the passage of the Santa Lucia mountains, of the sight of Punta de Pinos, of Point Reyes, etc.

"The expedition desired to reach Point Reyes, but some esteros intervened which ran far inland, which required a long journey to go around, and other difficulties (the chief of which was the want of provisions), made it necessary for us to return, believing that the Port of Monterey might perhaps be near the Sierra de Santa Lucia, and thinking that we might have passed it without observing it. We left the estero of San Francisco on our return on the 11th of November. We passed the Punta de Año Nuevo on the 19th of said month, and reached the second time this Port and Ensenada de Pinos on the 27th of the same."

It states that from that day to this they have made diligent search for the port of Monterey, but in vain, and now, despairing of finding it, their provisions nearly gone, they return to San Diego. Then follows the latitude at various points as observed by Costansó. It requests the commanders of the San Jose or San Antonio, if they, or either of them, should be informed of the contents of the letter and the condition of the expedition, to sail down the coast as near the land as possible, that the expedition might sight and obtain succor from them.

The march that day was across the Point of Pines, one league and a half, and they camped on the shore of Monterey Bay, where they erected another cross with an inscription announcing their departure. On the 11th, they ascended the Salinas and began to retrace the route of their coming. They killed many geese, which relieved their necessities somewhat, and on the 21st were clear of the Santa Lucia mountains. The hungry soldiers stole flour, and to prevent further theft, the comandante divided the remainder among them. On the 28th the command was stuck fast in a mudhole near San Luis Obispo, and were unable to say mass, though it was a feast day[37]. On January 3d, they passed Point Concepcion. Here, among the Channel Indians, food was abundant, their severe trials were over, and the health of the command improved daily. Instead of following up the Santa Clara river, they crossed the Santa Susana mountains, into the San Fernando valley, and followed down the Los Angeles river, crossed the Santa Ana, January 18th, and reached San Diego, January 24, 1770, with the command in good health and without the loss of a man, "with the merit of having been compelled to eat the flesh of male and female mules, and with not having found the Port of Monterey, which we judged to have been filled up by the great sand dunes which were in the place where we had expected to find it."[38]

Portolá found a joyful welcome at the little camp at San Diego. Many had died, and Junípero and Father Parron were just recovering from scurvy. No tidings were yet received from the San Antonio. The commander made a careful inventory of supplies, and reserved enough to march to Velicatá in case the San Antonio did not appear when the remainder should be exhausted. This, he calculated, would be a little after the middle of March, and the 20th of that month was fixed as the date of departure, very much to the disappointment of the priests. On February 11th Rivera was sent to Velicatá with a guard of nineteen or twenty soldiers, to bring up the cattle and supplies that had been left there.

After sundown of the day before that appointed for the departure, a sail appeared in the distance. It was the San Antonio, just in time to prevent the abandonment of San Diego. She brought abundant supplies, and Portolá prepared for a second expedition in search of the Port of Monterey. Captain Vila of the San Carlos declared, when the details of the search were related to him, that the place where they erected the second cross was the long-lost Port of Monterey.

On April 16th the San Antonio sailed for Monterey, carrying Junípero, Costansó, Prat, and a cargo of stores for the new mission. On the 17th, Portolá set out by land with Fages, twelve Catalan volunteers, seven soldados de cuera, Crespi, two muleteers, and five natives. At San Diego was left Vila with his mate and five sailors on the San Carlos, Fathers Parron and Gomez, with Sergeant Ortega and eight soldados de cuera as guard, and Rivera arrived in July with over eighty mules laden with supplies, and one hundred and sixty head of cattle.

Portolá followed the same route that he took on the retreat from Monterey, and on May 24th arrived at the Ensenada Grande under Punta de Pinos, near the cross they had erected, December 10th. Selecting a place for the camp, Portolá took Fages, Crespi, and a soldier for guard, and went to the cross to see if any vessel had visited the spot. They found around the cross a ring of arrows stuck in the ground, some of which were decked with feathers; others had fish and meat attached to them, while at the foot of the cross was a small pile of shell-fish. As Portolá, Fages, and Crespi walked along the beach and looked out over the bay and noted its calm and placid waters, with its swimming seals and spouting whales, they broke forth with one voice, "This is the Port of Monterey which we have sought. It is exactly as reported by Sebastian Vizcaino and Cabrera Bueno."[39]

Remembering the good water at the camp on the Rio del Cármelo, Portolá ordered the expedition to Cármelo Bay by direct line, while he, with Fages and Crespi, proceeded around the Point of Pines. They found it well covered with pine trees, many of them large enough for masts of a ship. They also came upon a grove of cypress at a point beyond (Cypress Point), and arrived at camp after a walk of four good leagues. Here they awaited the arrival of the San Antonio.

On May 31st the paquebot was sighted near Point Pinos. The soldiers made signals, to which the ship replied with her guns, and before night had dropped her anchor in Monterey Bay, which was pronounced by the sailors to be a most famous port.

On the 3d of June, 1770, under a shelter of branches near the oak where, in 1602, Vizcaino's Cármelite friars had celebrated mass, Don Gaspar de Portolá, with his officers, soldiers, and people of the land expedition, Fray Junípero Serra and Fray Juan Crespi, Don Juan Perez, captain of the San Antonio, Don Miguel del Pino, his second in command, together with the crew, assembled to establish a presidio and mission. The father president chanted the mass and preached from the Gospel, while the musical deficiency was made good by repeated discharges from the guns of the San Antonio and volleys from the muskets of the soldiers. At the conclusion of the religious ceremonies, Don Gaspar de Portolá, governor of the Californias, took possession of the country in the name of his majesty Don Carlos III, King of Spain, and the presidio and mission of San Carlos de Borromeo de Monterey were founded and established, the first presidio and second mission in California.

In accord with the orders of the visitador-general, Portolá now delivered to Lieutenant Fages, as comandante of California, the command of the new establishments, sailed on the San Antonio, July 9th, for San Blas, and California knew him no more.

[1] Sierra de Santa Lucia.

[2] Audiencia, the highest judicial body.

[3] The system of encomienda conferred feudal rights upon the discoverers. The Indians became vassals of Spanish lords.

[4] Vizcaino says he set out on the discovery of the coast of the South Sea with two ships, a lancha, and a barcoluengo. A lancha was a small vessel having no deck and but one mast, and propelled by sweeps. Vanegas calls the vessel a fragata. A barcoluengo, or barcolongo, was a long open boat.

[5] The second voyage of Vizcaino is of particular interest to Californians for the reason that the names given by him to the various geographical features of the coast still remain. The particulars of the first voyage are taken largely from the publications of the Southern California Historical Society of documents in the Sutro collection.

[6] Sutro Col. Pub. Southern California Hist. Socy.

[7] Prof. George Davidson identifies the Rio de los Reyes as Rogue River in 42° 25'.

[8] About Cape San Quintin, the latitude of their northernmost mission.

[9] Instruccion qua ha de observer el Teniente de Infanteria. Dn Pedro Pages, 5 enero de 1769. Provincial State Papers; i, 38.9, Ms. Spanish Archives of California.

[10] So-called from the cuera, a leathern jacket worn by them as a defensive armor.

[11] Out West. March-July, 1902.

[12] Pancakes.

[13] Dead Men's Point. The name has disappeared from the modern maps, but is found on all of the old ones. It is the foot of H street where the cars for the Coronado ferry turn on to the wharf.

[14] I am well aware that this claim will be disputed by one whose study of original documents and power of analysis make him perhaps the greatest authority on early California History; but I am nevertheless prepared to maintain my position.

[15] Carga, 275 lbs.

[16] Hence the presidial soldiers were called Soldados de Cuera and so distinguished from soldiers of the regular army.

[17] Diario Historico de los viages de Mar y de tierra hichos al norte de la California. Ms. Original in Sutro Library.

[18] The league is the Spanish league of 5,000 varas. 2.63 miles.

[19] They also gave it the name of Santa Ana, whose day, July 26th, they had just observed.

[20] Sometimes called the Grand Pardon of Assisi - the great indulgence of the Franciscans. Originally granted to St. Francis for the Church of Our Lady of the Angeles of Porciúncula, it was, by apostolic indult, expanded to accompany the child of St. Francis wherever he may be. It is enough for him to erect an altar and that altar will be to him St. Mary of the Angels, and he will there find the Porciúncula of the revelations. Whoso confesses and receives the sacrament in the church of Porciúncula is granted plenary remission of his sins in this world and the next. This indulgence is only for August 2nd - that is, from the afternoon of August 1st until sunset of August 2nd.

[21] It is to this incident that the city of Los Angeles owes its name. The full baptismal name of the city is Nuestra Senora La Reina de los Angeles - Our Lady the Queen of the Angels. It was founded in 1781, by royal order, the second pueblo established in California.

[22] Ranchería is the name given to an Indian village or town.

[23] The Valley of the Bears.

[24] The diarists applied the word cañada to either a cañon or an open valley.

[25] The word ensenada, much used by the Spanish explorers, means a bight or open roadstead, not an enclosed and protected bay.

[26] "Transportar en Xamus al Modo que cominan las mujeres en Andalucia," Crespi: Palou's Noticias de la Nueva California, ii. 181.

[27] The names given on this portion of the route have all disappeared, but are here given as a suggestion to the Ocean Shore Railroad.

[28] The Fleas.

[29] It must be borne in mind that what they called the Bay or Port of San Francisco was that stretch of water reaching from Point Reyes to Point San Pedro and later known as the Gulf of the Farallones.

[30] Professor George Davidson says that what was seen by Portolá from the Montara mountains was the break in the Ballenos cliffs, a deep narrow valley which runs straight from Ballenos bay to Tomales bay, fourteen miles.

[31] The Golden Gate and Bay of San Francisco.

[32] The Bay of San Francisco continued to be called the "Estero," until some time after Colonel Anza established the presidio and mission of San Francisco in 1776.

[33] The present name, Cañada de San Andres, was given by Rivera, Nov. 30, 1714.

[34] On November, 1774, Rivera came up the peninsula on an exploring expedition and on the spot where he had camped with the first expedition in 1769, he planted a cross to mark the place for a mission. In March, 1776, Col. Juan Bautista de Anza, coming to select sites for the Presidio and Mission of San Francisco, notes this cross on the bank of the Arroyo de San Francisco (now San Francisquito creek), about one hundred paces above the great redwood tree, and says the plan for a mission there was abandoned because the creek was dry in summer. I note this explanation because an excellent authority has located Portolá's camp on Redwood creek.

[35] I give to Ortega the credit of discovering the Golden Gate and the Straits of Carquinez. The testimony seems sufficient to me.

[36] Vizcaino to the King, May 23, 1603. Pub. Hist. Socy. of Southern California, Vol. ii, Part 1.

[37] On the day of the Holy Innocents it was not possible to say mass. We are sorry for it, because it is the only feast day in all the journey up to the present that we have been without mass. We are stuck in a mud hole and are unable to move from the place where we are all wet through, and it is not possible to make a journada to a plain that is dry for this is bubbling up water - Crespi, Diario.

[38] Crespi: Diario.

[39] Palou: Noticias de la Nueva California.

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