Homex -> H. S. Crocker -> The March of Portolá and the Log of the San Carlos -> Causes that led to the Expedition of the San Carlos

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Causes that Decided the Government of Spain to Send an Expedition by Sea to Ascertain if there were any Russian Settlements on the Coast of California, and to Examine the Port of San Francisco.

Father Junípero Serra had difficulty in obtaining from Commandant Fages the soldiers necessary to found the missions that were projected and notwithstanding his old age, he decided to go to the capital of Mexico to lay before the authorities his troubles. He sailed from San Diego in the mail boat San Carlos October 19, 1772, but, stricken by fever in Guadalajara, did not reach Mexico till February 16, 1773.

Viceroy Bucareli, then in command of the colony, made the orders he considered necessary for California, but his orders would have had but little effect or would have followed the slow process of all official business, had not an outside incident given them force.

Count de Lacy, then Minister Plenipotentiary of Spain to St. Petersburg, communicated to the court in Madrid, that the Russians were exploring the coast of America. He corroborated his statement with copies of the newspapers of the Russian capital[41]. This news with the corroborating proofs was sent to Bucareli with the Royal edicts of April 11th and September 23, 1773.

The result of this information was to give a better organization to the maritime department of San Blas and better regulations for California. It was also ordered that a settlement should be made at San Francisco; that better means of communication be established between San Diego and Monterey, and that an expedition should be sent to ascertain if the Russians had made settlements on the coast of California.

[41] Manuel Orozco y Berra, Apuntes Airs. la Historia de la Geografia an Mexico, Anales del Ministerio de Formento de la Republica Mexicana Tomo VI, p. 269. Documents in the Archives of the Indies, Seville.

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