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THE JESUITS ON THE PACIFIC SLOPE
On the Pacific slope the frontiers of effective settle* ment marched northward by slow degrees into Arizona and Lower California. This advance was led throughout the seventeenth century by Spanish Jesuits/contemporaries of the better known Black Robes in Canada. Laboring in a much more propitious field, they were able to achieve more permanent results than their less numerous and less fortunate French brothers in the Canadian wilderness. / The Jesuits on the Pacific slope made important contributions to civilization. A large part of the population in this area today has sprung from ancestors, on one side or the other, who got their first touch of European culture in the Jesuit missions and most of the towns and cities of today have grown up on the sites of early missions.
Cm issions were an integral part of Spain's scheme of conquest./ Experience on the frontiers of Mexico, repeated^ in Florida, proved that the methods^ of such conquerors and pacificators as Guzman and De Soto had worked ill on the whole. A mass of legislation and royal instructions issued in the seventeenth century indicates that the authorities desired to approximate to that ideal of conquest through love for which Fray Luis Cancer had, long ago, laid down his life on the sands of Florida.
^The Indians had a definite place in the Spanishfe^ scheme. Apart from the fact that Indian wars were costly, Spain wished to have the natives preserved and rendered docile and contented wards of the government. She needed their toil, because of the dearth of Spanish laborers. Furthermore she lacked white settlers. She planned, therefore, to gather the Indians into permanent villages, to civilize them, and to use them as a bulwark against other European powers who might seek to!/ plant colonies on her territory.' Not to the conquistador could she look for f ilfillment of this design. For, though his contract bade him be tender, it offered him no means of enriching himself except through the fortuitous discovery of precious metals or pearls — or by plundering and exploiting the natives. Spain turned to the missionaries
f 190 THE SPANISH BORDERLANDS because the Indians were “well disposed to receive the friars” – as Mendoza had written to the King in describing Guzmán's devastations in Sinaloa“while they flee from us as stags fly in the forest.” In the early days of conquest in the West Indies and Mexico the control of the Indians had been largely in the hands of trustees, called encomenU deros. They were sec rsons, for the most part, entrusted Kēncomenda” means to entrust) with the conversion, protection, and civilization of the natives, in return for the right to exploit them. In theory the scheme was benevolent. But human nature is weak, and the tendency of the trustee was to give his attention chiefly to exploitation and to neglect his obligations. As a result the encomienda became a black spot in the Spanish colonial system. Efforts were made to abolish the evil, and by slow degrees some progress was achieved. | Then, too, as the frontiers expanded, the institution tended to die a natural death. A. Civilized Aztecs were worth the trouble of conquering; wild Apaches and warlike Creeks hardly, for the cost of subduing them was disproportionate to the returns from their labor. On the new frontiers, therefore, the care and
* Lowery, Spanish Settlements, vol. 1, p. 400.
control of the Indians was given over largely to the missionaries, aided by soldiers. ^The missionaries were expected to convert, civilize, and control the Indians, without the old abuses of exploitation. So it was that in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries missions became almost universal on the frontiers. ) They operated simultaneously in the still unsubdued areas of northern Mexico, and in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Lower California.
It was in 1591 that the Jesuits, having after vain^ labors abandoned the Atlantic coast, first entered Sinaloa to heal the wounds made by the conquerors, and to gather together, convert, and civilize the remains of the native population. As they went slowly northward, tribe by tribe, valley by valley, they founded missions beside the streams, attracted the natives to them by gifts and the display of religious pictures and images, baptized them, and gradually influenced them to collect in villages about the missions, to submit to the discipline of the padre in charge, to cultivate the soil, and to learn a few simple arts and crafts. By the middle of the seventeenth century they had>^ reached the upper Sonora valley. Meanwhile settlers had crept in behind the missionaries to engage
in mining, grazing, and agriculture. These little outposts on the Pacific coast mainland became a base for later developments in adjacent California. The man who led the way into Arizona and Lower California was one of the heroic figures of Ameri: can history-Eusebio Francisco Kino. This hardy Jesuit was born near Trent in 1645, of Italian parentage, and was educated in Austria. He distinguished himself as a student at Freiburg and Ingolstadt and, in consequence, was offered a professorship in mathematics at the royal university of Ba"varia. He rejected the offer and vowed himself to the missionary service, as a follower of Saint Francis Xavier, to whose intercession he attributed his recovery from a serious illness. He had hoped to go to the Far East, literally to follow in the footsteps of his patron, but there came a call for missionaries in New Spain and hither he came instead. Arriving in 1681, he proceeded two years later, as rector of missions, with an expedition designed to colonize the peninsula of California. The natives, though among the lowest in intelligence and morality of any tribes in America, were unwarlike and tractable on the whole. But a prolonged drought on the mainland, the base for supplies, caused the abandonment of the enterprise.