Mission Funds Diverted to Secular Colonization in California
92. [CALIFORNIA COLONIZATION]. MEXICO (Republic). LAWS (October 26, 1833). PRESIDENT (Antonio López de Santa-Anna). [Decree of October 26, 1833, stating that income from the secularized California missions may be used to support colonization.] [At top] Primera Secretaria de Estado. Departamento del Interior [text commences] El Exmo. Sr. Presidente de los Estados-Unidos Mexicanos se ha servido dirigirme el decreto que sigue…. Se faculta al Gobierno para que tome todas las providencias que aseguren la Colonización, y hagan efectiva la secularización de las misiones de Alta y Baja California…. [at end] México 26 de Noviembre de 1833.  pp. 4to (29.5 x 20.5 cm), on laid paper watermarked: Gioro Magnani Al Masso. Signed in type García. Except for minor wrinkling, very fine, with integral blank.
First edition of a fundamental document for the history of California. Howell 50, California 122. Streeter Sale 2469 (WRH-TWS copy). By this decree, income from the secularized California missions was diverted to the task of settling emigrants from Mexico in the two Californias (the missions had lost their exempt status earlier this year). Up to that time, the role of Alta California had been perceived as that of a penal colony or a land of exile, but now the plan was to create colonies consisting of teachers, farmers, artisans, craftsmen, etc. At the time, Mexico was struggling to populate its Borderland areas, and colonization incentives, including this one, were in full swing.
In response to these incentives, José María Híjar (Hart, Companion to California) and Jose Maria Padrés organized a company to send Mexican citizens to the newly available mission lands, the first major attempt to colonize California since 1781. Mexican President Gómez Farías not only authorized the expedition, but also appointed Híjar Governor of Upper California, an order that Santa-Anna quickly countermanded. When the group arrived in California, it was sent to settlements in the north, although the two principals were eventually sent back to Mexico by the California government.
This attempt to break the Church’s political power left its extensive land holdings in California in the hands of indigenous converts and lay administrators, but the land eventually passed to the rancheros. Laws confiscating the Pious Fund and otherwise crippling the California missions brought forth the famous protest by Carlos Antonio Carrillo published this same year under the title Exposición dirigida a la cámara de diputados (Zamorano Eighty 15).
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