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Jesuit Missionary Report 170 Years Ago

Jesuit Missionary Report 170 Years Ago image
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AHhough heavfm has been so liberal to tho inhabitants of California (Lower California, bolonging to Moxioo), and the earth produces spontaneously all that in othor places can only bo gainod by great toil and labor, thoro is yot no iustanoe of their aocumulating the wealth of the ooantry. Content to obtain what is neocssary i'or the support of lifo, thoy give thsmiolves little caro for anything boyond it. The eountryls thickly inhabited in tho interior and along the northern coast ; and, although ithere are scareoly nny sttlinonts but contain twonty,Jthirty, forty, or iif'ty families, yet thoy havo no dwellings. Tiie shado of tho trees defends thom from tho heat of the sun f hrough the duy, and they construct from the braohe and foliage a kind of roof to protect thom from unploasant wcather in {fce mghi. During the winter, they ehut tho Be3roa up iu caves, which are io'üo.v ";' i. in tho ground ; and thoro they remain, many together, difforing but little from the boasts. The uien are entirely naked - at least, those whoin we havo seon. They bind arouud their heada a band of very delicate workmanship, er kind of not-work ; and thoy oarry arounl their nocks, andjsoraetimes injhc;rj IlsuIs 'br ornament, different llgures of mofcher-oi-pearl, equally well eseoutod, and, witii much taste mingled with sraall berries, somewhat as wo do tlie boads of a ros:iry. Their arms are tho bow-and-arrows and tho spoar; but these thoy always carry in their hands, sometimos for the chaso and sometimes for dofense against tlicir eneinies - forthe inhabitauts ot the different villages are ttlmoat alwnys aa war witb each other. The wonicn aro elothed a littlo inoro modestly, woaring, froni the waist to the knoos, a kind of apron woven of reeds iike a very ímo mat. riioy cover their shoulders with the skins of boasts, and havo upon their hoads, like tho men, a vefy delioato net-worb. These nots are ao oonvenk'nt, that our soldirs uso thomi to fusten their h;iir. They havo also, like the men, eoUara of mother-of-poarl, . rainglod with the stoaes of fraits and "Shells, haugiug as low as thcir balts, and bracelots of tho samo niaterials as the coUais, Tho usual cmployment of both men and womon is spinuing. Tho thread is formod from fibroaa herbs, whioh supply to thom tlio pluoe of linan or homp ; or firom strin-y substuncos which thoy find in tho rind of certuin fraits. Of tho fino thread thoy make the ornaments wo have already mentioned, aitd af tbe oosrse kind they inanufaoture bags for diffwrant puvpo3es, and nets for fishing. Besides thLi, the men, with different kindsof herbs, the fibro6 of which aro very olo3e, and whioh they have grf!;'t skill, in using, inake a kind of dish aid kitchen uteneüs, Very novel, and of n!l sizos. The smallost piceos serve for cúps, the medium sizo for platea and, and somotimes for (yarasols, with which the ■wotnoii CCTvcr their hoads!; the largest aro usod as bsketa to gather their fruits, nd somotimes as pots and basins in which to cook them. But they take tho precaution, wliüc these vessels are ovor the fifo, to keep tliem constnntly moving, for foar the fliiiiea ghoTild touch them, in whioh caso thoy would be immcli;ttly bnröcd. Tho Califoniians are full of vivacity, and have a natural talent for raillery. Of ths luttcr they gave us proofs when we eommenoed instmeting ihcin ; for ns toou as wo made any mtstake in their laztguage, thoy begftn at onco to buntor and moek ns. After thoy had held more ooraainnioation with us, thoy contented ihemsolves with honestly pointing out the orrors which had eacaped us. And 89 to the meaning of a doctrine, when tbe time canje for us to explain the mysteries of our faith, or oertain poiuts of morality ■whdch wero at varianco with their prejudices or unciont errors, they w&itod for thü preacher af ter the sermón, and dispnted with him with both power and wit. If ho advanced forciblo argüments, thoy iistenod with docility ; aud if. he was jible to oonvince thern, thoy submitted, oud followed tho instructiorta preseribed them. "Wo have not found among them amy form of govornmont, and soarcely ny of religión, or of religious worship. They offer prayors to the moon ; and cut off their hair, which they givo to their priests, who uso it in different rites of giipTfitition. E.ich family iuLike3 its o-wn laws, according to its taste ; and it is this, apparently which causes them so often to be oiigagtd in conflicts with


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