A New Plan to Destroy California’s Missions: August 2, 1833
The following text comes from our high school book, Lands of Hope and Promise: A History of North America. To see sample chapters of this book, go here. For ordering information on Lands of Hope and Promise and our other texts, please click here.
When Governor Echeandía ignored Monterey and set up his government at San Diego, he created a good deal of ill will in the north of California and awakened latent rivalries between the south and the north. But the governor proved he could unite the interests of the leaders of both parts of Alta California when, in July 1830, he lay before the diputación a plan to secularize the missions.
Echeandía proposed that, beginning with the missions nearest the presidios, the government should take control of the temporalities (lands and anything having to do with economic production) from the missionaries and deliver them to salaried officials. The friars would function essentially as parish priests, or they could depart to establish new missions in the interior. The neophytes would be granted a share in the mission lands. The plan, which would basically hand control of the the neophytes and their lands over to a small group of Californios who had long wanted to seize the missions to exploit them, was approved by the diputación and then sent to Mexico City for approval. (more…)