IN THE TRANSLATION OF THIS MANUSCRIPT, I HAVE endeavored to retain the original style of the Spanish writer, and have adhered, as closely as practicable, to a literal version of the same.
It is apparent that Father Boscana intended to confine his description of the Indians to those who were made converts at the Point called St. Juan Capistrano; but I presume the same will correspond with the character of the natives generally, of Upper California. The mission of St. Juan was first founded in 1776, and, like those which preceded it, was conducted under the administration of two Friars of the St. Franciscan Order. Its domains were large, and distributed into numerous farms, for the purpose of domesticating cattle. A guard of three or four soldiers, and a sergeant, enforced the will of the missionaries, and kept in check such unfriendly Indians, as were not inclined to avail themselves of the advantages of civilization. Under this kind of administration, the natives were taught many trades; and became, not only useful to themselves, but also to the community. Hardly any attention was paid to the improvement of their minds, beyond the forms and rules of their religious belief, so that scarcely any of them could read, and none could write. They have been careful to preserve the traditions and customs of their ancestors, and are permitted to indulge in the observance of them, on their feast days, which occur several times during the year. Thus, I have had frequent opportunities to witness many of the absurdities, and extravagances, described by Father Boscana.
The manuscript ends rather abruptly; and it is uncertain if the holy Father ever intended it for publication. After his death, in 1831, it was found among his effects, with other writings, which came into the possession of the Syndic of the Missions, who kindly presented it to me. The reader will decide as to its merits.