California in 1792: A Spanish Naval Visit (American by Donald C. Cutter

By Donald C. Cutter

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Extra resources for California in 1792: A Spanish Naval Visit (American Exploration & Travel Series)

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With time his efforts improved, and though he was never officially an artist with the main Malaspina group, he did have the distinction of being so named in association with the Sutil and Mexicana. The appointment also brought an elevation in both pay and status. The most complete version of the 1792 account of the voyage of the schoonersthe one translated here concerning the visit of those vessels to California early in the fall of 1792is in the clear handwriting of the artist Cardero. Concerning California, the earliest draft is almost four times as long as the version that was later accepted for publication in 1802.

The journalist gave the local Indians very little credit for basic intelligence. His lengthy negative assessment is double-barreled, since the personal investigations and observations were corroborated by earlier Jesuit evaluations of California Indians much farther south. Modern anthropologists are quick to defend local California Indian culture, but the Rumsen and Esselen Indians rated very low when judged by contemporary Spanish standards, even among the natural scientists with Malaspina, who were greatly interested in native cultures in their far-ranging studies.

With great diligence, and by dint of continuous effort, the small schooners did what was needed. Both the Malaspina group in 1791 and Sutil and Mexicana in 1792 made a brief stay at Monterey, capital of California. On both Page xiv occasions recuperation was the primary motive for such a stop on the way south back to Mexico. Both groups made reports on the little-known colony of Upper California, but these reports were not for immediate release. Malaspina's comments became part of his larger account, while the manuscript journal of the voyage of the Sutil and Mexicana was soon in demand because it contained material appropriate to the diplomatic negotiations resulting from the Nootka Sound Controversy, as the diplomatic problem with Great Britain has been called.

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