An Overland Journey Round the World
Durng the Years 1841 and 1842
by Sir George Simpson,
Governor-in-Chief of the Husdon's Bay Company's Territories
Having celebrated New Year's day [of 1842] to the best of our ability, we made preparations for starting on Monday, the third of the month [January], to pay our respects to General [Mariano] Vallejo, who was residing at the mission of San Francisco Solano, situated, as already mentioned, [in Sonoma] on the northern side of the Bay of San Pedro.
Here we were received by Don Salvador Vallejo and Mr. Leese, our host's brother and brother-in-law.
Immediately after breakfast, our horses. were brought to the door; and we started to see the country, accompanied by Don Salvador [Vallejo], and an escort of three or four soldiers.
During the day, we visited a village of General Vallejo's Indians, about three hundred in number, who were the most miserable of the race that I ever saw, excepting always the slaves of the savages of the northwest coast. Though many of them are well formed and well grown, yet every face bears the impress of poverty and wretchedness; and they are, moreover, a prey to several malignant diseases, among which an hereditary syphilis ranks as the predominant scourge alike of old and young. They are badly clothed, badly lodged and badly fed. As to clothing, they are pretty nearly in a state of nature; as to lodging, their hovels are made of boughs wattled with bulrushes in the form of beehives, with a hole in the top for a chimney and with two holes at the bottom towards the northwest and the southeast, so as to enable the poor creatures, by closing them in turns, to exclude both the prevailing winds; and as to food, they eat the worst bullock's worst joints, with bread of acorns and chestnuts, which are most laboriously and carefully prepared by pounding and rinsing and grinding.
Though not so recognised by the law, yet they are thralls in all but the name; while, borne to the earth by the toils of civilization superadded to the privations of savage life, they vegetate rather than live, without the wish to enjoy their former pastimes or the skill to resume their former avocations. This picture, which is a correct likeness not only of General Vallejo's Indians, but of all the civilized aborigines of California, is the only remaining monument of the zeal of the church and the munificence of the state.