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Pedro Fages

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Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 381
Location: Monterey County, California

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:38 pm    Post subject: Pedro Fages Reply with quote

When Governor de Neve left California, Pedro Fages filled the post left vacant at Monterey, becoming Governor of California in 1782. He rose to this position, which he held for eight years, from a lieutenant of infantry, having commanded a company of Calatonian volunteers at San Diego for a time.

Chapman says of him: "Pedro Fages had many amiable and appealing qualities. He was brave, energetic, and dashing, and was conscientious. He was exceedingly fond of children. He was indeed hot-tempered, furthermore, he was devoted to Alta California, and not eager to get away, as his predecessors had been. This love for the province had one of its manifestations in the interest he took in his estate at Monterey. He had an orchard of some six hundred fruit trees, besides shrubs and grape vines, and was proud of it. So altogether, Californians should remember Pedro Fages as one of the best governors of the Spanish era."

Governor Fages was not alone as a hot-head; his wife, from all accounts, ran him a close second in this—if, she did not lead him. Having brought her to California only after much pleading, he had the pleasure then of listening to her constant nagging over existing conditions. Eulalia de Callis, the lady whom he had married, had, you must understand, come from a family of high quality; and, although in California she was the wife of the governor and also ranked as the first lady in social standing who had ever visited the province, conditions displeased her extremely.

When a daughter was born to her on the 3rd day of August, 1784, she announced imperiously that she was leaving California—at once! This evoked a landslide of trouble, and after a quarrel of about a year, Fages and his wife were reconciled, in September, 1785. Dona Eulalia, however, did not give up her attempts to get away from Alta California. In the very next month after their reconciliation she wrote a petition to the Audiencia of Guadalajara asking for Fages' removal on the alleged ground of his ill health. Fages did not know of the petition until after it had been sent. He then made every effort to head it off, and was successful. The documents do not say what happened in the meantime at the gubernatorial residence.

Dona Eulalia seems finally to have won the fight. Early in 1790, Fages himself asked to be relieved. His petition was granted, and Jose Antonia de Romen was appointed in his place. In the fall of 1790, as soon as the news reached Monterey, Eulalia and her children took the San Bias boat, and left the province. Fages had been told that he need not wait the coming of his successor, but he stayed on for another year, until October or Noverrber, 1791. He probably joined his family in Mexico City, and is supposed to have died in 1796.
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