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Victoria And The "Revolt"

 
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:22 pm    Post subject: Victoria And The "Revolt" Reply with quote

VICTORIA stood his ground. Knowing Jose Maria Padres to be the ring-leader in the growing disaffection in some quarters, Victoria ordered him deported. In November (1831) he was put aboard a brig, sailing out of Monterey for San Bias, and the territory, for a considerable time, was rid of him.

The banishment of their facile leader spurred the remaining members of the political group to concentrate their efforts upon exterminating Victoria. He must be gotten rid of. And so Victoria informed the home government, stating that the faction opposing him—the Mission-wreckers—would stop at nothing to drive him out of the country.

It came to pass.

The "revolution" started in San Diego, where Echeandia had remained, in communication with his conspirators at the capital and in the pueblo of Los Angeles.

Early in November, Juan Bandini, Pio Pico, Juan Antonio Carrillo (Pico's brother-in-law), and the wily Echeandia got together, put the former governor at their head, and the "revolution" was on.

The soldiers at the San Diego Presidio soon joined them (Bandini's influence), and with a feeble show of reluctance, Captain Pablo de la Portilla and Santiago Arguello came into camp.

On November 29th, they sent a proclamation—never a difficult thing for Latins—addressed to the "Mexican Citizens of Upper California" in grandiose language, explaining the reasons—their reasons—for the defection of the garrison. It was signed by Pico, Carrillo, Bandini, Echeandia, Captain de la Portilla, Santiago Arguello, Jose Maria Ramirez, Ignacio del Valle, Juan Jose Roche and Sergeant Andres Cervantes, comandante of the artillery. A determined group, lacking even a sense of humor. Their pronunciamento made the naive statement, "The Supreme Being, who possesses our hearts, knows the pure sentiments with which we set out."

Victoria had been warned of the brewing revolt. He set out from Monterey Presidio to meet the insurrectos, with a small force—thirty men—brought up to that number at Santa Barbara through the assistance of Captain de la Guerra and Romualdo Pacheco of Monterey. Pacheco himself joined the governor's command, though pointing out that their number was wholly inadequate. Bancroft is of the impression that Victoria must not have been aware of the desertion of Portilla's company, numbering one hundred and fifty.

In the encounter Pacheco was killed. Victoria, fighting on, received several wounds that disabled him.

The Echeandians lost one man—Jose M. Avila, with a few wounded. Portilla and his soldiers broke and ran, leaving Pio Pico, Echeandia and Bandini still in the field. Victoria was carried to Mission San Gabriel, where he lay in danger of death, nursed by the friars. As there were no physicians with the forces, Joseph Chapman, an interesting adventurer from the Seven Seas, attended him as surgeon. Under his care, Victoria survived, only to find himself deserted by all but a few of his men.

The hopelessness of the situation grew upon the governor as he slowly recovered. His health restored sufficiently to travel, he sent for his rival and resigned his command in his favor. Once again, Echeandia was in the saddle.

Victoria, disillusioned, left for Mission San Luis Rey, sailing for Mexico on the Pocahontas, January 17, 1832.

It had been a hard year. Defeat in the end.

Bancroft's observation that "had Victoria not been wounded he undoubtedly would have retaken Los Angeles" is interesting, reflecting the historian's estimate of the fighting spirit of the Portillans.
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