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California, the largest and most important of the Pacific Coast States, is the second State of the United States in point of area, and the twenty-first in point of population. It is bounded on the north by the State of Oregon; on the east by the State of Nevada and, for a comparatively short distance, by the Territory of Arizona; on the south by the Peninsula of Lower California (Mexico); and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. It lies entirely between 42° and 32° N. lat., and between 12°5 and 11°3 W. long. It is 800 miles long, running in a northwesterly and south-easterly direction, and has an average width of 200 miles. According to the official returns of the United States Census of 1900, its total area is 158,360 square miles. Of this number 2,188 square miles constitute the water area; the total land area, therefore, is 156,172 square miles. The capital of the State is Sacramento, with a population (1900) of 29,000. San Francisco, built on San Francisco Bay, is the metropolis, with a population (1900) of 342,000. The other chief cities, with a population according to the United States Census of 1900, are Los Angeles, 102,000; Oakland, 66,000; San José, 21,000; San Diego, 17,000; Stockton, 17,000; Alameda, 17,000; Berkeley and Fresno, 12,000. These figures have been enormously increased since 1900. The estimated population of the three largest cities in January, 1907, was as follows: San Francisco, 400,000; Oakland, 276,000; and Los Angeles, 245,000.
The State presents two systems of mountains which converge at Mount Shasta, in the north, and Tehachapi, in the south. The outer, or western, range is called the Coast Range, and is close to the sea, in some places coming down precipitately to the water's edge; the eastern range is called the Sierra Nevada. The latter is considerably higher than the former, and in several peaks reaches a height of more than 14,000 feet. The Sierra Nevadas extend along the eastern border of the State for about 450 miles; they are but a portion, physically, of the Cascade Range, which traverses also the States of Oregon and Washington. The Sierra Nevada Range is practically unbroken throughout the entire length of the State of California, the Coast Range is broken by the magnificent harbour of San Francisco. Both of these ranges follow the general contour of the coast line. Between them lies a great valley which is drained by the Sacramento River in the north and the San Joaquin River in the south. These two rivers, navigable by steamers for about 100 miles from their mouth in San Francisco Bay, constitute a great parent water-system of California, and both empty into the harbour of San Francisco, which is situated approximately midway between the northern and southern extremities of the State. The Sierra Nevada Mountains form the great watershed from which are fed most of the rivers and streams of California. The combined valleys of the Sacramento and the San Joaquin rivers are approximately 500 miles long, and have an average width of 50 miles. This area, the surface of which is quite level, is one of the most fertile regions in the world.
In addition to those already mentioned, the divisions of the mountain ranges form numerous smaller valleys. The principal of these are Sonoma, Napa, Ukiah, Vaca, Contra Costa, and Alameda valleys in the north; and Santa Clara, Pajaro, and Salinas valleys in the south. South of the Tehachapi Range, in Southern California, is another low-lying stretch of country which has become the centre of the citrus industry and the home of a large variety of semi-tropical fruits. In the south-eastern part of the State and east of the mountains is the low-lying desert region consisting of the Mojave Desert and Death Valley. Owing to the great height of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and their comparative proximity to the sea, the numerous streams, fed from their glaciers and perpetual snows, afford abundant water-power throughout their steep descent to the sea. This power is utilized for generating light and operating mills and factories.
California has one of the finest harbours in the world, San Francisco Bay, capable of accommodating the combined navies of the world. There are five other bays forming good harbours, San Diego, San Pedro, Humboldt, Santa Barbara, and Monterey bays. The 800 miles of California's length from north to south are equal to the combined length of ten States on the Atlantic seaboard; the northern line of California is on the same latitude as Boston, and the southern line is that of Savannah, Georgia. The entire state is subject to the beneficent influence of the Japan Current. The climate is equable; except in the high mountains, snow and the extremes of cold, experienced in the same latitudes on the Atlantic Coast, are unknown. There are, in reality, but two seasons: the wet and the dry. The wet or rainy season lasts from about September to April, during which the rains are occasional, alternating with clear weather. During the entire summer the winds from the west and southwest blow over the coast, keeping the weather cool, and not infrequently bringing in cold fogs towards evening. But it is chiefly in the balminess of its winters that the climate of California excels. It is never too cold to work outdoors, and the citrus fruits, semi-tropical as they are, grow to perfection throughout the valleys of California. The records of the climate left by early Franciscan missionaries who evangelized California are duplicated by those of the Government Weather Bureau of today.
The population of California, according to the United States Census of 1900, is 1,485,053, or 9.5 per square mile. This figure constitutes an increase of 22.7 percent upon the population of 1890. The following table, taken from the United States Census of 1900, exhibits the population of California in each census year since its admission into the Federal Union, its rank among the States in point of population, and the percentage of increase in its population during the period of ten years between each census:
|Year||Rank||Population||Percentage of Increase|
The census of 1900 also presents the following details of population: (a) White, 1,402,727; African, 11,045; Indian, 15,377; Chinese, 45,753; Japanese, 10,151. (b) Native-born, 1,117,813; Foreign-born, 367,240; (c) Males, 820,531; Females, 664,522. The estimated population of California (January, 1907) is 2,217,897, an increase of 732,844, or 49.3 percent since the census of 1900.
The soil of the State of California is rich and highly productive. It consists for the most part of alluvial deposits. This is especially true of the delta lands of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. Much of the so-called desert land consists of a rich subsoil covered with but a thin crust of sand. The value of irrigation in making this desert land productive, as well as in enriching the soil by bearing to it the washed-out life-principles from the uplands, is almost incalculable. The soil readily responds to the plough, and there is no hard, tough subsoil to be turned and mellowed. California has approximately 40,000,000 acres of arable land. To this must be added fully 10,000,000 acres of its so-called desert land, which needs but the touch of water from its irrigation systems to make it as productive as the valley or farm lands. The remaining 50,000,000 acres of California's domain, the mountainous and desert acreage, afford pasturage for millions of cattle and sheep. The chief products of the soil of California are hay, grain, fruits, wines, lumber, dairy produce, and livestock. It may be safely said that, in the combined values of these products, California is the richest in the United States. Ships loaded with her grain at San Francisco Bay carry their precious cargoes to every port in the world; her fruits, packed in special cars and shipped by fast freight, are the first choice in Chicago and New York, and find a ready market in London; her wines have given a standard of excellence to American wines, and "American wines" means "California wines" the world over.
The total value of all California's agricultural products, according to the census of 1900, was $131,690,606. The value of the output in 1906 reached the total of $213,000,000. The following table presents the total output of agricultural products in detail for the year 1906:
Asparagus 23,000,000 pounds
Almonds 4,200,000 pounds
Apricots 585,000 pounds
Apples 132,455,000 pounds
Beans 125,000,000 pounds
Barley 24,000,000 bushels
Brandy 4,070,992 gallons
Citrus Fruits 18,220,000 boxes
Canned Fruits and Veg. 4,475,751 cases
Corn 2,000,000 bushels
Cherries 5,382,000 pounds
Figs 45,000 pounds
Grapes 73,224,000 pounds
Hops 73,000 bales
Hay 3,000,000 tonnes
Lumber 900,000,000 feet
Pears 54,390,000 pounds
Peaches 21,015,000 pounds
Plums 43,938,000 pounds
Prunes 180,000,000 pounds
Raisins 100,000,000 pounds
Other Dried Fruit 41,000,000 pounds
Olive Oil 51,000 gallons
Potatoes 6,500,000 bushels
Walnuts 12,800,000 pounds
Wool 22,000,000 pounds
Wheat 4,700,000 centals
Wine 41,000,000 gallons
The total annual output of fruit from California farms is $40,000,000, and this is made up of all known fruits that grow in temperate and semi-tropical climates. In the year 1906 there were 30,000,000 fruit trees in California; this figure does not include nuts, figs, olives, or berries. Six million of these fruit trees belong to Santa Clara Valley alone. The principal fruit trees are as follows: apple trees, 4,000,000; apricot trees, 3,500,000; cherry trees, 1,000,000; peach trees, 4,500,000; pear trees, 2,000,000; orange trees, 6,000,000; lemon trees, 2,000,000. There are 272,500 acres of land devoted to the cultivation of grapes: 250,000 for wine, and 22,500 for table grapes.
The total value of the output in manufactures in 1900, according to the census, was $302,874,761. In 1906 it amounted to $400,000,000. The chief elements contributing to California's success in manufactures are an abundance of raw material from her soil, cheap fuel from her forests, and cheap power from her streams. The heaviest items of manufacture are sugar, lumber and timber products, flour, machinery, and leather goods. During 1906 the total output of sugar was 62,110 tons. The discovery of rich deposits of petroleum has given an impetus to manufactures that is already far-reaching in its results. In 1900 there were 12,582 manufacturing plants in California, representing a total investment of $205,395,025, and giving employment to 98,931 persons; the sum paid out for labour was $55,786,776, and for materials, $188,125,602.
Mining is still one of the most important industries of California, notwithstanding that the flood of population first lured to her mountains by the discovery of gold has long ago been turned to agriculture and commerce. There are some forty-seven mineral substances now being mined in the State. The value of the total output in 1900 was $28,870,405. In 1906 it was over $54,000,000. Gold, petroleum, and copper are now the most valuable items of this output. In the same year there were 1,107 producing mines in the State. The value of the gold output was $19,700,000; silver, $2,460,000; copper, $3,750,000; quicksilver, $904,000; petroleum, $10,000,000. It is estimated that in the petroleum industry alone the total investment is more than $20,000,000; 35,000,000 barrels of oil were produced in 1906. There are also large and valuable deposits of brick and pottery clays, lime, asphaltum, bitumen, and iron ore.
Twenty-two per cent of the area of the State is forest-clad, and the importance of the lumber industry in California increases each year as the mountains of the east and the north are denuded of their trees. California is the home of the redwood (Sequoia). These remarkable trees attain a height of three hundred feet in the famous groves of Big Trees in Mariposa and Calveras Counties. Redwood and pine are the two principle woods. It is estimated that, without the growth of another tree, the forests of California can not be exhausted for two hundred years. San Francisco alone sends 400,000,000 feet of lumber to the world each year. The total output of the State for 1906 was 900,000,000 feet. There are $16,000,000 invested in the industry, 250 mills, and the value of the total output, together with the by-products of the forests, is $17,000,000--the lumber itself amounting to $8,500,000.
Throughout the splendid harbour of San Francisco passes by far the greatest part of the ocean commerce of California, as well as of the entire Pacific Coast. The harbours of the State now carry on an ocean commerce of about $100,000,000 per year, the precise figure for 1906 being: imports $49,193,303; exports $45,479,422. The total foreign commerce of the State for 1900 was $119,212,911, and in 1906 San Francisco was fourth among the cities of the United States in point of customs receipts. Besides the ocean commerce of California with every port of the world which passes through her harbours, she has direct communication by rail with every quarter of the United States. Four great transcontinental railroads carry her goods and passengers to and from her cities, and a fifth is now (1907) nearing completion. In 1900 the total railroad mileage of the State was 5,532.
The educational system of the State commences with primary schools and continues through grammar schools and high schools, culminating in the State University. These are all public schools, being supported by the State and counties, and affording free education to all. The State Constitution creates the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction; it also provides for a superintendent of schools for each of the fifty-seven counties of the State. It makes provision for the maintenance of the public school system, and directs that the proceeds of all public lands and of all escheated estates shall be appropriated to the support of the common schools. The State University is situated at Berkeley on the Bay of San Francisco. It was created by act of the legislature on 23, March, 1868, and this act is confirmed by the present constitution (that of 1879), making the organization and government of the university perpetual. The university is designed for the education of male and female students alike, and in fact the principle of co-education is recognized and put in practice in nearly all state educational institutions.
The total number of professors, including the various officers of instruction and research, in the University of California, for the year ending 30 June, 1906, was 318, as follows: academic, 252; art, 9; Lick Astronomical Observatory, 9; law, 6; medicine, 34; pharmacy, 8. The total number of students for the same period was 3,338, of whom 2,007 were men, and 1,331 women, the women being nearly 40 percent of the total enrollment. This percentage is far higher in the Colleges of Letters, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences, in which, as an average, the women outnumber the men more than two to one. The College of Agriculture, as well as several other technological colleges, including the College of Mechanics, the College of Mining, the College of Commerce, the College of Civil Engineering, and the College of Chemistry, are designed to afford a complete technical training in their respective branches. The Affiliated Colleges of the University, being the schools of Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Dentistry, are situated in San Francisco; there are several experiment stations for which the university receives $15,000 annually from the Federal Government; and there is a State University Farm of 780 acres at Davisville. The university has been the recipient of munificent endowments both from the State and from private persons. In addition to these, and the proceeds of public land already mentioned, a direct tax of two cents on every $100 of taxable property in the State is levied, and applied to the support of the university. But four of the fifty-seven counties of the State have no high school, and some counties have several. There are also five normal schools, situated respectively at San Francisco, Los Angeles, San José, San Diego, and Chico. In addition to these there are night schools, technical schools, and commercial schools in all the large cities of the State.
The public school system of the State was founded in the constitutional convention at Monterey, in September, 1849. The 500,000 acres of land granted by Congress to new States for the purpose of internal improvement were appropriated to constitute a perpetual school fund. It was also provided that a school should be kept in each district at least three months each year to secure any share of the State school funds. In the school year ending 30 June, 1906, there were 3,227 primary and grammar schools in the State, and 117 high schools. The total number of teachers in the public schools was 9,371; the total number of pupils, 321,870. The total number of pupils in private schools was 43,080. California has been more than lavish in her provision for her public school system. The total income of her public schools during the scholastic year 1905-06 was $11,494,670.29. The total value of public school property for the same year was $23,860,341. This does not include the State University. The total income of the State University for the same period was $1,564,190. The Leland Stanford Junior University is situated at Palo Alto. It was founded by Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford as a memorial to their only child. The total value of the endowments given to the university by its founders reaches the astonishing figure of $26,000,000. Like the University of California, it is co-educational, but the number of women students is limited to 500. The university was opened to students in 1891.
The work of religious education in California is confined almost exclusively to institutions under Catholic auspices. In California the Catholic Church, notwithstanding that she receives no financial aid from the State, and that the support of her schools and colleges must be derived entirely from contributions of the faithful, has done great things in the cause of Christian education. The great pioneers of Catholic education in California were the Jesuits. In 1851 Santa Clara College was founded by the venerable Father John Nobili, S.J. This was followed, four years later, by the establishment of St. Ignatius College in San Francisco under the leadership of the Rev. Anthony Maraschi, S.J. From the days of these small beginnings the zeal of those charged with the education of Catholic youth has been untiring, progress has been steady, and the results already achieved have more than compensated for the sacrifices and expenditures which the work entailed. The following figures for the year 1907 will give some idea of the importance of Catholic education in California: 1 archdiocesan seminary, 5 seminaries of religious orders, 1 normal school, 11 colleges, academies and high schools for boys, 47 academies for girls, 73 parochial schools, 31,814 young people under Catholic care . Besides the institutions just mentioned there are numerous orphan asylums, industrial school, infant asylums, day homes and a protectory for boys to which is attached a boys' industrial farm at Rutherford. In addition to the colleges in charge of the Jesuits already mentioned, the Christian Brothers conduct Sacred Heart College in San Francisco, and St. Mary's College in Oakland. St. Vincent's College, in Los Angeles, is under the care of the Vincentian Fathers. There are several other universities and colleges, as well as numerous grammar, primary and secondary schools and kindergartens, under private management.
The origin of the name California has been the subject of some conjecture; but certain it is that by the end of the sixteenth century it was applied to all the territory claimed by the Spanish Crown, bordering on the Pacific Ocean and lying north of Cape San Lucas. In a much later day it came to designate, under the familiar phrase, "The Two Californias", the territory now included in the State of California, and the Peninsula of Lower California. After Florida, California is the oldest name of any of the United States. The land was discovered by the Spaniards--Lower California by Cortez who visited the peninsula in 1533; and Alta or Upper California by Cabrillo, in 1542. Lower California had been evangelized by the Jesuits who established eighteen missions between 1697 and 1767. Upon the expulsion of the Jesuits in the latter year, the care of the missions and the conversion of the Indians in the Spanish settlements were entrusted to the Franciscans. To them therefore belongs the honour of founding the great mission system of California proper. The leader of this gigantic work was the renowned Father Junípero Serra, and his first settlement in California was the mission of San Diego, which he established in July, 1769. San Francisco was founded in 1776. For fifteen years the saintly man laboured in California with apostolic zeal, and at the time of his death in 1784, he established nine missions between San Diego and San Francisco. The total number of missions founded in California by the Franciscans was twenty-one, and they extended from Sonoma in the north to San Diego in the south. Prominent among them were Santa Clara, San Luis, Obispo, Santa Barbara, and San Juan Capistrano. The missions were all established under the sovereignty of the King of Spain; each mission had its church, a residence for the fathers, a presidio, or military guard, and shops and workrooms for the Indians, who, besides receiving instruction in the Faith, were taught the useful arts of civilization. (See CALIFORNIA MISSIONS.) Each mission was established in conjunction with a Spanish settlement under a civil governor, and during this period, the immigration was almost exclusively Spanish and Mexican. In 1822 California ceased to be a Spanish colony and became part of the territory of Mexico. From that date begins the decline of the missions; the policy of the government became one of annoyance, interference, and aggression. Finally, in 1834, began the secularization of the missions, which was in fact their downright confiscation. The Fathers were deprived of their lands and buildings; and the Indians freed from the benevolent government of the friars.
The results were disastrous. The Indians were scattered and dispersed, and many of them lapsed into barbarism. The missions themselves were destroyed. This confiscation forms one of the saddest injustices in history. The temporal wrongs done at this time were partially righted in 1902 by the award of the International Tribunal of Arbitration at The Hague, in the case of the Pious Fund, which adjudged the payment by Mexico to the United States for the Catholic Church in California, of the accrued interest of the Fund. When taken over by President Santa Anna in 1842, the total value of the Pious Fund estates was estimated at $1,700,000. In 1826 the first emigrant train of Americans entered the present territory of California. From that year onward there was a gradual influx of Americans, most of whom engaged in trading, hunting, prospecting, cattle-raising, and farming. As the American population increased there were frequent misunderstandings and clashes with the Mexican authorities, some of them not altogether creditable to the Americans. Commodore Jones made an unauthorized seizure of Monterey in 1842. The United States Government subsequently disavowed his acts and made apologies to Mexico.
In 1846 a party of Americans seized Sonoma, captured the commandant, and proclaimed the independence of the Republic of California. The young republic chose the Bear Flag as its emblem. In a few weeks news was received of hostilities between the United States and Mexico; the Bear Flag gave place to the American Flag; and Monterey, San Francisco, Sonoma, and Sutter's Fort were soon in the hands of the Americans. California was finally ceded to the United States, on the conclusion of the war with Mexico, by the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo, proclaimed 4 July, 1848. In January, 1848, gold was discovered by James W. Coloma, on the American River. The news spread like wildfire, and by the early part of 1849 a mighty tide of immigration had set in. The gold-seekers came from every section of the United States, and from Europe. In that year more than 80,000 men arrived in California. These men were afterwards called the "Forty-niners". Some of them came from Australia; some, from New York and Europe by way of Cape Horn; some crossed the Isthmus of Panama; while a large number came across the plains in caravans, on horseback, and even on foot. Fortune awaited thousands of these pioneers in the rich placer mines, and California became the richest gold-producing State in the United States. But thousands of those who were unsuccessful in their quest for gold, found even greater and more lasting wealth in tilling the rich soil and engaging in commerce. After the excitement caused by the discovery of gold had subsided, a steady stream of immigration began, and continues to the present time. The foreign immigrants have been chiefly Irish, German, English, Canadian, Italian, and French, though there are also considerable numbers of Portuguese and Swedes. As shown in the tables already presented, more than seventy five percent of the total population in 1900 was native-born.
So rapid was the growth of population after the discovery of gold, that in 1849 a constitution was adopted by the convention at Monterey, and California was admitted into the Union of States by Act of Congress on 9 September, 1850. That day has ever since been a legal holiday, and is generally celebrated and referred to as Admission Day. Peter H. Burnett was elected first governor of the new state and served during 1851 and 1852. All sorts of men found their way into the new El Dorado, as it was called. Most of them were hardy, industrious, and honest--these were the true pioneers. But there was a considerable admixture of the reckless and daredevil element, criminals and desperadoes, who sought fortune and adventure in the new gold diggings. In 1851 there was a veritable carnival of crime in San Francisco which the lawfully constituted authorities were unable to suppress. The citizens of the city organized themselves into a Vigilance Committee and punished crimes and criminals in summary fashion. The members of the committee were known as "Vigilantes", and were for the most part honest and reputable men, who resorted to these measures only from motives of necessity and duty, in the disturbed condition of the government. A similar condition arose again in 1856 and was met by the same remedy. It must be said that the trials of the Vigilance Committee, while informal, were in the main fair, and the punishments inflicted richly deserved.
Large numbers of Chinese coolies had emigrated to California ever since 1850; the influx was greatest during the building of the Central Pacific Railroad which was completed in 1869. A strong anti-Chinese sentiment developed, due chiefly to three principal objections made against them: they worked for wages much lower than white men; they spent little of their earnings; they rarely established homes, but lived together in large numbers and in unclean surroundings. The agitation grew to tremendous proportions, provoked serious riots, and finally resulted in the so-called Chinese exclusion acts which have been enacted periodically by Congress since 1882. There were at one time over 100,000 Chinese in California. In 1900 the number had decreased to 45,753; and it is now (1907) much smaller. In 1891 the Australian Ballot was introduced at State elections. Among other important political events of the last twenty-five years was the prohibition of hydraulic mining, which had destroyed immense areas for agriculture and had choked up river beds with the accumulation of detritus; also the passage of numerous beneficial laws for the promotion of irrigation, for the fumigation of fruit trees, and for the importation of predatory insects for the purpose of destroying insect pests. The present constitution of California was adopted in 1879. During the Spanish-American War and the subsequent American occupation of the Philippines, San Francisco has been the chief depot for the transportation of troops and supplies. On 18 April, 1906, one of the greatest earthquakes recorded in history visited the coast of California; it was most severe in San Francisco. Fire started simultaneously in a dozen quarters and burned incessantly for three days. All but the western and southern parts of the city were consumed. The city, as a city, was destroyed. The loss of life is estimated at 500, and of property at $500,000,000. More than 300,000 people left the city after the fire. Over 200,000 of these have returned, and incredible strides have been made in rehabilitating the city. Nearly $200,000,000 have been expended (December, 1907) on improvements in the 497 city blocks that were destroyed.
The territory of the State of California is divided, ecclesiastically, into the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the Diocese of Monterey and Los Angeles, and the Diocese of Sacramento. The first includes the city of San Francisco and the central and more westerly counties of the State. The second includes all of Southern California. The third embraces the entire northern part of the State, as well as nearly half of the State of Nevada. With the exception of the Diocese of Sacramento, their boundaries are conterminous with those of the State. The Diocese of Salt Lake, in Utah, and the Dioceses of Sacramento and of Monterey and Los Angeles are suffragan to the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The Catholic population of California is estimated at 344,000 (1906), made up as follows: Archdiocese of San Francisco, 227,000; Diocese of Sacramento, 42,000; Diocese of Monterey and Los Angeles, 75,000. By far the greater portion of these are white, the total of blacks, Indians, and Chinese being less than five percent.
From 1769, the year which saw the foundation of San Diego, until the second expedition of Fremont (1846), the settlers and immigrants were chiefly Catholic, being natives of Spain and Mexico. The discovery of gold in 1848 was immediately followed by an inrush of thousands of immigrants. These gold-seekers were mostly Americans, but there was also a large proportion of foreigners. From that time until the present, the immigration has been steadily on the increase, the Catholic part of it being chiefly Irish, Irish-American, Italian, French, and German.
The first governor of California, Peter H. Burnett, was a convert to the Catholic Faith. Stephen M. White, who represented California in the Senate of the United States, was one of the first graduates of the Jesuit college at Santa Clara. He was an astute lawyer, a brilliant orator, and a tireless worker. E. W. McKinstry, like Judge Burnett, was a convert to the Faith; and like him, also, was a member of the Supreme Bench. Judge McKinstry was a man of deep erudition, a fine constitutional lawyer, and an exemplary Catholic. W. G. Lorigan, a Catholic, was also chosen to the Supreme Bench. Joseph McKenna, another California Catholic, became a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1898), and James F. Smith, General in the United States Army, Member of the Philippine Commission, and Governor-General of the Philippine Islands, is another alumnus of Santa Clara College. Garret W. McEnerney, one of the leaders of the California Bar, who won international fame by his masterful presentation of the claims of the Catholic Church in California to the Pious Fund (q.v.) before the Tribunal Arbitration at The Hague in 1902, graduated at St. Mary's College.
The following statistics of the Catholic Church in California are taken from the Catholic Directory for 1907: archbishop, 1; bishops, 2; total priests, 488; secular, 321; religious, 167; total churches, 366; churches with resident priests, 209; missions with churches, 157; stations, 119; seminary, 1; seminaries of religious orders, 5; colleges and academies for boys, 11; academies for young ladies, 47; parishes with parochial schools, 73; orphan asylums, 12; total young people under Catholic care, 31,814; Catholic population, 344,000. There are houses or monasteries of Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, Paulists, Marists, Selesians, Christian Brothers, and Brothers of Mary. The Catholic sisterhoods are almost all represented.
The total number of churches was 1505; total value of church property, $11,961,914; total number of communicants, 280,619. Of course, these figures have been greatly increased since that time. Catholics do not recognize any such enumeration as "communicants"; the total for this head therefore underestimates the Catholic population.
|Denomination||Organization||Churches||Value of church property||Number of communicants|
The constitutional provision safeguarding religious freedom is ample and specific. It reads as follows: "The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall be forever guaranteed by this State; and no person shall be rendered incompetent to be a witness or juror on account of his opinions on matters of religious belief; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this State." The Constitution prohibits the appropriation of money from the State treasury for the use or benefit of any corporation, association, asylum, hospital, or any other institution not under the exclusive management and control of the State as a State institution. But there is, nevertheless, a proviso authorizing the granting of State aid to institutions conducted for the support of maintenance of "minor orphans, or half-orphans, or abandoned children, or aged persons in indigent circumstances". The Constitution also expressly prohibits the appropriation of money in support of any sectarian creed, church, or school. The policy of the State is to afford the fullest measure of religious liberty to all, to discriminate in favour of, or against, no one on account of religious belief, and not to permit the power or resources of the State to be used for the propagation of any form of religion or for the benefit of any religious institution. Every Sunday is by express legislative enactment a legal holiday (Civil Code, 7); on that day all courts are closed, and business is universally suspended. Any act required by law or contract to be done or performed on a particular day which happens to fall on a Sunday, may be done or performed on the next day with full legal effect. But there is no law compelling the religious observance of Sunday, and contracts, deeds, wills, notes, etc. executed on Sunday are just as valid as if executed on any other day. But, while there is no Sunday Law, properly so-called, there is an act of the legislature passed 27 February, 1893, securing to all employees one day's rest in seven, and making it a misdemeanor to violate the provisions of the act.
The Code of Civil Procedure provides that "every court, every judge or clerk of any court, every justice and every notary public, and every officer or person authorized to take testimony in any action or proceeding, or to decide upon evidence, has power to administer oaths or affirmations". Any person who desires it may, at his option, instead of taking an oath, make his affirmation. The Bible is not used in administering oaths; in judicial proceedings, the witness raises his right hand and the clerk or judge swears him "to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God". To make a willfully false statement after having taken an oath or affirmation, before an officer authorized to administer it, to testify to the truth, is perjury, a felony punishable by imprisonment in the State's prison for from one to fourteen years. The Penal Code makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $200 or imprisonment for ninety days, to utter profane language in the presence or hearing of women and children (Penal Code, sect. 415). The Supreme Court of the State, in the case of Delaney, ex parte, California Reports, Vol. XLIII, page 478, has held it to be within the power of a municipal corporation empowered by its charter to prohibit practices which are against good morals, to prohibit and punish the utterance of profane language. The entire matter of profane language is generally left to the control of the local authorities, and most of the counties and cities have ordinances prohibiting and punishing it. It is customary to open the sessions of the legislature with prayer, though there is no provision of law either requiring or prohibiting the practice. There is no recognition of any religious holidays, by name, except Sunday. New Years' Day and Christmas are both holidays, but they are described in the Civil Code merely as "the first day of January. . .and the twenty-fifth day of December". It must be said that the same rule is observed in the Code in referring to the other legal holidays. Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, etc. are simply the twenty-second day of February, the thirtieth day of May, the fourth day of July, etc. The seal of confession has the full sanction and protection of the law. It occupies the same position in the eyes of the law as communications made to attorneys and physicians in their professional capacities. It is the policy of the law to encourage these confidential or privileged communications, as they are called, and to keep them inviolate. Section 1881 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that a priest cannot be examined as to any confession made to him, as such, by a penitent.
The laws governing the incorporation of churches, and religious societies and providing for the protection and management of church property are both beneficent and effective. The Civil Code (section 602) provides that any bishop, chief priest, or presiding elder, may become a sole corporation by complying with certain simple legal formalities. Thereafter, the usual attributes of corporation aggregate attach, mutatis mutandis, to the corporation sole. Under this statute all Catholic Church property in the Archdiocese of San Francisco is held in the name of "The Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco", a corporation sole. Upon the death of the incumbent, his successor, properly appointed and qualified, takes the place of his predecessor, and no probate or other proceedings are required to vest the title to the church property which, in contemplation of law, remains always in the corporation sole, regardless of who may be, for the time being, the incumbent. In addition to the laws governing corporations sole, there are very liberal statutes authorizing the incorporation of single churches, as well as of religious, charitable, and educational associations, and the holding of property by such corporations; also authorizing the consolidation of two or more churches or parishes into one corporation. Under the law of California, therefore, the property interests of the church are jealously safeguarded, and she is free to hold her church property in either of the methods above pointed out. Prior to the year 1900, California stood alone among the States of the Union in taxing church property in the same manner and at the same rate as business or residence property. On 6 November, 1900, the people of the State adopted an amendment to the Constitution, providing that "all buildings, and so much of the real property on which they are situated as may be required for the convenient use and occupation of said buildings, when the same are used solely and exclusively for religious worship, shall be free from taxation". The residences of the clergy, the hospitals, orphanages, refuges, asylums, and all other institutions which are devoted to charitable or eleemosynary objects, but which are not used "solely and exclusively for religious worship", are still subject to taxation as before. The law exempts "ministers of religion" from military duty; and "a minister of the gospel, or a priest of any denomination following his profession" is exempt from jury duty.
The Civil Code defines marriage as "a personal relation arising out of a civil contract, to which the consent of parties capable of making that contract is necessary. Consent alone will not constitute marriage; it must be followed by a solemnization authorized by this code" (55). This section of the code formerly permitted "a mutual assumption of marital rights, duties or obligations" to take the place of a solemnization. In other words, the so-called common-law marriages were permitted, and their validity upheld, by the laws of the State. But the difficulty of determining just what constituted "a mutual assumption of marital rights, duties or obligations", and the numerous and scandalous cases of intrigue, temporary or illicit relations, hasty, ill-advised, and clandestine unions, with their consequent perplexing questions of legitimacy, succession, property rights, and the status of the parties themselves, convinced the leading minds of California that the position of the Catholic Church on the necessity of the public safeguards with which she protects the marriage ceremony, is the only wise and safe one. Accordingly, in 1895, the legislature amended the law, and made it necessary that the consent of the parties to the marriage be evidenced by a solemnization of the marriage. No particular form of solemnization is required, but the parties must declare in the presence of the person solemnizing the marriage that they take each other as husband and wife. Marriages may be solemnized by a priest, or a minister of any denomination, or by a justice or judge of any court. A license must first be obtained, and the person solemnizing the marriage must attach his written certificate to the license, certifying to the fact, the time, and the place of, and the names and residences of the parties and the witnesses to, the marriage. The license and certificate must then be recorded with the County Recorder. Under these stringent rules little or no difficulty is found in proving a marriage; and all relations between the sexes are simply meretricious unless the parties avail themselves of the legal requirements of solemnization of marriage. There is a charitable provision of the law, designed for the benefit of innocent offspring, to the effect that all children of a marriage void in law or dissolved by divorce are legitimate. The age of consent to marriage is eighteen in males and fifteen in females; but if the male be under the age of twenty-one, or the female under the age of eighteen, the consent of parents or guardian must first be obtained. The law of the State forbids and makes absolutely void marriages: (1) Between whites and negroes, mongolians, or mulattoes; (2) Between ancestors and descendants, brothers and sisters, uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews (marriages between cousins are permitted); (3) If either party be already married, for one year after the entry of an interlocutory decree of divorce. The annulment of marriages is provided for in certain cases; such marriages are considered voidable and may be annulled for any of the following causes: (1) If, at the time of the marriage, either party be under the age of consent, and the consent of parents or guardian be not obtained; (2) If either party be of unsound mind at the time of the marriage; (3) If consent of the marriage be obtained by fraud; or (4) By force, or (5) If either party be physically incapable of entering into the marriage state. The annulment of marriage must carefully be distinguished from divorce. The latter implies the existence of a perfectly valid marriage. The former affords relief to the injured party, who may either ratify the marriage, and thus make it valid from the beginning, or have it set aside and declared void from the beginning.
The principle of divorce is recognized by the law of California, which assigns six grounds of divorce: adultery, extreme cruelty, willful desertion, willful neglect (failure to provide), habitual intemperance, and conviction of a felony. Notwithstanding that a cause for divorce be proved to exist, the divorce must be denied upon proof of any of the following: connivance, collusion, condonation, recrimination (proof of a cause of divorce against the plaintiff), or lapse of time. To prevent fraudulent and secret divorces, as well as the promiscuous granting of divorces, the law requires a bona fide residence by the plaintiff for one year in the State, and for three months in the county, before filing suit. Upon dissolution of the marriage by divorce, the Superior Court has jurisdiction to award the care and custody of the children to the innocent party, or to make such other provision for their care and custody as the best interests of the children, both moral and material, may require; and this disposition may be altered from time to time in the discretion of the Court.
In 1903 the law on the subject of divorce was amended. Since that year, upon proof by the plaintiff of a cause for divorce, an interlocutory decree of divorce is granted. This decree entitles the successful party to a final decree of divorce upon the expiration of one year after the entry of the interlocutory decree. This change in the law prevents the remarriage of either of the parties until the expiration of one year from the entry of the interlocutory decree.
As previously explained, the Church receives no financial aid from the State towards the religious education of her children, and here, as elsewhere, Catholics are taxed for the support of public schools, as well as charged with the duty of maintaining schools of their own. Here also, as elsewhere, the effects of the public school system of non-religous education emphasize the necessity of providing for Catholic youth a complete system of education that includes, with the best profane scholarship, a sound moral and religious training. The need is especially felt in the university courses, whose systems of philosophy, if not positively anti-Christian, are certainly not calculated to foster belief in a personal God, or to strengthen faith in a Divine revelation. There are liberal statutes in force, permitting and encouraging the foundation and maintenance of private institutions of learning, and the only interference permitted the State authorities concerns the supervision of sanitary arrangements, and the prescribing of such standards of scholarship as will entitle graduates to admission to the State University without examination.
There are also liberal statutes authorizing the incorporation of religious, social, benevolent, or charitable organizations. Such corporations may make and enforce rules for the government of themselves and their institutions, and may purchase and hold such real property as may be necessary for the objects of the association, not exceeding six whole lots in any city or town, or fifty acres in the country, and the annual profit or income of such land must not exceed $50,000. Orphan asylums, however, maintaining at least 100 orphans are permitted to purchase and hold 160 acres of land, of a net annual value of not more than $50,000. These provisions, it must be remembered, do not limit the power of purely religious corporations, whether sole or aggregate, to purchase and hold such lands as may be necessary for their churches, hospitals, schools, colleges, orphan asylums, and parsonages, under statutes previously discussed. The State Constitution prohibits the appropriating of public money "for the support of any sectarian or denominational school, or any school not under the exclusive control of the officers of the public schools"; it also provides that no "sectarian or denominational be taught, or instruction thereon be permitted, directly or indirectly, in any of the common schools of the State". Under another constitutional provision already discussed, the legislature passed a law in 1880 appropriating annually to every institution maintaining orphans the sum of $100 for each orphan, and $75 for each half orphan. In 1903 the legislature created a State Board of Charities and Correction, consisting of six members appointed by the governor. This board has a supervisory jurisdiction over all charitable, correctional, and penal institutions, including hospitals for the insane.
There is no State law forbidding the sale of liquor to citizens generally. But it is forbidden: to bring intoxicating liquor to a prison, jail, or reformatory; or to sell, give, or expose it for sale within half a mile to a State prison, or within 1,900 feet of a reformatory, or within one mile of the University of California at Berkeley, or within one an one-half miles of any veteran's home, or within the State Capitol, or on the grounds adjacent thereto; or at a camp meeting; or to a common or habitual drunkard; or to an Indian; or to a minor under the age of eighteen years; or within one mile of an insane asylum. It is forbidden to permit a minor under the age of eighteen years to enter a saloon; and it is also forbidden to give or sell intoxicating liquor to anyone on election day. Beyond these provisions, the general law leaves the control of the sale of liquor entirely to local authority. Each county, city, and town is free to regulate the liquor traffic to suit the wishes of its citizens.
There are two State prisons, situated respectively at San Quentin and Folsom. These prisons, under the Constitution, are subject to the direct control of the State Board of Prison Directors, consisting of five members appointed by the governor. The prisoners are kept at work, in the rock-crushing plant, in making grain bags, in building roads, etc. Priests and ministers are free to visit the prisoners and conduct religious services for their benefit. There are two State reformatories for juvenile offenders--the Preston School of Industry at Ione City, and the Whittier State School, at Whittier. Each is governed by its own board of trustees, and is entirely independent of the Board of Prison Directors. There is also a juvenile court charged with the control and punishment of juvenile dependents and delinquents. A large discretion is vested with the judge of this court and much good has been accomplished since its creation in keeping children of Catholic parentage under the care and influence of conscientious Catholic officers.
In California every person of sound mind who has reached the age of eighteen years may dispose of his entire estate by will, subject to the payment of his debts and expenses of administration. Such part of a decedent's estate as is not disposed of by will is distributed according to the statutes of succession. The estates of such persons as die without wills and without heirs escheat to the State. The phrase "expenses of administration" includes funeral expenses of the deceased, expenses of his last illness, and provision for the support of his family, including the homestead, family allowance, and setting apart property exempt from execution.
No person is permitted to dispose by will of more than one-third of the value of his estate to charitable uses. A will attempting to dispose of a greater proportion to charity would not be absolutely void, but all the charitable bequests and devises would be reduced proportionately so that their total value would not exceed one third. Moreover, every charitable bequest and devise is absolutely void unless it be made at least thirty days prior to the testator's death. A bequest or devise to a church as such, or to a college, orphan asylum, missionary society, hospital, or home for the aged would be for a charitable use under this provision. But not so a devise or bequest to a priest or bishop by name, and in his individual capacity. It has also been held that a bequest to a priest for Masses to be offered for the repose of the soul of the deceased, is not a charitable bequest.
Cemeteries may be purchased, held, and owned under the liberal statutes for the ownership of church property, already explained. Or, they may be purchased, held, and owned by cemetery corporations formed under a general law, by which their land holdings are limited to 320 acres situated in the county in which their articles of incorporation are filed, or in an adjoining county. The law provides for the survey and subdivision of such lands into lots or plots, avenues or walks, and for the government of such corporations, as well as the sale and tenure of burial plots.
CLINCH, California and Its Missions (San Francisco, 1904); JAMES, In and Out of the Old Missions (Boston, 1906); JACKSON, California and the Missions (Boston, 1903); BURNETT, Recollections of an Old Pioneer; EDWORDS, California Annual (San Francisco, 1907); U. S. Census of 1900 (Washington); U. S. Census of 1890 (Washington); SWETT, History of the Public School System of California (San Francisco, 1876); Catholic Directory for 1907 (Milwaukee); Twenty-second Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (Sacramento, 1906); University of California Register (Berkeley, 1907); BABCOCK, History of California (Sacramento, 1907); TREADWELL, Constitution of California (San Francisco, 1907); Civil Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Political Code, Penal Code (San Francisco, 1906).
APA citation. (1908). California. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03170a.htm
MLA citation. "California." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03170a.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Matthew and Therese Reak. Dedicated to my friends, the Ottles.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
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