The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 16, July 1912 - April, 1913 Page: 73
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The Approaches to California
cade of the nineteenth century the first beginnings of the over-
land stream of American immigration appear in California in the
persons of Jedediah Smith (1826) and the two Patties (1828).
The contrast between the Spanish and English methods of col-
onization are nowhere more apparent than in the respective ap-
proaches of the Spaniard and American to California. Not so
much as an adventurer had penetrated to Alta California from the
southward when in 1769, an expedition under the direct auspices
of a minister of the crown, led by an officer in the Spanish army,
accompanied by friars duly appointed as missionaries, set out for
the purpose of establishing a government at Monterey and San
Diego. Not until the machinery was installed did the authorities
in Mexico turn their attention to promoting settlement.
On the American side a period of conflict with Spanish neigh-
bors across the Mississippi was ended suddenly by the Louisiana
purchase. American frontiersmen and traders instantly crossed
the river to exploit the new land, and within a quarter of a cen-
tury had opened paths into every part of it. Where these adven-
turers led the American government followed-tardily. So in
Oregon there arose the curious anomaly of a joint occupancy, while
the American settlers in Texas had erected and maintained an in-
dependent government before their own extended its protection
over them. The American approach to California was begun by
individuals making their way there by sea round the Horn and
overland across the continent; it was made effective by the estab-
lishment of American government in Oregon and Texas. When
this had been accomplished it was obvious that a continued hold
by Mexico on this territory was strategically impossible.
Nevertheless a great barrier of mountains, chasms, and deserts
lay between California and the country east of the Rocky Moun-
tains and it is not at all certain that a Pacific Republic would not
have arisen if the railroad had not provided a new approach.
In the long run, however, it has been realized that something
more than a railroad is necessary--a country can not be colonized
effectively on the basis of the expenditure incidental to trans-
continental travel. Hence it is that the discovery of a route by
water has lost none of its importance with time. We go back
now in the twentieth century to create the route dreamed of in the
sixteenth century, and utilized in anticipation, one might say, by
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 16, July 1912 - April, 1913, periodical, 1913; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101058/m1/79/: accessed June 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.