The California Missions as Others Saw Them (1786-1842). By Francis J. Weber. Los Angeles: Dawson’s Book Shop, 1972. Notes. 47 pages. $5.00.
The prolific Father Weber, teaming up with publisher Glenn Dawson, has once again offered us a valuable little book. This time he provides a brief synopsis of the ways that twenty-four foreigners viewed the Franciscan missions. Arranged chronologically, from the visit of La Perouse in 1786 to the voyage of Duflot de Mofras in 1841-42,- Weber’s capsule accounts provide a good guide for any researcher wanting to assess the mission experience in California. The book will only serve as a starting point, however, for Weber does not devote enough space to examine systematically the complex and often ambivalent views many of these foreign writers held toward missions and missionaries.
It is useful to have this as a guide to writings on California by foreigners, and to the assessment that historians have made of these foreigners as revealed in Weber’s notes. Since only 300 copies of this book were printed, it is a bargain at $5.00. DJW