Elias Castillo

Excerpt from A Cross of Thorns

An Eyewitness Account by Captain Jean-François de Galaup, Comte de la Pérouse,  upon his visit to Mission Carmel in 1786

The French captain would later describe how similar the Missions were to slave plantations he had visited earlier in the Caribbean. "The color of these Indians, which is that of the negroes; the house of the Missionaries; their storehouses, which are built of brick and plastered; the appearance of the ground on which the grain is trodden out; the cattle, the horses— everything in short—brought to our recollection a plantation at Santo Domingo or any other West Indian island. The men and women are collected by the sound of a bell; a Missionary leads them to work, to the church, and to all their exercises. We observed with concern that the resemblance is so perfect that we have seen both men and women in irons, and others in stocks."