PEACEMAKER: Dona Teresa de la Guerra Hartnell ‘told a fantastic tale of well-known writer + world traveller, Count Duflot de Mofras’

He was a French diplomat carrying a letter from his king to the man who so often had acted as host to French travelers.  This personage arrived in the absence of Don Guillermo, and made an undying impression on Dona Teresa.  She later told a fantastic tale of the well-known writer and world traveller, Count Duflot de Mofras:

‘While my husband . . . . was in San Diego attending to official affairs there appeared at my ranch house at Alisal a stranger who, on finding the door of the library unlocked, entered within its walls and immediately began to search every nook and corner; one of my Indian servants, who had noticed the newly arrived guest and had kept a watch on his doings, came to me in a great hurry and notified me that there was a stranger in the house.  I ordered him to return to the library and ask the intruder what business he wished to transact with me; but the only answer he obtained was a peremptory order to take care of his horse.  I hastened to the library and perceiving there a stranger inquired of him what right he had to search the private papers of my husband.  He replied that he was called Duflot de Mofras, that he was a member of the French Legation in Mexico; that he travelled through Upper California by order of his King and that having met Mr. Hartnell in San Luis Rey had from him obtained permission to stop in Alisal as long as he pleased; that acting on that invitation he had made bold to intrude upon my premises.

‘ I wondered that Mr. Hartnell should have given so unlimited an invitation to a stranger; I also wondered that I had not been notified of his arrival in San Luis Rey, but knowing that my husband was proverbially hospitable, I did not hesitate to order a room for Mr. Mofras and extended him an invitation to dinner.  While at my table he found fault with every one of our dishes, however, he did full justice to the wine.  At night he listened to our playing on the piano and then retired to rest.  Unfortunately in his sleeping room I had deposited a barrel of the choicest wine which my father had sent me from Santa Barbara to be given to the priests, who used it while saying mass in our private chapel.  The wine was of superior quality and much sought after by every foreigner who visited this country.  Next morning at breakfast my guest, not making an appearance, I detailed a servant to call him; but Mr. Mofras not giving any answer to his repeated calls I ordered the door to be broken; and there stretched upon the floor my Frenchman lay dead drunk, bedding in a filthy state and many gallons of the wine missing from the barrel.  A spell of sickness overtook the drunkard; during days I watched over him with the care of a mother; at last he got stronger, took daily rides on horseback and often returned home drunk.  For my husband’s sake I never complained.

‘One day, however, he suddenly left taking along with him a new suit of black clothes belonging to Mr. Hartnell.  I did not miss the property until the return of my husband; who, when informed of the behavior of De Mofras, felt very indignant and assured me that he had never seen the man and much less given him authority to stop at his house.  Later in the day, having found his trunk broken open and rifled of its contents, I set about taking the required steps toward obtaining a clue to the robber and shortly after made the discovery that my late guest was the thief.’ 

[Transcription of Susanna Bryant Dakin’s 1949 history of Alta California:

The Lives of William Hartnell, pages 256 – 258]




By Gregory Hartnell, President

Concerned Citizens’ Coalition

In the absence of any real concerted opposition to the City of Victoria’s plan to demolish the Joseph Strauss-designed Johnson Street Bridge in downtown Victoria, I have been consulting legal counsel to determine if the Concerned Citizens have any legal hope of stopping the ill-conceived plan.

Large law firms typically do a percentage of their work pro-bono (in the public interest, at little or no cost to complainants), and this would ideally be the best way for the CCC to proceed, should an infraction of the Local Government Act be found to justify the application for an injunction.

It is my understanding that the Local Government Act which governs the activities of all municipal councils in the province stipulates that those councils must balance their books each year.  They are not allowed to run deficits.

Mayor Dean Fortin would need at least $20,000,000 (which the City does not have) to pursue his Council’s plan to demolish and replace the old bridge with something else, something as-yet undetermined in terms of  democratic public approbation, design and costs.

In the unlikely event that the Conservative government in Ottawa and the B. C. Liberal government in Victoria will be disposed to commit monies to the Socialist-Green-dominated Victoria City Council, the latter would have to seek voter approval to borrow the shortfall through a referendum.

Figures as high as $60,000,000 have been mentioned in press reports pertaining to this project.  If the Harperites committed 1/3 at $20,000,000 through so-called ‘stimulus’ spending, and the cash-strapped B. C. Liberals miraculously committed a similar amount, that would leave Mr. Fortin and his cohort to find the remaining $20,000,000 on their own.

It seems that the Victoria City Council has put the cart before the horse here, and the actual result is that the Council has apparently completely forgotten about the homeless who they pretended to be concerned about last fall when they were all campaigning to be elected.

A successful application for an injunction to stop this nonsense would perhaps snap them back to reality.

RICHARD JARVIS: ‘I prefer to see tax cuts for poor, elderly, unemployed, single mothers, low-paid workers + all those in real need’


Mayor Janet Evans might be trying to help her community with liberal tax cuts for developers (June 28), but it seems to me that these men have had a good thing for the past decade and should not require this tax break.

I would prefer to see tax cuts for the poor, the elderly, the unemployed, the single mothers, the low-paid workers and all those in real need, rather than helping a group that does not need it.

If Evans wants to see Sooke grow and prosper, she should concentrate on solving the congestion problem that occurs every working day on Highway 14.  Until this problem is resolved, Sooke will always have trouble attracting development.

Richard Jarvis

East Sooke

PEACEMAKER: Don Guillermo Hartnell saw his best friends + closest relatives ‘as helpless under an evil spell’

It is not surprising that the hearing was long-drawn-out and unsuccessful, for Jones had not endeared himself to the Californians any more than had his fellow countryman Graham.  Even the good will that many bore toward Hartnell did not alter an underlying, hostile attitude toward Americans.  Not a hand had been lifted, not a gun fired by the surprised Californians when their capital was captured.  It was only when Commodore Jones appeared peacefully in court that he encountered resistance, always cloaked with courtesy.  In spite of Hartnell’s explanation of Jone’s recent act, and his eloquent appeal for justice in the earlier incident, no American citizen involved in the Graham affair received recompense of any kind, in contrast to the considerable reparation secured by the British Captain Jones.

The continuing presence of American naval officers, during this rehash of the Graham affair, tightened the tension in Monterey, as did the arrival of General Micheltorena with an army of felons released from Mexican prisons.  Other military men and diplomats from other countries continued to appear in the capital of California, until an atmosphere could be sensed as of buzzards gathering for a feast, while the victims still lived and shivered with fear.

“From war deliver us, Lord!” prayed Hugo Reid from his beautiful home at Rancho Santa Anita.  But the idyl was ended, and the realization transformed the most fortunate into the most pessimistic.  The rancheros had so much to lose, with any kind of change.  William Hartnell saw and understood that deep pessimism was combining with lotus-land lethargy to induce a strange paralysis of brain power and manly courage, even among his best friends and closest relatives.  Hartnell saw them as helpless under an evil spell.  In their hearts they were living in another time.  They needed someone to awaken them, to inspire them to defense of their own way of life before it vanished entirely and forever.  But no such person appeared, either among the hijos del pais or in the constant stream of visitors to the California coast.

Near the beginning of that eventful year, 1842, a strange visitor had come riding north along El Camino Real.  He turned aside near Alisal, rode past the two-storey abode that was Alvarado’s summer home, and knocked at the Hartnell door.


[Transcription of Susanna Bryant Dakin’s 1949 book The Lives of William Hartnell, pages 255 – 256]

MICHAEL W. HIGGINS: ‘Roy Bonisteel interviewed Gordon Zahn, a sociologist + pacifist’ on Thomas ‘Merton’s greatest contribution to the peace movement’


In the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Man Alive television program on Merton (“Monk on the Run”), Roy Bonisteel interviewed Gordon Zahn, a sociologist and pacifist, who argued that Merton’s greatest contribution to the peace movement was to be found in his very credibility.

‘Merton made the peace movement respectable.  During the Second World War and after the war people like Dorothy Day and I, conscientious objectors, were written off for the most part as a lunatic fringe.  And then suddenly in the early 1960s this great spiritual writer and contemplative comes out and denounces war, and this shocked many people.

‘After all, here was someone respectable in the peace movement.  He then drew more and more people into the movement, into the great Catholic peace conspiracy, a movement already peopled with the likes of the Berrigan brothers, Tom Cornell, Jim Forest, etc.

‘In fact, the new, credible phase of Catholic peace activities may have begun with a retreat Merton gave at Gethsemani in 1964 on the spiritual roots of protest.  Indeed, with the exception of just a few of the highly select group who attended, within a short time all served prison terms for various non-violent protest activities.  

‘Merton fomented, challenged, made respectable, but he also made clear his dissatisfaction with more aggressive tactics of resistance, like draft card burnings and some military plant raids, because they suggested for many observers an escalation into violence.  

‘For the peace movement, that would be an escalation into self-contradiction.’

[CCC reprint: Michael J. Higgens, Heretic Blood: The Spiritual Geography of Thomas Merton, pages 172 – 173] 

PEACEMAKER: ‘Don Guillermo [Hartnell] asked the American [Commodore Thomas Jones] what he meant by firing on the town [Monterey] and lowering the Mexican flag to the dust (on October 19, 1842)’

Don Guillermo asked the American what he meant by firing on the town and lowering the Mexican flag to the dust (on October 19, 1842).  Jones explained his conviction, from secret orders and circumstantial evidence, that a state of war already existed between the United States and Mexico, and that California would soon be ceded to England.  It was to save the Californians from such a fate that he “captured” their capital.

Without a struggle, capital officials signed articles of capitulation, and the Stars and Stripes waved languidly over Monterey during the queer, rudderless interlude before Jones discovered and acknowledged his mistake.  Alvarado retired to his country place at Alisal, leaving Don Manuel Jimeno as acting governor to await the arrival of Don Manuel Micheltorena, even now on his way up the coast to relieve Alvarado of the supreme command.  Mexico City never had approved Don Juan’s seizure of power in 1837, or his subsequent contests with his own uncles, Carillo and Vallejo.  Senora Jimeno says, in her Occurencias:

‘When Micheltorena first came to California Alvarado showed no inclination to give up the Government; he did not definitely say so but you could see he did not want to.  However, after Jones took over Monterey, he became willing – even happy to shed the responsibility.’

Hartnell did not join the Alvarados and his own family at Alisal but remained in town with the Jimenos.  He continued his task of interpretation, even helping the Commodore to compose a formal apology and dispatch it by courier to General Micheltorena lingering in Los Angeles.  The next month, after a fiesta had been given by Micheltorena as a sign of forgiveness to the impulsive American, Hartnell accepted a paid position from Jones, at $5 dollars a day, to act as his interpreter in court.  The Commodore had as his original purpose in coming to Monterey the order to settle peacefully all claims of American citizens dating back to the Graham affair.

[Serialization of Susanna Bryant Dakin’s 1949 California history book The Lives of William Hartnell, page 255.  Earlier transcribed pages of this book can be found at LA ROSA website:]

TOM PICKETT: ‘Prime Minister Stephen Harper should take another look at his commitment to forever war’


Canada’s parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page disagrees with the Conservative government and says that major tax hikes and spending cuts will be the only way to get Canada out of the red within five years.

I have another suggestion.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper should take another look at his commitment to forever war, and the $497-billion commitment he made to the generals and defence contractors to upgrade Canada’s military.

This could create a lot of happiness as opposed to the death and destruction and additional debt he is buying us into.

Tom Pickett

Saltspring Island


[CCC reprint: Victoria Times Colonist, Sunday, June 28, 2009, page D3]