Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DIEGO Y MORENO, Francisco Garcia, Mexican R. C. bishop, born in Lagos, Mexico, about 1800; died in Santa Barbara, California, in 1846. He received his early education in the seminary of Guadalajara, and finished his ecclesiastical studies in the Apostolie College of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Zacatecas. He joined the order of St. Francis, and was ordained in 1824. In 1832 he was appointed prefect of the missions for the conversion of the Indians in California, and set out for the post assigned him with ten Franciscans ; but, owing to the difficulties of the journey, did not reach the missions till 1833. He divided his fellow laborers among the Indians, while he himself made Santa Clara the centre of his labors, and endeavored to protect the Indians from the rapacity of the Mexican governors. The passing of a law in 1834, which went into operation in 1837, for the secularization of the missions, rendered his efforts unavailing. He made a journey to the City of Mexico, and procured an order for the restoration of the mission to the Church; but this change of policy came too late to restore prosperity to the Indians, many of whom had lapsed into barbarism. He was about to return to California when he received tidings that he had been nominated bishop of California. He was consecrated in 1840, reached San Diego in 1841, and found his diocese in a state of desolation. The Indian population was reduced from 30,000 to 4,500, and these scattered and demoralized, while the flocks and herds had disappeared and agriculture was ruined. He restored some of the missions and erected a seminary at Santa Ines, and his passionate appeals to the government of Mexico in behalf of the Indians were sometimes effective, but his health was destroyed by his incessant labors.
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