This is what the Captain, Otto von Kotzebue wrote in his log book when they visited San Francisco, Oct. 3.1816
Visitors from the Rurik
Otto von Kotzebue, Original written in German.
October 3rd 1816. This afternoon, accompanied by all our gentlemen, I took a walk into the Presidio (San Francisco), where we were received at the gate by the commandant, Don Louis d’Arguello, and saluted with eight guns, and then conducted to his residence. I found the Presidio as described by Vancouver; the garrison consists of a company of cavalry, of which the commandant is chief, and has only one officer of the artillery under his command.
The 4th At eitht o’clock in the morning, we all rowed to shore, and went into the Presidio to ride to the Mission, according to our promise, in company with the commandant. The weather was extremely fine, and an hour ride brought us to our journey’s end, though above half of the road was sandy and mountainous. Only a few small shrubs here and there diversified the barren hills; and it was not till we arrived in the neighborhood of the Mission, that we met with a pleasant country and recognized the luxuriant scenery of California. After passing through a street inhabited by Indians, which is the name given by the Spaniards here to the savage tribes, we stopped before a large building, adjoining the Church, the residence of the Missionaries, and were received by five priests, of whom three belonged to this Mission and the two others had come from St. Clara to be present at the celebration of the festival of St. Francis; They conducted us to a large, dirty room, plainly furnished, where we were received with much respect. Precisely at ten we entered the church, which is spacious, built of stone, handsomely fitted up, where we already found several hundred half-naked Indians kneeling. After dinner they showed us the habitations of the Indians, consisting of long, low houses, build of brick, and forming several streets. The uncleanliness in these barracks baffles description, and this is perhaps the cause of the great mortality, for of a 1,000 Indians at San Francisco, 300 die every year. The Indian girls, of whom 400 are in the Mission, live separate from the men, likewise in such barracks; both sexes are obliged to labor hard.