After a sojourn of two weeks in the valleys which the Stanislaus crosses, Joaquin set off toward the Mariposa and Merced rivers. His passage along that territory was marked by colossal depredations after which he sent to the headquarters at Arroyo Cantova the men who accompanied him, with the exception of the six whom he had brought with him. With these he retired to a Mexican ranch near San Jose; killed a Frenchman on the highway, the owner of a public garden; and remained hidden some time in the house of a friend. The latter, named Francisco Sicarro, was secretly affiliated with the gang, which explains Murrieta’s protection.
The extreme prudence of the chief in the manner of conducting his operations surpassed everything until this relatively insignificant case. One night, Joaquin, not wishing to go out to drink, sent an Indian from the ranch to San Jose to buy him a bottle of liquor. He had hardly gone when there came over Joaquin as a presentiment the fear that he might be betrayed by that man; and after mounting his horse, he overtook the Indian on the road which passes near Coyote Creek and killed him.
Such were the troubles imposed on the citizens of the whole state, such were their violences, their marauding acts—in short, their crimes—that justice was seriously disturbed. A petition, covered with signatures, was presented to the legislative houses, for the purpose of obtaining the authorization for Captain Harry Love to form a company of horsemen with which he should be able to arrest, drive out of the country or exterminate the numerous gangs which continually placed in danger the life and property of all the citizens. To this end, a decree was approved and signed by the governor of the state the 17th day of May, 1853.
The 28th of the same month, a company had already been organized by Harry Love. The payment for each man had been fixed at a hundred and fifty dollars per month; the legal existence of the com-