The Bear Flag Outbreak
MEANWHILE, storm clouds were rapidly gathering over all the fair province of California.
While Frémont's party had been moving north from Sutter's Fort to Peter Lassen's and there marking time as its leader waited for news, Castro had been taking steps for the defense of the northern areas. Late in March he brought a junta of military men together at Monterey to discuss the situation and advise him as to the best policy. This body immediately recognized Paredes as the new President ad interim of the Mexican nation. It then on April 11th reached a series of decisions which had the effect of taking all practical power out of the hands of Governor Pio Pico at Los Angeles, and placing it in that of Don José Castro. These decisions were that the northern towns must be fortified and defended; that Castro's presence in charge of this work was indispensable; that Pico should be invited to Monterey to take part in the defensive activities, but that if he declined Castro should assume full powers with headquarters at Santa Clara; and that he should exercise these powers until the assistance promised by Mexico arrived. Pio Pico violently protested against all this, and the upshot was an embittered division between the two chiefs. When Pico appealed to General Vallejo at Sonoma for support, the latter took Castro's side. He declared that the danger of foreign invasion from the north was real and urgent, that immediate defensive steps were imperative, and that in an emergency Castro could not possibly consult a governor two hundred leagues away.1____________________