Joaquin Murrieta never left behind any statements of beliefs of his own. Yet his actions caused a wave of stories around him as he passed into a legend. In this excerpt from an early popular novel about Murrieta back in the early 20th century, the Murrieta legend is encapsulated in terms of national resistance against Amerikan colonialism.
I Will Not Submit
I was once a great admirer of Americans. I thought them the noblest, most honorable and high-minded people in the world. I had met many in my own country and all forms of tyranny seemed as hateful to them as the rule of the Gachupines (foreigners, or Spaniards) to the Mexicans. I was sick of the constant wars and insurrections in my native land and I came here thinking to end my days in California as an American citizen.
I located first near Stockton. But I was constantly annoyed and insulted by my neighbors and was not permitted to live in peace. I went then to the placers (gold mines) and was driven from my mining claim. I went into business and was cheated by everyone in whom I trusted. At every turn I was swindled and robbed by the very men for whom I had had the greatest friendship and admiration. I saw the Americans daily in acts of the most outrageous and lawless injustice, or of cunning and mean duplicity hateful to every honorable mind.
I then said to myself, I will revenge my wrongs and take the law into my own hands. The Americans who have injured me I will kill, and those who have not, I will rob because they are Americans. My trail shall be red with blood and those who seek me shall die or I shall lose my own life in the struggle! I will not submit tamely to outrage any longer.
I have killed many; I have robbed many; and many more will suffer in the same way. I will continue to the end of my life to take vengeance on the race that has wronged me so shamefully.”
–From “The Robin Hood of El Dorado,” by Walter Noble Burns, New York, Cowan McCann, 1932. Excerpted from: Valdez, Luis and Steiner, Stan. Aztlan: An Anthology of Mexican American Literature. Vintage Books. 1972. pp. 105-107.