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ET a thief to catch a thief!" is sup- place and the bandit leader was delivered
posed to be the principle underlying into his hands, helpless and expecting to the creation of the rural police of Mexico. be executed. In those days General Diaz In other words it is understood that many carried a pearl-handled revolver of French of the men now enrolled among the ru- make, capable of firing five shots. As the rales, were they not employed and kept bandit was led before him, bound and under pay as policemen, would take to the with a lasso around his neck, the general road. Many of the best shots and hardiest slowly loaded all the chambers of his reriders among the rurales at the present volver and shifted the pistol to his left time are reputed to have been notorious hand. Then he said shortly: “Now, bandits.
which do you prefer? This hand with the In the public mind General Porfirio five bullets, or that with the outstretched Diaz is credited with having devised the fingers ?" The outlaw chose the right organization of a formidable force of rural hand of fellowship, and has served Diaz police as a safety-valve for the warlike ever since as one of his most zealous propensities of those of his adventurous leaders of rurales. Such stories of Diaz subjects who, otherwise left to their own abound and some of them are probably devices, would be likely to give trou- true. ble as poachers, smugglers, cattle-killers, As a matter of fact Porfirio Diaz is not horse-thieves, or outright highway robbers. the one who invented and first organized Thus it is known that several celebrated the rural police of Mexico. This was bandits of the past were encouraged to
done some time before our own Civil War "come in" under pledges of amnesty, and by President Comonfort, before the time reappeared later in other parts of Mexico of Maximilian and Juarez. In those days as loyal leaders of the rurales.
the first mounted rural police was organOne of the most famous of them all, ized to operate against the troublesome who as a bandit chief long terrorized the bands of mounted robbers of Mexico who, wild territory of Tepic between the Pa- like the Manchurian mounted bandits of cific coast and Guadalajara, I have been the present time, then infested all the told by a rurale, was sworn in as a rurale wilder regions. leader by Porfirio Diaz himself. The gen
There is no doubt that many of the first eral, while campaigning in that part of the rurales were recruited from the membercountry, had caught the outlaws in a tight ship of various dispersed or pardoned
bands of outlaw riders. In those days the veteran chief of all the rurales, cut to these men were called cuerdados, "leather- pieces a whole battalion of Zouaves in the clad," from their skin-tight buckskin Sierra Madre mountains near Tepic. They clothes, worn by all Mexican vaqueros, or accomplished this by stampeding a herd cow-boys. Then, even the vaqueros' hats of wild mustangs and unbroken mules were of leather,-stout, stiff-brimmed, and against the French soldiers at a point low-crowned, — for this was long before where a dizzy trail overhung a deep abyss, the latter-day Mexican fashion of huge with barely foothold for one man at a sombreros with high, pointed crowns. time. Almost all the Zouaves were tum
Under the Emperor Maximilian those bled into the abyss by the galloping and of the cuerdados who remained loyal to kicking animals rendered frantic by being the central government were reorganized driven headlong down the steep trail. into a force of native mounted sharp- The place is still known in local tradition shooters known as cazaderos, -"hunters" as El Salto Frances, -"The Frenchmen's - under the leadership of one of Marshal Fall." Bazaine's Crimean veterans who rejoiced While Diaz was not the originator of in the nickname El Tigre, the "tiger.” the rurales, it was he who brought this The majority of
unique fighting thecuerdados, how
force of mounted ever, cast their lot
men to its present with Juarez and his
high state of effi"rebels." They did
ciency, excelling some sensational
the native cavalry execution with
of all other lands, their lassos while
be they Cossacks, charging against
uhlans, hussars, solid squares of
Canadian mounted Zouaves bristling
police, even with bayonets.
Texas rangers. On one famous
The point whereoccasion the cuer
in the Mexican rudados under Ra
rales excel those mirez, who is now
horsemen of other
Drawn by Edward Burein
SADDLING A RESTIVE HORSE
lands is in the essential of horsemanship. an unbroken range colt, or
an outlaw This is because the rurales are not merely bucker. Besides this, every rurale, when men drawn more or less at random from a out in the open, must be able to maintain race of horsy people (as is the case with himself and his mount, indefinitely, withthe Cossacks of the steppe, the hussars of out bothering his superior officers for rathe Hungarian pusstha, and the spahees of tions, money, government supplies, or redthe North-African desert), but they are tape instructions.
This implies a sure picked horsemen and sharp-shooters chosen working knowledge of the country, of by other picked horsemen and sharp-shoot- mountain trails, treacherous fords, waterers from among the trained cattle-riders holes, and the like, by night or by day,
of the wild mountain ranges and desert amid winter blizzards or torrid sandplains of northern Mexico. The fact that storms, when the people are friendly, there are many notorious former outlaws when every man's hand is lifted against and bandits among them only enhances the the government's men. It means that infighting efficiency of the force. Whatever tangible instinct for locality possessed by else may be said against these gentry, they savages and wild animals, which is born must be conceded to be handy with their only of the life in the open on the soil of firearms, to know the ins and outs of their birth. their country, and, having been hunted out Thus a rurale who is sent out on soine of their lairs themselves, to be good, all- quest is not furnished with elaborate inaround judges of the man-hunting prowess structions or government maps. His capof others.
tain simply tells him to ride to such No man ever gets into the rurales who and such a place and to get such and cannot rope and straddle any horse, be it such a No questions are asked,