The Vigilance Committee of 1856 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 60 pages of information about The Vigilance Committee of 1856.
One of the Executive Committee had served his term of two years in the Ohio State Prison for forgery; here in San Francisco he had, during two city elections, been the trusted agent and disburser of a very heavy sack in the honest endeavor to secure the nomination, and promote the election, of his principal to high office, yet this pure man was honored by his associates of the Committee, and became singularly active in pressing the expatriation of some of the very “ruffians and ballot-box-stuffers” he had patronized and paid.  He had learned that “dead men told no tales.”  This pure-character did not stand alone in his experience of penal servitude, as birds of a feather, and he was under no necessity of examplifying Lord Dundreary’s bird, to go into a corner and flock by himself.  That some turbulent offenders, and largely too many of them, defied the law, is likewise true.  But that they were countenanced or favored by the Judges, is utterly without truthful foundation.  And it is remarkable that, of all the men hanged or expatriated by the Committee, only two had ever been complained of or arraigned before the Courts for any crime of violence; not one of them all had been here accused or suspected of theft or robbery, or other felony.  This is more, as I have just above stated, than can be said of some of the forty-one members of the Executive Committee.  And among the members of the rank and file of the five thousand or six thousand enrolled upon the lists of the Committee — of natives and English-speaking citizens or residents — there were scores of scoundrels of every degree, bogus gold-dust operators, swindlers and fugitives from justice.  Of the members of other nationalities — some of whom had not been in the country long enough to acquire English — I have no occasion to pass remark; but the fear of communism and disturbance, from the increase of its incendiary votaries in our country, east and here, cannot be lessened or composed by the recollection of the conduct of many of the same nationalities who then swelled the ranks of the Committee troops.

Chapter II.

Saturday Nov. 19, 1855, between 5 and 6 o’clock, the community was startled by the report that General Richardson, United States Marshal, had been shot dead by a gambler.  The shooting occurred on the south side of Clay street, about midway between Montgomery and Leidesdorff streets.  The fatal shot was fired from a deringer pistol by Charles Cora.  Cora was a gambler, yet he did not look the character.  He was a low-sized, well-formed man; dressed in genteel manner, without display of jewelry or loudness; was reserved and quiet in his demeanor; and his manners and conversation were those of a refined gentleman.  I first saw him at the Blue Wing, a popular rendezvous for politicians, on Montgomery street, east side, between Clay and Commercial streets, and my impression then was that he was a lawyer or a well-to-do merchant. 

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The Vigilance Committee of 1856 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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