hope that this interest will be shown, and the enterprise not allowed to become a burden to the editor.
History of the Pacific States of North America. By Hubert Howe Bancroft. Vol. XXXII. Popular Tribunals. Vol. II. San Francisco: The History Company. New York: Frank M. Derby, Eastern agent. Pp. 772. Price, $5.
The present volume of Mr. Bancroft's great work is devoted to the history of the second Vigilance Committee of San Francisco, or that of 1856, and is dedicated to its president, William T. Coleman, who is styled the "chief of the greatest popular tribunal the world has ever witnessed." The Vigilance Committee of 1856, while it was of similar composition and of the same character and spirit of that of 1851, rose under different circumstances, and to meet a different emergency. At the time of the earlier committee, law had not been established, but San Francisco was still the prey of ruffians who had been attracted from all quarters by the stories of the gold-diggings to which it was the gate, and who overrode all legal restrictions by brute force. In 1856 government had been organized, and might have been strong enough if it had chosen to exert itself, but was under the control of political tricksters, assisted by the roughs. Hence there was more apparent reason in 1856 in favor of the plea that reform should be sought through legal measures, and for the clear difference of opinion which existed between evidently honest and well-meaning men as to the propriety of the Vigilance Committee's existence and the justification of its measures. Hence, also, a more temperate style than the author of this history has permitted himself to use through most of his work would have been more becoming its sober purpose. The Vigilance Committee of 1856 was a movement by the vast majority of the people of San Francisco against systematic ballot-box stuffing, which made fair elections impossible and all elections burlesques, universal thievery, and political terrorism intensified by frequent murder; all tolerated and said to be encouraged by public officers who depended on such outrages to reach and hold their positions. These Abuses had grown up since the former Vigilance Committee had finished its career five years before, in consequence of the easygoing citizens leaving politics to the politicians. It was called into being by the murder of James King, of William, editor of the "Bulletin," by James Casey, following close upon the murder of United States Marshall Richardson by Charles Cora, an Italian gambler. King's offense was denunciation of the wrongs, and particularly of Cora's crime, and attacks upon Casey, who had interested himself in Cora's defense. Casey was believed to be backed by prominent politicians, including Judge McGowan of one of the city courts, himself a formerly convicted bank-robber. As it seemed morally certain that these criminals would not, be punished, as others like them were not, the substantial citizens took matters into their own hands, and at a public meeting reorganized the Vigilance Committee, which had never formally surrendered its life. This committee was a public affair, the names of its members were known, its acts were open, and its proceedings governed by fixed rules. During the three months of its activity—from the middle of May to the 18th of August, 1856—it hanged four men, banished about thirty, rescued—that is, took possession of—two prisoners from the county jail, and held a judge of the Supreme Court under arrest, waiting the death or convalescence of his victim. Its proceedings were objected to, as those of the Committee of 1851 do not seem to have been, by a considerable party of good citizens, whose quality may be judged from the fact that William Tecumseh Sherman was one of them' The city authorities were against it, of course; the Governor of the State made feeble and futile attempts to suppress it, and efforts were made to embroil it with the United States authorities. In spite of all it went on with its work, and when it had done, adjourned sine die. It must be judged by its fruits. Seven years after King's death, the People's Reform Party were able to show in an appeal to voters which is too long to quote here, but which is given in full in the 656th and 657th pages of the volume, that San Francisco had, from being the very focus of peculation, disorder, robbery, and murder, under uninterrupted honest rule, become one of the best ordered,