33 Secretary of the vigilantes

On Friday, May 16, the executive committee of the new Committee of Vigilance, which by now consisted of about thirty prominent businessmen, adopted as far as possible the constitution of the 1851 committee and elected Isaac Bluxome Jr. as permanent secretary. Bluxome’s number on the committee roll was thirty-three and thereafter all documents, papers and minutes from the committee came with the signature 33 Secretary, which soon became more powerful than that of any governor or judge in the country. It was also agreed that no city or county officer could gain membership and that a copy of the constitution should be sent to certain people across the bay in Alameda County so that they might organize a vigilance committee to cooperate with the one in San Francisco.

Isaac Bluxome Jr, the vigilantes 33 Secretary

Isaac Bluxome Jr

San Francisco Sheriff David Scannell

Sheriff David Scannell

A letter was written later that same day, addressed to David Scannell, the county sheriff. It was unanimously adopted by the executive committee who had prepared it and then by the entire membership and was the first of the famous 33 Secretary missives. In the letter, the sheriff was notified that he and his department would be held strictly accountable for the safe custody of the prisoners then in the county jail. The implied meaning of the letter was far more than what was actually said and when it was served on Scannell shortly after approval it was plain that he understood that underlying meaning well.

 

 

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