Citizens meet with Johnson over vigilantes

While the argument over arms for the militia continued, a number of moderate but influential San Franciscans undertook to attempt a settlement between the governor and the Committee of Vigilance. On June 3rd they spoke with the committee but little came of the meeting. Then, on Saturday, June 7th, as these citizens were set to leave for a conference with the governor in Benicia with a hope to convince him to withdraw his proclamation, the executive committee of the vigilantes, in view of their goals, informed them that if the proclamation were withdrawn there would be no further exhibition of the vigilante military on the streets of San Francisco and no more forcible resistance or refusal of admission to any writ of habeas corpus.

The steamboat Wilson G. Hunt

Wilson G. Hunt

The San Francisco citizens then took passage on the steamboat to Benicia along with General Sherman, possibly at his suggestion. He was to meet the governor there and later said he hoped to convince these men that the governor was right and the vigilantes wrong and then put the moderates on the governor’s side. The boat up river from San Francisco usually left at four o’clock in the afternoon while the boat from Sacramento left at one. The two boats would arrive at Benicia somewhere between six and seven o’clock. The San Francisco boat arrived first and Sherman and the men from San Francisco went to the best hotel in town, the American, where they expected to meet Governor Johnson.


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