Secession in California voted down

Perhaps the most significant resolution adopted at the San Francisco mass meeting of June 14th at the Oriental Hotel was an expression of confidence in the laws and constitution of the United States and the state of California. Thus diminishing all the agitation going on at that time for constitutional change or reform. This was not a mere formal or unmeaning show. It had at its heart a very distinct and important purpose and was no less than an anti-secession declaration and a renewed statement on the part of the people of San Francisco of loyalty to the union and the governmental relations by which that union, so far as California was concerned, was maintained.

Lombard, North Point and Greenwich Docks, San Francisco, 1857

Lombard, North Point and Greenwich Docks by Hugo Wilhelm Arthur Nahl

This was done because of an idea, motivated mostly by Governor Johnson’s obstinate and wrong-headed position on the vigilance committee, of putting together a new constitution and legislating the governor out of office. But the idea did not necessarily stop there and in the minds of some men, and particularly in the case that Washington should show and inclination to support Johnson and his councilors, it went so far as to contemplate withdrawing from the United States and forming an independent Pacific Republic. Such a prospect had been discussed in 1848 and 1849. But as absurd as this idea was then, it was even more so in 1856.

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