Illegal ballot box sways public opinion

As the meeting of San Francisco citizens in front of the Oriental Hotel wound down, Bailie Peyton again stepped to the podium and raised high, so that the enormous crowd could see it, the now famous double back action ballot box that had recently been seized and held by the vigilance committee. Loud and prolonged applause rose from the crowd. When quiet was at last restored Peyton exclaimed, “Here is the orator of the occasion. I beg to introduce to you a harp of a thousand strings. I’m sorry I cannot present to you the harpist, Ned McGowan. This is the old wooden horse. It has many curious and ingenious contrivances and works by various springs and catches. There are some gentlemen in this city who understand how to work it, I don’t. They know its secret operations and slides. I want you all to understand it. It is a powerful machine. It will elevate the meanest vagabond in the country to the highest office in the state. It ought to be sent to Washington and deposited in the archives of the union.”

Double back action ballot box

Back action ballot box

Nothing could have been more effective than to show at such an opportune time and in such an unexpected manner one of the fraudulent ballot boxes that had so often thwarted the will of the people and elected such men as James Casey to offices of profit and trust. It was similar to the blank editorial column that ran in the Bulletin the day after James King was shot and spoke louder and clearer than any words could. And because of this bold exhibition as much as anything that was said the meeting proved to be an unparalleled success and produced such a positive impression in the minds of the community about the Committee of Vigilance and its positions that it could not be mistaken. Whatever doubts some people might have had about the stamina of the vigilantes to carry out their intentions and assert themselves against the governor and his so-called law and order forces were now erased and there would be no question on this subject from this day forward. It was now clear the vast majority of the citizens of San Francisco were determined to see the work of the vigilance committee completed and that they were supported and encouraged by the goodwill and endorsement of most of the influential people in the state.


  1. Your posts are so interesting, John, that I’d like to read them all in one sitting. Do you plan to put them out in a Kindle, perhaps? I’ll buy it!


Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.