The Bulletin exposes San Francisco corruption

On October 11, 1855, in the fourth issue of the Bulletin, James King railed at the corruption of Palmer, Cook & Co., the banking firm so closely connected to the failure of Adams & Co. He printed the names of the firm members and attacked them without gloves. Though some said his language was not as choice or as rhetorical as it might have been, King nonetheless showed that his plain talk was earnest and that he meant everything he said as he charged them with being some of the most corrupt men in the country and guilty of all manner of frauds and in all their endeavors, political, business and social.

Palmer, Cook & Co.

To this end he went on to state that they were “the Uriah Heeps of San Francisco bankers, sneaking surety giving money lenders,” and “political wire pullers.” He then said, “They are unlike other bankers because forever more they are at some scheme to elect not good men to office but their own or those that can be so fashioned, and then, becoming bondsmen for them, get hold of public money with which to bribe and corrupt other public officers, both state and federal. Now, no banker, elsewhere than in California, will go on the bond of his best friend if he can avoid it, because it injures his credit. But this firm do not wait to be asked even; but, as soon as an election is announced, they hasten—greedy of the tempting ‘monish’ and with brazen impudence—they hasten to the successful candidate and urge him to accept their name.”


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