The San Francisco Herald

Another resolution passed by the Committee of Vigilance, but against the wishes of William Coleman, was for all members to withdraw support from the San Francisco Herald and urge their friends to do likewise. A leading San Francisco paper, the Herald was published in daily, weekly and steamer editions by John Nugent who had favored the 1851 committee. But Nugent hated James King of William since he had publicly charged Nugent with corruption, of being in the pay of Palmer, Cook & Co. and a traitor to every principal of honesty and care of the public good, and even with personal immorality. When the Herald came out against the formation of the committee the indignation of all good men in San Francisco was immense. Along Front Street, where nearly all the wholesale mercantile businesses were located, merchants burned all the copies of the Herald that could be found then notified the auction houses to advertise their sales somewhere else.

The offices of the San Francisco Herald

The San Francisco Herald

The effect was to immediately cut off almost all of patronage of the Herald. It did appear the next day but reduced to about half its former size. Nugent ran an editorial saying he would not be swayed by the senseless prejudices of the commercial interests. It did him little good. He opposed the committee and could not back down. The Herald was forced to suspend publication. Coleman, because of his belief in a free press, had been against these acts but most in the committee, and so too others all across town, thought that a free press if it was directed to evil rather than good could then be considered a criminal press and was as much within the objectives of the committee as any other common criminal. It was now clear that the Herald was an advocate of men and measures which the committee opposed and so was an avowed enemy that would do all it could to thwart the new Committee of Vigilance. Thus action against the Herald was one of the first things to be done.

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