|Illustration XI: View of the procession in celebration of the Admission of California, October 29, 1850. Crossing the Plaza of San Francisco. J. Prendergast, del.; on stone by Coquardon; lith. of Zakreski & Hartman. LC-USZ62-763|
In the mining camps, it was the miners themselves who were responsible for local affairs. In only a few years, they worked out rules governing the discovery and exploitation of mineral resources that were later incorporated into state and federal statutes. As for criminal law, miners and local townspeople were equally efficient in dealing out their own form of justice. As towns sprang up near the camps, newly appointed officials were appointed to impose order.
|Illustration XII: "Judge Lynch," California Vigilants, 1848. Painting by Stanley Berkely. Copyright 1905, by John D. Morris & Company. LC-USZ62-51822. #51846|
Finally, on September 9, 1850, President Fillmore signed the bill that gave California statehood.
However, state government did not automatically bring law and order to California. In San Francisco, local citizens became so impatient with the inability or unwillingness of local officers to enforce the law that they formed a "Vigilance Committee" in 1851. By the time that the committee disbanded at the end of September, they had hanged four men, handed fifteen over to the police for trials, and whipped or deported twenty-nine more. The San Francisco experience inspired vigilance committees in other towns and mining camps. The apparent reforms brought by the 1851 San Francisco vigilantes were short-lived, and when the city's marshals and one of its newspaper editors were shot down in 1856, the second San Francisco Vigilance Committee was formed, this time even seizing arms from the local state militia.Next: The Mines || Previous: The Forty Niners