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Thomas Starr King, the Patriot Preacher

   By Andrea Ingraham, September 25, 2022


It was not at all a foregone conclusion at the start of the Civil War that California would stick with the union.  Consider the following:

A prominent group of merchants, bankers, lawyers and others sent a letter to Secretary of War Simon Cameron, on August 28th 1861, stating,

   “A majority of our present state officials are avowed secessionists, and the balance, being bitterly hostile to the [Lincoln]Administration, are advocates of a peace policy at any sacrifice upon terms that would not be rejected even by South Carolina.

   “Every appointment made by our governor[John Downey] within the past three months indicates his entire sympathy and cooperation with those plotting to sever California from her allegiance to the Union, and that, too, at the hazard of civil war.

   “About three eighths of our citizens are natives of slave-holding states and are almost a unit in this crisis. The hatred, manifested so pointedly in the South, and so strongly evinced on the field of battle, is no more intense there than here . . .

   “Our advices, obtained with great prudence and care, show us that there are about sixteen thousand Knights of the Golden Circle in this state, and that they are still organizing even in our most loyal districts.”    -   The Contest for California 1861 by Elijah R Kennedy


It may also be noted that Senator Gwin of California was an ardent agent of the Southern Democrats, that Congressman Scott advocated the secession of California, that disloyal military companies were springing up in the state, and that the majority of newspapers were Secessionist Democrat and spewed out endless venomous anti-union propaganda. There were plots to hijack shipments of armaments and gold and divert them to the Confederacy. The Governors of both California and Oregon were hostile to the idea of putting down the rebellion.

 Into this cauldron stepped an intrepid minister from Boston, the Reverend Thomas Starr King. Thirty five years old, but in poor health, he was renowned in the east not only as a preacher but also as a lyceum lecturer. He arrived in San Francisco with his family in April 1860 to become the new pastor of the Unitarian church, but a much larger destiny awaited him. He soon realized that if California and the west coast were to be secured to the union, personal responsibility rested on his shoulders. And so it was that he began the mission of the rest of his life.

 He embarked on a lecture tour throughout the state with a two-fold purpose: to present patriotic lectures as a means of promoting Union sentiment in the region where pro-southern feeling was so prevalent; and to present two of his famous lyceum lectures, Substance and Show and Socrates in an attempt to raise the general cultural level within the state. King had written that he “wanted to do something to reduce American skepticism in the reality of all things which their hands could not grasp, and the Yankee limitation of beauty to the yellow hue of gold.”  

King also added new lectures focused on the current history unfolding and the urgency of people strengthening their spiritual, intellectual and patriotic spirit. He addressed the Mechanics Institute in 1861 in San Francisco on The Earth and the Mechanic Arts. A lecture called Books and Reading was written in San Francisco, and delivered throughout the state, where it is said to have been extraordinarily popular where ever it was delivered. In it, he demonstrates that, thanks to printing and books, you can know the mind of  Plato, Dante, Shakespeare or BeethovenCor for that matter Jesus better than you can know your next door neighbor.  

 He continued to deliver previously composed sermons, such as Experimental Evidence of Christianity, Deliverance from the Fear of Death, but he also composed new ones, including The Comet of July 1861Religious Lessons from MetallurgyLessons from the Sierra Nevada, and Living Water from Lake Tahoe.  King loved science and loved nature, and in them saw more and more proof of the glory of God, which he conveyed to his listeners. In Lessons from the Sierra Nevada he said:

 “The mountains are measures by which we may begin to form conceptions of Omnipotence. They lead us up from matter to mind. They teach faith in invisible force…Whatever enlarges our conception of the opulence of nature, and makes us connect its affluence with the Creative Spirit, increases the possible force upon our hearts of the central doctrine of Christianity,Cthe love of God.”

 He also minced no words in denouncing the rebels as traitors and apostates:

 “Rebellion sins against the Mississippi; it sins against the coast line; it sins against the ballot-box; it sins against oaths of allegiance; it sins against public and beneficent peace; and it sins, worse than all, against the cornerstone of American progress and history and hope,—the worth of the laborer, the rights of man. It strikes for barbarism against civilization.

 “The Rebellion—it is the cause of Wrong against Right. It is not only an unjustifiable revolution, but a geographical wrong, a moral wrong, a religious wrong, a war against the Constitution, against the New Testament, against God.”

 As to the Copperheads, those claiming to be for the union but demanding peace-at-any-price, letting the south go, he had no tolerance for the hypocrisy:

 “The hounds on the track of Broderick turned peace men, and affected with hysterics at the sniff of powder! Wonderful transformation. What a pleasant sight—a hawk looking so innocent, and preaching peace to doves, his talons loosely wound with cotton! A clump of wolves trying to thicken their ravenous flanks with wool, for this occasion only, and composing their fangs to the work of eating grass! Holy Satan, pray for us.”

 Alameda County Arms

Upon the outbreak of the war, the loyal citizens of Alameda County held meetings and organized several military organizations to aid the Union cause and to combat the schemes under way to draw California over to the control of the Confederacy. With this object in view, on August 31, 1861 the citizens of Oakland organized an independent volunteer corps with a membership of seventy, to be known as the Oakland Home Guard.

A drilling camp was established at San Pablo Road and over one thousand men assembled and prepared for service in the Union Army. Oakland at this time had a population of two thousand, most of whom were loyal, however, like other cities of the county had a certain percentage who were in sympathy with the South.

In an address he delivered to this company, titled The Privilege and Duties of Patriotism, Starr King was unequivocal. He spoke for two hours; a few sentences convey the theme:

“We have been placed on our domain for the sake of a hope. What we have done, and what has been done for us, is only preparation, the outline-sketching of a picture to be filled with color and life in the next three centuries. Shall the sketch be blurred and the canvas be torn in two? That is what we are to decide in these bitter and bloody days.

 “…And the rebels say, ‘Break the ship in two’.  They scream, ‘We have a right to, on the ground of the sovereignty of the compartments, and the principles of the Declaration of Independence;  we have a right to, and we will!’  The loyal heart of the nation answers, ‘We will knock out all your Gulf compartments and shiver your sovereign bulkheads, built of ebony, to pieces, and leave you one empty territory again, before you shall break the keel.’ This is the right answer. We must do it, not only for our own safety, but to preserve the idea which the nation has been called to fulfil, and to which patriotism is called and bound to be loyal.”

 Oakland College

 Speaking to the Oakland College(soon to be UC) students in June of 1862, he was comprehensive on what was required and what was their potential.

 “There is no intellectual pleasure more sweet than the assurance, tested in arduous labor, of being grounded in truth, to finding that you have built your house upon a rock – than the repose that comes when you know something positively and know that you know it, and feel the mastery of a practical field because of that consciousness. The deeper you go into principles, the higher you will rise in results in the years to come, when the bulk of your powers must be pledged to work…”

 At the end of a lengthy discussion on these principles, he turns to the question of patriotism:

“And now I cannot refrain, young men, from referring to another duty of American scholars, in their studious years, namely to fill their hearts with patriotism by feeding their minds from the wonderful annals of their country’s history. ..While now there is a patriotic upsurge stimulated by public peril, in normal times it is up to the scholars to sustain and chasten and direct it. ..

“Let the students turn now with new zeal and reverence to the pages of our national past, and fit themselves to be intelligent centers of patriotic fervor, guides and purifiers of the national passion. Let them learn more of the training of this people in the last two centuries, the preparations for the present instinct of unity and the spontaneously compacted patriotism to preserve it. Let them arm themselves with the story of American growth and the mysterious aids to it, and be equipped with knowledge to guide and interpret, as with sentiment to echo, the devotion of our loyal millions to their intrusted land, adding that, if there had been a deeper study of the history of America in the last twenty years in the rebellious districts, and a baptism in the spirit which that study liberates, this war could not have been.”

“…Make the history of your land part of your mental substance. Resolve that every year shall introduce you to some new department or treasure of it… make some noble biography every year more familiar to your heart. In this way the scholars of the country can contribute more than tons of powder, more than sheaves of steel, more than bombproof forts, a fleet of monitors, to the defenses of the republic. They contribute power, the very core of power, - inspiration to the character of the land, - energy that will use the material forces to some noble purpose.”

 He concludes by reminding them of the source of all knowledge.

“…the elements and the heights of knowledge are revelations to man of the Infinite intellect, sparks and streams from the insufferable brightness. The aptitudes of the mind and soul are from him whose inspiration giveth us understanding, and who supplies diversities of gifts with his one Spirit. We are called to toleration because all schools in science, philosophy, and faith are classes which he is leading by various explorations towards the home of light. And it is he whose dial marks the age of states, and whose finger determines the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitations. Knowledge has its source and crown and nobleness, its motive and vigor, in him and his service and his blessing.

  “Him we discern in every star and in the mystic fellowship of stars; him and a word from him in the laws and bounty of the world; him in the breadth of truth which no finite capacities can drain; him in man; him in the head of humanity and nations, ‘the word made flesh.’ Knowledge is dark and goodness discrowned that do not bow before his light and consecrate themselves to his will.”

 Would that UC students might receive such guidance today!


 Starr King also became the chief fundraiser for the Sanitary Commission. This was the forerunner to the Red Cross, and filled a crucial need during the war, as sick and injured soldiers were dying due to lack of sanitation and medical resources in the camps. The government lacked the means and methods to meet the demand, and so this new organization stepped in to provide sanitation, supplies and nursing care. It was privately funded, and Thomas Starr King became the lead fundraiser in the nation, raising the funds through his lecture tours.

 King traveled to every part of the west coast, and in the face of the greatest obstacles became the principal factor in raising $1,235,000, about one-fourth of the entire amount raised in the country. California at that time had a population under 400,000, less than ten percent of the country. Under the most favorable circumstances this would have been a phenomenal achievement, but considering that in 1862 a flood destroyed over $50 million  worth of property in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys and $6 ½ million of shipping;  and that in 1863 a drought entirely ruined the wheat crop, and made hay so scarce that it sold for sixty dollars a ton, resulting in widespread closures of businesses;Cin view of these multiplied disasters, we must contemplate by what fire of patriotism and by what charm of eloquence, Starr King drew from the people so large a sum for use on distant battle fields

But alas the story ends on March 4, 1864. Our hero had worked himself to death through his efforts. He is one who truly “gave the last full measure of devotion, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”


King addresses pro-Union rally, Market and Montgomery, San Francisco

The signs read:



Both quotes from Daniel Webster





Attachments area



History Bullentin #5

The California Campaign of 1860 

  By Andrea Ingraham, August 26, 2022 

After the victories of the pro-slavery Democrats in 1859, Republican leader Edward Baker  accepted an invitation from the fledgling Republican Party of Oregon to be their candidate for  US Senate in 1860. The leaders of the Oregon Republicans were friends of his and Lincoln’s from Illinois, and knew well Baker’s power to win over a hostile crowd. 

Oregon, which had become a state in 1859, was overwhelmingly Democratic. Its rabidly pro slavery and pro-states’ rights Senator, Joe Lane, would soon become the Vice-Presidential  running mate of John Breckinridge. As a territory, Oregon had passed a Negro exclusion bill,  prohibiting free blacks from entering the state, and its first proposed state constitution would  have legalized slavery. Many emigrants from the south had brought slaves with them. A split in  the party was occurring, however, similar to what had happened in California, and was occurring  nationally.  

Baker accepted the challenge and moved to Oregon in early 1860, where he proceeded to  undertake a vigorous campaign throughout the spring and summer, stumping in dozens of towns,  via horseback, stage coach and steam boat. As one historian noted: 

A great change came over the country after the advent of the Colonel. For the  accommodation of the people who came to see him, he had to keep open house, and this  being insufficient, a part of the day, he held court at the largest hotel in town, and in a few  weeks had seen and captured all who met him, and knew more of the social and political  condition of the state than any man in it.i 

In Oregon Baker succeeded in doing what he had attempted in California the previous year: Cuniting the pro-union Democrats with the Republicans. Despite an attempt by a band of  Lecomptonite Democrats to prevent a quorum of the State Senate by hiding out in a barn, they  were discovered, forced back to their seats, and on October 2, 1860, the Republican Baker and  the Douglas Democrat James Nesmith were elected to the United States Senate. Within a few  days, Baker departed for Washington DC, stopping off  in San Francisco on the way. 

The American Theater Speech 

On October 19th, the ship carrying the Bakers steamed into San Francisco Bay, greeted first by a hundred gun salute at Fort Point, then a tumultuous crowd at the wharf. A week later, at an event at the American Theater at Sansome and Halleck organized by the California Republican Party, Baker would deliver perhaps the greatest public speech of his life. It would swing California for Lincoln two weeks later, and play a major part in keeping California in the Union. People came from around the state. Stores and offices closed early. The crowd began gathering by  afternoon. By seven o’clock there were 12,000 present. The theater’s capacity was 4,000. When  Baker appeared on the stage, the audience went wild. When the presiding officer was able to be  heard, and introduced “the Honorable Edward D. Baker, United States Senator from the State of  Oregon,” the tumult broke out again, people jumping from their seats, cheering, waving. They  seemed to forget they had soundly defeated him the year before.  

Baker was introduced by the Chairman of the Republican State Central Committee, as “the first  Republican who has ever been elected to a distinguished position on the Pacific Coast . . . One of  the great champions of freedom, the orator of the Pacific coast.” 

The full speech is too long to reproduce here, but a few excerpts convey the spirit. It is available  in full online.ii 

In the first half of his talk, Baker systematically dismantles the claim that the Republican Party  was a sectional party, intent on dismembering the union. He then shows how the idea of popular  sovereignty, invented as a means to promote slavery in the territories, had now become a weapon  to defeat it. But then he comes to the crux of the matter – how it is that a human being can come  to be called property and, while laws must be obeyed, how such laws can be overcome: 

“Southern people claim the right to go wherever they choose with their property. I say in  reply that the Negro is not property in the general sense; he is property only in a sort of  qualified sense. A Negro can be property only in the face of the common law, humanity,  religion, literature, and philosophy—for all these claim that black or white, rich or poor,  high or low, ‘a man's a man for a' that.’ [Great cheering.] It is true that there are certain  compromises of the Constitution affecting this question, which we all agree to abide by;  but we deny that the Negro is by common law a slave. He is such slave only by local law;  and we say, catch him where you can, keep him where you can, hold him where you can;  but when he gets away from your local law, he is free, by every instinct of humanity, and every principle of the common law. [Applause.] We deny, then, that he is ‘property’ which  you have a right to take into the Territories, and you shall not carry him there against the  common sentiment of the men among whom you go. Is not that fair? Can you overcome the  argument? [Applause.] 

“The normal condition of the Territories is freedom. Stand on the ridge of the Sierra  Nevada, or upon the brow of any eminence looking down into the Territories beyond, and  what do you behold? You find there the savage, the wild beast, and the wilderness, but you  do not find slavery; and if it goes there you take it with you by your force, your fraud or  your law. The Western man goes into the Territories with his family, his horses, his oxen,  his ax and other implements of labor. The Southern man goes with his slave. The Western  man says, ‘I can't work by the side of the slave—he degrades my free labor.’ And the  Irishman or German (who don't go South to find employment) says, ‘I can't work by the  side of the slave either—it degrades my labor.’ And these free laborers say, ‘ Let us all go  to work together and get Congress to make a law to do what Madison did — turn the  Negro out; and if they don't do it, we will do it for ourselves!’ But the Southern man says,  ‘No, you don't! I’ve got the Dred Scott decision in my pocket, which holds that neither 

Congress nor the Territorial Legislature, nor any human power can remove human slavery  from the Territories; that it goes there protected by the Constitution of the United States,  and there it must remain; and now, therefore, I tell you Irishman, and German, and  Western man, that your ideas of popular sovereignty and free labor are all humbug!’ 

“So says the slave-owner. Now, you Douglas Democrats, what are you going to do about  this? Some of you say you don't care. I say you do care, for you can't help caring; first,  because you are a man, and you feel that whatever affects humanity affects you. It is  absurd to say that you don't care. There are four million slaves, and they are increasing.  The fell influence of slavery is paralyzing the interests of freedom and free labor, and  checking the advance of the whole country. It denies us legislation; it defeats our Pacific  Railroad, and withholds the daily overland mail. If freedom is right, and popular  sovereignty is right, sustain them like men; and sustain those alone through whom you can  give it practical effect; if they are not right, abandon them. I would not make war,  revolutionize the Government, dissolve the Union, or nullify the decisions of the Supreme  Court. If that Court says a Negro is not a citizen, I submit; but I say to Douglas men, ‘Let's  attack the Supreme Court and reform it!’ [Applause.] This is not nullification. We will  obey the decision of the Supreme Court in this particular case; but as soon as God in his  wisdom takes [Supreme Court Justice Roger] Taney and the rest of them to himself, we  will, with the help of honest Lincoln put better men in their places, and thus reverse the  Court by the verdict of the people. [Great cheers.] What will you Douglas men do? Will  you hear the music of the march of freedom, and stand idly by, or turn a deaf ear ? We  have the right and duty thus lawfully and peacefully to reverse a decision which puts a  construction upon the Constitution that is higher than the Constitution itself, especially  when that decision relates to personal liberty. I say that a decision which claims that by  the Constitution slavery goes everywhere the flag goes, there to be and remain forever, is  treason against human hope. [Tremendous applause.] You Douglas men, you will vote for  popular sovereignty, will you? Now, how will you do it? What State will you carry?  Perhaps California [cries of ‘No, No!’] and Missouri. What good will that do you? You  can accomplish nothing. Come to us, then, and we will do you good. We will stand with  you, and use popular sovereignty effectually, as a great engine of freedom. 

“There are people who talk as though we Republicans were doing the South some grievous  wrong. How? When? Where? They forget that freedom and free labor are the great  interests of the country. There are only about two hundred and seventy thousand white men  who have a direct interest in human slavery. Will legislating, then, for thirty million of free  white men, instead of for the exclusive interest of two hundred and seventy thousand, be a  cause for disunion? There are poor white men in the South as well as in the North, who  have an interest in this question of free labor, and we stand for the interests of free labor  everywhere the world over, wherever a bright eye sparkles, or a bright idea gives forth its  light!” 

Baker elaborates how the whole world was moving toward freedom, with the serfs being freed in  Russia, and other countries fighting for their freedom, and WE are the exception. The south  wants no progress that will threaten its institutions, and therefore opposes the railroad, the  homestead, nothing but slavery. On the other hand is the Christian principle:

“When I go to church, and the preacher says, ‘Have mercy upon all men!’ I don't respond,  ‘Good Lord! upon all white men!’ They make the mistake of supposing that if we have  human feelings, we are plotting against them. We live in a land of constitutional law.  Whatever is nominated in the bond, we abide. If I own ten thousand cattle, worth one  hundred thousand dollars, I have but one vote, and that is my own. If another owns one  hundred negroes, worth one hundred thousand dollars, he has sixty votes; the ownership of  five negroes conveys the right of three votes—equals the representative power of three  white men. 

“That is hard, but it is in the bond, and we abide it. It is hard to compel me to give up to  slavery a man on your simple affidavit that he is a slave. But it is in the compact, and we  stand it. There need be no fear of intestine feuds; there need be no threats of disunion. In  the presence of God,—I say it reverently,—freedom is the rule, and slavery the exception.  

It is a marked, guarded, perfected exception. There it stands! If public opinion must not  touch its dusky cheek too roughly, be it so; but we will go no further than the terms of the  compact.  

“We are a city set on a hill. Our light cannot be hid. The prayers and tears and hopes and  sighs of all good men are with us, of us, for us. [Applause.] As for me, I dare not, I will not  be false to freedom! [Applause.] Where in youth my feet were planted, there my manhood  and my age shall march. I am not ashamed of Freedom. I know her power. I glory in her  strength. I rejoice in her majesty. I will walk beneath her banner. I have seen her again  and again struck down on a hundred chosen fields of battle. I have seen her friends fly  from her. I have seen her foes gather around her. I have seen them bind her to the stake. I  have seen them give her ashes to the winds, regathering them that they might scatter them  yet more widely. But when they turned to exult, I have seen her again meet them face to  face, clad in complete steel, and brandishing in her strong right hand a flaming sword red  with insufferable light. [Vehement cheering.] And I take courage. The Genius of America  will at last lead her sons to freedom! [Great applause.] 

“People of California! you meet soon, as is your custom every four years, to conduct a  peaceful revolution. There is no danger here. Disunion is far away. The popular heart is  right. It is a plain, honest, simple duty you have to perform. All the omens are good, and  the best of omens is a good cause. On the Pacific coast we have labored long; we have  been scoffed, beleaguered, and beset. One year ago, I, your champion, in your fair State,  my own State then, was beaten in a fair contest! With my heart somewhat bruised, my  ambition crushed, one week later it was my fortune to stand by the bedside of my  slaughtered friend Broderick, who fell in your cause and on your behalf , and I said ‘How  long, oh, how long, shall the hopes of Freedom and her champion be thus crushed!’  [Sensation.] The tide is turned. I regret my little faith. I renew my hopes. I see better  omens. The warrior, indeed, rests. He knows no waking; nor word, nor wish, nor prayer,  can call him from his lone abode,[sensation] but his example lives among us. In San  Francisco, I know, I speak to hundreds of men tonight – perhaps to thousands – who loved  him in his life and who will be true to his memory always. In another and higher arena I  shall try to speak of him and for him [a rumble of applause, increasing at last to a great demonstration], and I shall say that the people who loved him so well, and among whom  his ashes rest, are not forgetful of the manner of his life, or the method of his death.  [Profound sensation] 

“People of San Francisco! you make me very happy and very proud. Your kind words  cheer, as they have often cheered before. Another State, generous and confiding beyond  any man's deserts, has placed me where I may serve both her and you. And now, thanking  you again and again, I bid you a cordial, affectionate, heartfelt farewell.”iii 

Baker had spoken for two and a quarter hours. 

The Sacramento Daily Union reported that “Senator Baker  

retired amid a wild storm of applause and cheering.” Elijah  Kennedy, reporter and Republican from Marysville, described how the audience had been transformed,  

“The scene defies description. The excited multitude were disinclined to leave the place. Long they continued cheering and shouting and singing. Deeper even than this manifestation was the feeling of many, who, touched by their hero’s words of farewell and the pathos in his voice, wept, and even sobbed aloud. When, at last the thousands had departed they went out in a mood quite different from that in which they entered the hall. Then they were expectant; now they were full of courage and confidence, which spread abroad with the speed of thought . . . from time to time some reminiscent veteran recalls the “oratorical drama” of that fateful night, always with the feeling that he was present when history was made.”iv 

The shorthand notes were transcribed, typeset and printed overnight, ready for the outgoing  steamboats and stage coaches that were to distribute the pamphlet to every corner of the state. In  many places crowds assembled to hear the entire speech read. 

A few days later, on November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln carried California with a  plurality of 614 votes. More than that number were probably won right there at the  American Theater. In Oregon Lincoln won by only 270 votes. Fewer than 900 votes gave  the two states to the Republican ticket! 


iT. W. Davenport, Slavery in Oregon QOHS v IX. 

ii See

iii Oscar T. Shuck, ed, Masterpieces of Edward D Baker 

iv Elijah R Kennedy, The Contest for California in 1861



 History Bulletin #4

War on the Slavery-loving Democrats

By Andrea Ingraham

In 1857, in one of the most fraudulent elections in U.S. history, a pro-slavery state constitution was crafted at Lecompton, Kansas Territory, and in December of that year was voted up with the aid of hordes of Missouri residents crossing into Kansas to vote. The anti-slavery men voted up a different Constitution, and Democratic President James Buchanan came out in support of the Lecompton. The country was hotly divided, and this also began the fissure in the Democratic Party, as a few Democratic Senators flaunted the Administration they had elected the year before and denounced the Lecompton Constitution. One of these was Stephen Douglas, who knew he would be running for re-election against a Republican in Illinois in 1858. Another was David Broderick of California, an intrepid fighter, who had just taken his seat in the Senate in December 1857, where he promptly attacked Buchanan over his support for the Lecompton Constitution. The situation only escalated and by early 1859 Broderick was determined on an all-out fight against the Administration and its corrupt machine of the pro-slavery Democrats who had dominated the party in California for most of the decade. He announced a split in the California Democratic Party, forming the Anti-Lecompton Party, and returned to the state to campaign for his slate.

When the Republican state convention met in Sacramento on June 8, 1859, Edward Baker led the faction advocating a unity ticket with the Anti-Lecompton, Broderick Democrats. The majority of the Republicans demanded a straight party ticket, with an eye to the 1860 presidential election, not considering that the nation might be destroyed by that time. The convention nominated a slate including Leland Stanford for Governor and Baker for Congress.

On June 29th, Baker was the featured speaker kicking off the campaign at a Republican mass meeting in Petaluma. Stanford gave brief remarks on the Republican platform, and yielded the floor to Baker, who was loudly cheered. Baker spent much of the speech, and the succeeding speeches of that campaign, reaching out to the Anti-Lecomptons to join with them.

He launched a vehement attack against the tyranny of the Buchanan Administration, and praised the Broderick Democrats for standing up to that tyranny:

“I am a candidate for Congress expecting to be beaten. [Laughter],” he said, pointing out that the Administration was too strong for both of them. He said he did not mind being beaten, it didn’t hurt him, and the campaign gave him a chance to speak to the people in support of the principles of liberty, and to “feel that I am doing something to unite the public sentiment of which I have spoken against the tyranny of the power at Washington. I am in that sense an Anti-Lecompton man and of that organization - yet a Republican at the same time. I bid, in that view, God speed to all Anti-Lecompton men and say: Hurrah for you! You are doing nobly! You have come out from amongst them; you have given up chances for honor, place and power. You don’t mind if they call you half-breeds; soon you
won’t if they term you Blacks. [Laughter.] .... I know and praise what McKibbin and Broderick, our Representatives in Congress, have done. I wish them God speed, and if I really believed my running for Congress would be in their way for a moment I would get out of it before that moment expired.”

Baker’s conception of the Republican Party was not limited to practical considerations. His thought process was always on the highest plane, and he sought to elevate his listeners to that level.

“The history, the poetry, the invention, the literature, the learning of this Union is Republican. The books your children read and your grandchildren will read are Republican. The inventions that give beauty to your hearths and brilliancy to your homes are the inventions of Republicans. The stimulus that Republican inventions give to free labor serves you with uncounted blessings. The men who do great deeds and those who record them are alike Republican.... And the great men of the past, whether Homer, who said: ‘When you make a man a slave you take away half his value;’ or all others good and wise, from Cicero, Plato and Demosthenes to Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Clay and Webster – all the noblest thoughts – ‘Thoughts that breathe and words that burn’ – that fell from their lips were wrote for freedom. Who ever wrote a poem to slavery? [laughter] There have been men venal enough, amid the perfume of proud courts, to sing praises to monarchs and princes, but never a man base enough to write a poem to slavery. [cheers]

After reiterating that others may be elected in his stead, he pointed to the higher good,

“...But at last when I am dead – when principles shall prevail – .... these thoughts will remain. They will go forward and conquer; they are gathering now into a stream; they are spreading into a rushing, bolding and bounding river; they are controlling men’s minds; they are maturing lives; they are kindling men’s words; they are freeing men’s souls; and as surely as the great procession of Heaven’s host above us moves east in its appointed plan and orbit, so surely shall the proud principles of human right and freedom prevail.– [cheers] I may not be there to witness that great glory; I may not see the great edifice of the American Republic placed upon so firm and stable a basis that no recreant hand can rise to shake it.”

He concluded:
“In that day when the names of the great, the wise, and the good are called, will not some generous comrade, remembering this hour and this sacrifice when my name shall be mentioned – half forgotten though I be – remembering I did my best in my day and my
generation say of me as was said of another soldier in another struggle: ‘fallen upon the field of honor!’”  -from Sacramento Daily Union, July 2, 1859

His words were greeted with the most enthusiastic applause.

Baker would speak along these lines at over twenty meetings and rallies throughout the state in the following two months, from San Francisco, to Columbia, where 3000 gathered, to Chinese Camp to Dutch Flat. On July 8 at Musical Hall in San Francisco, he added a lengthy history of the Democratic Party, asking how it became so strong, by appealing to the common men, the mechanics, the farmers, the laborers as against the “monopolists, foreign capitalists, Whig barons and bank aristocrats,” and why, “when coupled with slavery, it is now so weak?”

He ended with high praise of Broderick and the Anti-Lecompton Democrats who had the courage to oppose the Administration.B

Several leading Republicans urged Stanford to quit the race, which he could not win, and throw his support for the Anti-Lecompton Democrat, John Curry. Stanford refused, thus guaranteeing the victory of the Lecompton, Administration, pro-slavery Democrats. These Democrats had an enormous advantage in the form of the patronage machine run by BCalifornia Senator William Gwin, the pro-slavery Senator running the party. Even with last minute withdrawals and mergers between Anti-Lecomptons and Republicans, they were crushed in the election September 7th . A week later, Senator Broderick was assassinated by way of a duel, forced on him by a leading Southern Democrat, California Supreme Court Chief Justice David Terry. It seemed the pro-slavery Democrats would prevail.


To be continued.


MONDAY, JULY 4, 2022 4:05 PM

San Francisco Lights Up!


California has a great history of development, scientific advances, breakthroughs in water management, and agriculture. The takedown of California was deliberate and since the 1960's we have seen this great state taken apart. To rebuild the nation and California and humanity as a whole, read the article below by Andrea Ingraham to learn what California can give to all mankind!


San Francisco Lights Up

by Andrea Ingraham

July 4, 1876, the centennial of the American Revolution, was celebrated around the country with  great fanfare. San Francisco was no exception.  

Preparations had been under way for weeks. Flags and bunting were hung over every doorway  and balcony. Huge paintings of Revolutionary War heroes appeared everywhere. 

Businesses were closed for days. Centennial-themed Sunday sermons were preached in the  churches. Catholic churches held a special High Mass. Revolutionary War battles were re enacted on land and water before cheering crowds. On the 4th, thousands of celebrants  disembarked from ferries all day, bringing the total crowd upwards of 400,000. San Francisco  then had a population of 150,000.  

“Never since the triumphal entrance of the Caesars into Rome, has there been such a magnificent  display of decorations – and probably not then. The enthusiasm and patriotism of the people has  never been so active and true since the Republic had an existence,” declared the Daily Alta  Californian in its reporting. 

Patriotic songs were sung, poetry read and speeches given. 

The Oration of the day was given by Rev. Horatio Stebbins, successor to Thomas Starr King, the  great patriot-preacher. This lengthy speech articulated the great advances to civilization  embodied in the Revolution and elevated the audience to the highest plane, as seen in this short  quote: 

…The round world as it lay in the serene imagination of Columbus, is one of the  most striking illustrations of the power of an idea that history records. His  heroism to obey the idea, and contrary the opinions of his age, to follow it across  the trackless deep, give him an undisputed rank in the hierarchy of faith, and an  immovable pedestal in the temple of earthly fame. Those masterly achievements  of fidelity to a thought that characterized the discovery of the New World, were  fit precursors of the fortunes of that New World, destined as it was, to be the field  of new principles, in which the majority of mankind did not believe… 

But the best was yet to come. 

At sunset, shopkeepers and businessmen lit thousands of candles and Chinese lanterns. Fifteen  divisions, comprising over 10,000 politicians and military leaders marched in the parade,  including numerous military companies, bands, ethnic organizations, unions, sports teams and  more.  

As they marched down Market Street, from the rooftop of St. Ignatius Church, Father Joseph  Neri pulled a lever. All along Market between Fourth and Fifth, “a stream of soft, mellow light” glowed from the lamps and reflectors strung from the church  roof to the other side of the street. The streets of San  Francisco were lit with electricity. 

The momentous achievement was years in the making. By  the time he flipped the switch, Father Neri was already a  well-known scientific figure in San Francisco. He was born  in Italy in 1836 and immigrated to America with a group of  Jesuit novices in 1858. He studied at Georgetown before moving to the Bay Area where he taught first at Santa Clara College. 

In 1869, he was hired by St. Ignatius College, later to  become the University of San Francisco, where the next  year, he became the chair of the natural science department. 

Father Joseph Neri

Soon after his arrival in San Francisco, strange lights were seen glowing from St. Ignatius  Church at night. Curious onlookers would pause in front of the building, viewing what they  would later learn were electric lights. The lights were powered by the first storage battery in  California, which was made of peroxide, lead and 30 chemical plates. 

Father Neri was soon invited to give a series of popular lectures including exciting  demonstrations. These were eagerly reported in the local newspapers.  

“An electric light sufficiently strong to cast a shadow of the blaze of ordinary gas was shown to  the satisfaction of all present,” read a December 1875 story in the Daily Alta California. 

In 1874 Father Neri had received a machine from Paris that would turn his private  demonstrations into a public utility: a magneto-electric machine. A contemporary report calls it  “The most valuable electrical apparatus to be found on the Coast.” 

“Fr. Neri amplified the machine’s magnets by running an electric current to them from the  storage battery he had developed,” USF historian Alan Ziajka writes in Lighting the City,  Lighting the World: A History of the Sciences at the University of San Francisco. “He connected  the machine to a ‘lighthouse,’ which was positioned on the roof of St. Ignatius College.” 

On July 4, 1876, he lit up San Francisco’s streets for the first time.  

Following this, Father Neri put on twice-weekly demonstrations with his electric lights at the  Mechanics’ Pavilion on Market Street. On August 16, improvements made to his original  electric lights were reported in the Daily Alta California. 

“The current was very steady, and the light very strong,” it wrote, “so much so that it was  impossible to look at.” It was a “complete success.” 

San Franciscans, always eager for progress, went to work lighting the city. Next door to St.  Ignatius, the California Electric Light Company opened a power station, and began providing  electricity to San Francisco’s first electric street lamps in 1879, and later that year to the Palace  Hotel and California Theater. This was three years before Edison’s lights were installed in New  York City. 

At that time, the saying, “Where the country is going California is going first,” had a different  meaning than is understood today, and one which can and must be restored. 

The Magneto-Electric Machine


Sunday July 31, 2022

Origins of the Republican Party of California

 by Andrea Ingraham

The Republican Party in California, and elsewhere, was founded by men of principle, who took their lives in their hands for the good of the nation. Its founders were committed to combat against the mortal enemies of the United States and its Constitution.
The first mass meeting of the Republican Party in California took place on April 19,1856 at the Orleans Hotel in Sacramento. Edwin B Crocker, the leader of the Republican Party in Sacramento County, opened the meeting and spoke. As the second speaker attempted to speak, a “general disturbance” by members of the American Party [a nativist anti-Catholic Party, also known as the “Know Nothings”-AI] and Democratic Party prevented him from being heard. Attempts were made to restore calm, but the protesters rushed the stand, overturned it, and the meeting was broken up.

                                                                              Edwin B Crocker 

Two weeks later, on April 30, the first state convention of Republicans met in the Congregational Church in Sacramento. Attendance was light, with only thirteen counties represented, some with only one delegate. 66 of the 125 delegates were from San Francisco and Sacramento. Alameda County was represented.

Ten resolutions were adopted, including

1. That the Republican Party is organized to preserve the liberties of the people, the sovereignty of the states, and the perpetuity of the union, by administering public affairs upon the principles established by our forefathers at the organization of our federal government.

2. That we adopt as the cardinal principle of our organization, the prohibition of slavery in all national territories – a principle derived from the ordinance of 1787, adopted at the formation of the republic, and which was applied to all the territory then the property of the nation.

3. That we are in favor of “preventing the increase of the political power of slavery” in our federal government. . .

6. That slavery is a sectional institution, in which only about 350,000 slave holders are directly interested, while freedom is a national principle, by which 26,000,000 of American freeman are secured in their rights. The Republican, being the only party opposed to the extension of slavery, and in favor of free institutions for our territories, is therefore the only national party now seeking the support of the American people.

There was also a resolution welcoming “honest and industrious immigrants, who seek our shores to escape from European despotism, and we deprecate all attempts to embitter their feelings against our free institutions by political persecution on account of their foreign birth.”

8. That the speedy construction of a national railroad, by the most central and eligible route, from the Missouri river to the bay of San Francisco is demanded by the military, postal, and commercial necessities of the republic, and should command the direct and immediate aid and support of the federal government; and the only hope of its construction is in the success of the Republican Party.

Another resolution urged speedy settlement of land titles as necessary to the future growth and prosperity of the state, and advocated grants of public lands to actual settlers. (As opposed to speculators.)

The final resolution stated that candidates should be selected based on their moral character.

The platform of the recent Republican state convention in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania was adopted unanimously, and delegates to the first Republican National Convention were elected. *  In early May a public discussion was announced to take place in Sacramento between a leading Republican and a leading Democrat, but as the time approached, no location could be secured on account of the anticipated disturbance. The meeting was finally set for the 10 th , at which time rotten eggs were thrown and fire crackers burned to disrupt the meeting, but the police arrested several people and the meeting proceeded. After the meeting, a gang of men suffering from Republican derangement syndrome took possession of the stand, and adopted a resolution stating “that the people of this city have been outraged by the discussion of treasonable doctrines by a public felon, [i.e. the
Republican-AI] and that we will not submit to such an outrage in the future.”

In the 1850s, being anti-slavery or even being against the extension of slavery to new territories, was grounds for vicious attack by the agents or dupes of the slave power.


*From History of Political Conventions in California, 1849-1892 by Winfield J Davis


California History Bulletin #3 - August 10, 2022

The Power of Ideas: The Republican Campaign of 1856

The newly formed Republican Party of California wasted no time but jumped headlong into the Presidential election campaign of 1856. It was an uphill battle in this Democrat dominated state. But nationwide mass political upheavals were under way. The old Whig Party, Lincoln’s former party, was in tatters, as the over-riding issue of slavery trumped all economic and other issues. Other parties were also in disarray.

The Republicans launched an aggressive statewide organizing drive under the banner of “Free Speech, free press, free territory, and the Pacific Railroad.” They were blessed with having in their midst one of the greatest patriots and organizers alive, Lincoln’s close life-long friend and collaborator, Edward Dickinson Baker.  Baker would proceed to stump the state from end to end for Republican Presidential candidate John Fremont and the principles of the Republican Party.

 After a Republican meeting in Marysville on August 30, the Marysville Daily Herald reported it the largest gathering ever to take place there. “The people came to hear the tenets of Republicanism discussed. They are becoming convinced that the Republican Party is the most abused and worst slandered of any party. . .The very excess of abuse and lying, in which our opponents indulge, is causing the thinking portion of the voters to give heed to our Republican doctrines. This was one cause of the large gathering. The other cause was the well-earned fame of Colonel Baker as a speaker. He has no rival as an orator in this state. This was illustrated by his masterly effort on Saturday night. For two hours and a half he held the immense audience spellbound. Ever and anon he drew forth, even from his adversaries in the crowd, the unmistakable evidences of his power as a public speaker – for even they could not help joining the Republicans in their shouts of acclaim, as some one of the great truths which form our Republican faith were illustrated in strains of the purest and most lofty eloquence by the gifted speaker. The speech was at once the most complete and the most able an exposition of Republicanism we ever listened to. . . no fair, reasonable and intelligent opponent of the Republicans who heard Col. Baker upon these points will again urge such objections to us as a party (i.e. we are sectional, dis-unionist, black republicans etc.)

“The central, vital and inspiring idea of the Republicans that Freedom is National and slavery sectional – that this was the belief our Fathers had when they founded our wonderful governmental fabric—that on this idea the policy of the government, which has always fostered free institutions and discouraged the spread of slavery, was based – that to
this end the common territories should be open alone to the resistless and conquering march of free labor, as it subdues the wilderness and builds up empires that have all the elements of stability and power – this main and basis principle of our party was elaborately illustrated and plainly, eloquently and most forcibly set forth by Col Baker. The folly of expecting a railroad from the Democratic party who would not build it, or from the American party who could not build it, and the wisdom of looking only to the Republicans as the earnest, avowed and capable friends of this greatest need of our state was happily shown.

“The peroration was sublime beyond description. The apostrophe to the spirit of liberty which actuated the republicans, and the words of noble cheer extended to them, contending as they were, for principles which are immortal, and which in the end must be crowned with triumph, completely carried away the vast auditory, and simultaneously they burst out in loud and long applause. This speech, could it be printed and sent out broad-cast over the state, would ensure the triumph of republicanism in California, in November. Its effect has already been manifested in our city. To oppose that effect, the Express must needs slander Col. Baker, and grossly misrepresent his position. Such baseness carries with it its own reward.”

The Marysville Express, the Democratic newspaper, called Baker an ultra-abolitionist, an enemy to the institutions of the country, and lamented that in his recent battle with the Vigilance Committee in San Francisco they had not driven him out of the state or even hung him, that this would be a lesser crime than for him to “go about the state preaching treason for a consideration.”

The Herald, besides denouncing such “foul slander” reported that Baker would make a series of speeches on the principles of the Republican Party, announcing the partial itinerary:

Camptonville, Yuba County, October 18th; Marysville, Yuba County, October 20th; Auburn, Placer County, October 21st; other places, Placer County, October 22nd and 23rd; Stockton, San Joaquin County, October 25th; Sonora, Tuolumne County, October 27th; Columbia, Tuolumne County, October 28th . All of this travel was done on horseback, of course, no paved roads, no air-conditioning.

Next stop was a mining town named Timbuctoo, pop. 1200, in eastern Yuba County. A large audience gathered there on September 1. The Marysville Daily Herald reported, “For two hours and a half he held the immense audience spellbound. Ever and anon he drew forth, even from his adversaries in the crowd, the unmistakable evidence of his power as a public speaker – for even they could not help joining the Republicans in their shouts of
acclaim. . .The peroration was sublime beyond description. The ‘Apostrophe to the Spirit of Liberty’… completely carried away the vast auditory, and simultaneously they burst out in loud and long applause.”

At Camptonville it was reported, “For more than two hours he held the largest audience ever assembled in this place, to listen to a political address, chained and enchanted by the power of his eloquence.” Similar reports issued from the other locations. The Marysville Herald reported that Colonel Baker, the “gallant Champion” of the Republicans, was receiving letters from all parts of the state asking him to speak. It responded that “the
Colonel is not possessed of the power of ubiquity, and cannot respond to the many pressing invitations sent to him. He desires us to state that as a ‘faithful soldier in the ranks,’ he should follow the programme already designated by the State Central Committee.”

Goodyear’s Bar, Sierra County, was a place Baker wanted to go because he had heard there
was only one Republican there. He was advised not to go there, that it was “dangerous.” On a makeshift platform he began to speak to a small crowd, including the one Republican. The audience, which continued to grow until most of the town of 500 had gathered, was largely hostile, consisting mostly of Irish miners, a few saloonkeepers, gamblers and “Chinamen.” For half an hour Baker got nowhere, but knowing
there were some veterans of the Mexican war in the crowd, he pointed to the flagpole, (from which the flag had been removed in disrespect of him), and launched a glowing panegyric on the flag and the soldiers who had carried it to victory. That broke the mood. One of the veterans let out a yell that set off the rest until it became “a wild Irish howl,” as one reported. The crowd was turned. Suddenly they all wanted to grasp the speaker’s hand; they jumped on the platform and tried to embrace him, soon toppling the makeshift stand. Such are the power of ideas.

Election Day, November 4, 1856 was by all measures a Democratic victory. For President, James Buchanan, Democrat, received 52,000 votes; Millard Fillmore, Know Nothing Party, 35,000; Republican John Fremont, 20,000. The two Congressmen elected were Democrats, as usual, and the entire state Legislature. Nevertheless, the handwriting was on the wall. 20,000 was not an insignificant vote for a new party with a weak candidate. Baker and the Republicans had tapped the patriotic spirit of the population, and laid the crucial groundwork for battles to come.

He concluded:

 “In that day when the names of the great, the wise, and the good are called, will not some generous comrade, remembering this hour and this sacrifice when my name shall be mentioned – half forgotten though I be – remembering I did my best in my day and  my generation say of me as was said of another soldier in another struggle: ‘fallen upon the field of honor!’” 1

His words were greeted with the most enthusiastic applause. 

To be continued.



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