Friday, March 19, 2010

A Political Scandal in 1854, Part 2

It is interesting to note that the State Journal was far harsher on Heman's alleged crime than his local paper, the Daily Placer Times and Transcript (page 2, dated 6 March 1854):
More alleged bribery - We publish from an extra of the State Journal, issued on Saturday, an address to the people of El Dorado, from Messrs. Hall and Livermore, of the Senate, charging that they were sought to be bribed to vote against a Senatorial election this winter, by Heman Doyle, Esq., one of their constituents.  The particulars will be found in the address itself.  As Mr. Doyle is a prominent an responsible citizen of El Dorado, and well known to a large acquaintance, he will doubtless take an early opportunity to respond to the charges proffered.  Until we see the other side, we do not deem it necessary to comment upon the matter, especially in view of the crowded state of our columns.
Indeed, Heman did respond on 9 March 1854 (Daily Placer Times and Transcript, page 2 - from the Mountain Democrat):
To the public - a card has recently made its appearance over the signatures of Senators Hall and Livermore, endorsed by seven of the Assemblymen of El Dorado, in which I am charged with having offered a bribe to the Senators to vote for the postponement of the Senatorial election, or to resign their seats in the State Senate, and also to exert their influence to secure the co-operation of the El Dorado delegates in the Assembly.  These are grave charges, and if true, deserve and doubtless will receive that punishment the offence so well merits.  Senators occupying high and honorable positions are said to have been approached.  If true, their honor has been attacked and the dignity of the State invaded.  Justice to those Senators, and a proper regard for the Senate, demand an investigation of the charge, and that I meted out to me the punishment my offence so much deserves.  Until that time I occupy the position of a criminal stained by the commission of crime, which, if true, must pollute me the remainder of my life.  In such a position, it would be improper for me to attempt to prejudice the public mind in my favor.  It is enough for me to say, that I am ready and anxious for that investigation.  I have not fled from the eye of offended justice, but I am here, ready to obey with alacrity the first mandate  of the Senate, to answer to the crime charged.  Honor demands at the hands of those Senators that it should be investigated.  Doubtless they will require it; until then, I ask an impartial public to suspend their judgement - hear the facts - then decide between me and my accusers.  You can then determine whether I am that guilty man, recking with crime, and whether others pass unscathed the ordeal that awaits them.  If this investigation is not demanded by the Senators,  will then give the world the facts as they are.  Then judge between us. -- H. DOYLE.
The same day, a warrant for his arrest was issued (Daily Democratic State Journal, 9 March 1854, page 2):
THE LATE BRIBERY CASE - Heman Doyle, Esq., J.P. of the county of El Dorado, charged with attempting to bribe that portion of his own delegation in favor of the Senatorial election, and for whose arrest a warrant has already been issued, has published a card in which, while not denying any portions of the charge, he asks an "impartial public to suspend its opinion" before deciding between him and his accusers.  An investigation of the subject will doubtless be had before the Senate as soon as Mr. Doyle can be arrested, or whenever he will deliver himself up.
Unfortunately, this is where the case goes cold (for me).  I haven't been able to find out what happened next in any newspaper articles, but I think Heman came through fairly unscathed since his most prominent years were still ahead of him.  He did leave California a year or two after the ordeal and spent most of the 1860s in Nevada.  He eventually came back to California and settled in San Joaquin Co. where he alternated between private practice and Justice of the Peace.  He died in 1881 and is buried in Woodbridge Masonic Cemetery.

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