Meeting of May 25, 2010

Larry Comstock on “The Lincoln Writ” — Abraham Lincoln and the New Almaden Mine

Larry discussed the writ issued by President Abraham Lincoln in May 1863 to be enforced by the U.S. Marshall in San Francisco:

“Whereas, Andres Castillero and divers persons have under a pretended grant from the Republic of Mexico occupied the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine. And, Whereas By the decision of the Supreme Court it has been adjudged that the grant is fraudulent and void.

Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States do hereby order you to seize the property and deliver it to Leonard Sweet, an agent who has been authorized by me to take possession of the same for the United States.”

Larry discussed the history of the New Almaden quicksilver mine located just to the south of San Jose. He then discussed the uses of mercury in the mid 19th century and then the litigation over the ownership of the mine that led to the issuance of the writ quoted above. Lastly, he showed how the writ was presented to the owners of the New Almaden Mine and the reaction of the miners in California. The writ was ultimately withdrawn because of the negative reaction.

Lincoln Writ ← Larry’s PowerPoint slides in PDF format.

Newsletter May 2010