Guide to the Bennet Riley Papers, 1849

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History --History, California Geographical (By Place) --California History --Military History

Guide to the Bennet Riley Papers, 1849

Collection number: BANC MSS C-A 118

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Date Completed:
April 3, 1962
Encoded by:
Brooke Dykman Dockter
© 1997 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Bennet Riley Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1849
Collection Number: BANC MSS C-A 118
Creator: Riley, Bennet, 1787-1853
Extent: Number of containers: 2 volumes
Repository: The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Bennet Riley papers, BANC MSS C-A 118, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Scope and Content

The papers in this collection come from various sources. Those in v.1 are originals, five of them purchased from Gelber-Lilienthal by subscription in June 1935. Though the source of the sixth document is unknown, it perhaps came from the Cowan Collection. Some items in v.2 were purchased from John Howell, December 12, 1947; some came from the T. W. Norris collection. Sources, when known, have been noted on the folders. Most of the papers are documents issued while Riley was governor of California. Some were signed for him or countersigned by Henry Wager Halleck, Secretary of State.


Bennet Riley, born in Virginia in 1787, early became a soldier, rising to the rank of Colonel by 1840 and General by 1849. He fought in Florida, distinguished himself in the Mexican war, particularly in the battle of Cerro Gordo. At the end of the war, in the spring of 1849, he was sent to command the Pacific department, with headquarters at Monterey. Appointed military governor of California, he proposed a convention for the purpose of forming a state constitution. He resigned when this was accomplished, staying on at Monterey until July 1850. He then resumed regular army life until his death in Buffalo, New York, in 1853.

volume Vol. 1

Riley, Bennet


Appointment of Elisha Oscar Crosby, Prefect for Sacramento. Sept. 27, 1849


Proclamation to the people of California, Oct. 12, 1849. Re submitting new constitution to vote (photocopy in v.2)


Proclamation designating Thanksgiving day. Oct. 24, 1849


Proclamation re ratification of constitution, Dec. 12, 1849 (duplicate copy in v. 2)


Proclamation in which Riley tenders his resignation. Dec. 20, 1849


Pico, Antonio María


Petition that absence on official business not jeopardize his title to rancho El Pescadero. With signed order by Riley. Dec. 4, 1849

volume Vol. 2

Riley, Bennet


Proclamation, in Spanish, calling for election of delegates to constitutional convention (incomplete) June 3,1849


Proclamation to people of San Francisco re usurpation of civil powers. June 4, 1849 (photocopy only)


Proclamation naming Hopeful Toler notary public and translator for San Francisco. Aug. 13, 1849


Letter to Joseph Hooker, defending actions as Governor of California. Aug. 30, 1849


Letter to Financial Committee of Constitutional Convention, Sept. 19, 1849


Letter to Prefect of San Luis Obispo, announcing election of Pablo de la Guerra as representative to the Senate, Nov. 20, 1849 (copy, in Spanish)