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[82] successful, and soon his bank was considered one of the best on the Pacific coast. This was due mainly to the prudent management by which the institution was enabled to weather the storm that destroyed nearly all the Californian banks in 1856-57. But Sherman had always reported to his headquarters in St. Louis that the bank could not make profits under the existing conditions, and in 1857 his advice was accepted and the business closed.

From 1853 to 1857, Sherman appears in but one conspicuous instance in another role than that of banker. In 1856, he accepted the appointment of general of militia in order to put down the Vigilantes, an organization formed in San Francisco to crush the lawlessness which had come as a natural result of the weakness and corruption of the local government. He sympathized with the members of the organization in their desire to put down disorder, but maintained that the proper authorities should be forced to remedy matters, and that illegal methods of repressing crime should not be tolerated. For a time it seemed that he would succeed, but the local authorities were much disliked and distrusted by the people, and the promised support was not given him by the United States military authorities, with the result that his plans failed.

During the next two years, Sherman decided that as a business man he was a failure. In his letters, he vigorously asserts it as a fact; and in truth his business career must have been extremely unsatisfactory to him. In spite of good management, the San Francisco venture had failed. For a few months afterward he was in charge of another branch of the same business in New York, and, during the great panic of 1857, this also was discontinued on account of the failure of the main house in St. Louis. Then he went to Kansas, decided to practise law and was admitted to the bar, ‘on general intelligence,’ he said, and with his brother-in-law formed the law firm of Ewing, Sherman and McCook.

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