Henry Bates (politician)

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Henry Bates of Shasta County, California was a politician affiliated with the American Party (the "Know Nothings"). He served as California State Treasurer, 1856–1857. Prior to that, he was a member of the California State Assembly from the 13th district, 1855–1856. He was impeached by the state Senate and resigned from office.

The initial accusation against Bates was that he had illegally deposited $88,000 ($2,386,172 in 2016 dollars) with Palmer, Cook & Co. for the purpose of paying the interest on state bonds in New York City in July 1856, without requiring security for this deposit; and that the interest was not paid. A report to that effect was presented in the Senate in January, 1857. Soon afterward the assembly drew up articles of impeachment against him, for the Palmer, Cook & Co. matter, for purchasing state warrants with state funds and pocketing the difference in value; for other dubious transactions; and for a "corrupt combination" with the president of the Pacific Express Company for loaning state money. Bates was convicted, but resigned from office before he could be sentenced.[1][2][3]

The investigation and removal of Bates from office was the result of an article in the Sacramento Bee, at the time of publication still less than one week old.[4]


  1. ^ Hittell, Theodore H. History of California. San Francisco: N. J. Stone & Company, 1898. Vol. 4, pp. 199-200.
  2. ^ John F. Burns and Marlene Smith-Baranzini (2003). "Taming the Elephant: Politics, Government, and Law in Pioneer California". University of California Press. ISBN 9780520234130.
  3. ^ Sutton, John Richard (1916). "Civil Government in California".
  4. ^ Richardson, Darcy G. Others: Third-Party Politics from the Nation's Founding to the Rise and Fall of the Greenback-Labor Party. iUniverse: 2004; p. 206.
Political offices
Preceded by
Selden A. McMeans
State Treasurer of California
Succeeded by
James L. English