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Mr. Borts proposed to amend the resolution (Mr. Gwin's) by striking out all after the word " resolved," and inserting the following: “That the report be re. committed to the Committee with instructions to report what members, in addition to those returned by General Riley in his message, are entitled to seats in this Convention, with the facts and circumstances attending their election.” He had seen a good deal of parliamentary bodies, and had read a great
many reports made by Committees, but never such a report as that made to this House. It was, to say the least of it, the briefest and most unsatisfactory report that ever came under his observation. The Convention was called upon to vote upon a question in which it was utterly in the dark. This Committee was raised to ascertain the facts that the House might vote understandingly. Where were the facts? It was utterly impossible to vote without them. A great mistake bad been committed. In every parliamentary body something must be taken for granted ; some start must be given. As a constituent part of every election, was the returning officer. By the adoption of the proclamation of Governor Riley, the people made it their act, and as such it was in full force and effect. General Riley was made, by the adoption of that proclamation, the returning officer of this Convention. The judges and magistrates of election were directed to make sealed returns to the office of the Secretary of State. The inference is conclusive, that the certificates of election were to issue from that department. It has been done. That statement has been made to this House. According to all parliamentary usage, the per. sons therein named, and no others, have a prima facia right to seats on this floor,
Messrs. Hill and Terit sustained the position taken in the report, and defended the action of the Committee.
Mr. Botts finally withdrew his proposed amendment.
Messrs. McCARVER, SHANNON, GWIN, SHERWOOD, HALLECK, Borts, PRICE, GILBERT, and Sempre continued the debate, chiefly in relation to the representa. tion of the respective districts which they represented.
Mr. GILBERT regretted exceedingly that the recommendation of the Governor in regard to the supernumerary delegates in the different districts should have brought about the confusion which existed in the Convention. He was certain that the recommendation was made with the best motives, and having in view the best ends. He was also satisfied that the Committee, in their report on this case, had done what they conceived to be their duty, and though he regretted that they had not given full statistics opposite the name of each delegate, yet the principal which they had acted upon, of taking the highest number of votes cast for each delegate, as the data upon which to base his election, was the proper one. The only evidence of a right to a seat in this body, was the election returns, which alone could prove that the delegate claiming admittance had received a majority of the votes of his district over and above a certain number of men who had re. ceived a minority of those votes. For the purpose of keeping the questions at issue as distinct as possible, be submitted the following amendment to the motion of the gentleman from San Francisco (Mr. Gwin :)
Resolved, That so much of the report of the committee on Privileges and Elections as relates to the districts of San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Jose, and Sonoma, be received and adopted by this Convention.
Mr. Gwin accepted Mr. Gilbert's amendment as a substitute for his motion, and moved to amend by adding the following:
Resolved, That J. M. Jones and O. M. Wozencraft, of San Joaquin district ; P. O. Crosby and John MeDougal, of Sacramento district; W. D. M. Howard, Rodman M. Price, A. J. Ellis and Francis J. Lippitt, of the district of San Francisco, are all duly elected delegates of this Convention, and that they be now admitted as such.
Mr. Gwis withdrew his amendment to allow Mr. Botts to submit the following: That the district of San Diego shall be entitled to 2 delegates, Los Angeles 4, Santa Barbara 2, San Luis 2, Monterey 5, San Jose 5, San Francisco 10, Sonoma 4, Sacramento 15, San Joaquin 15.
A debate of considerable length here arose in relation to the representation of the different districts, in which Messrs. Gwix, McCARVER, SHANNON, SHERWOOD, Price, and Botts took part.
The previous question was called, but the House refused to sustain the call.
The question was then taken on the amendment offered by Mr. Botts, and it was rejected.
The question was then taken on the resolution of Mr. Gilbert, and it was adopted.
On motion of Mr. Gwin, so much of the report of the Committee as was not included in the resolution of Mr. Gilbert was rejected.
The Convention then adjourned to 9 A. M. to-morrow.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 1849. The Convention met pursuant to adjournment. The minutes of yesterday were read and approved.
The CHAIR stated that the roll would be called according to the communication of the Secretary of State, the delegates therein mentioned being those entitled to seats according to the message of Governor Riley,
Mr. Borts said that he came so near the mark last night, that he was encouraged to let fly another shaft at the target of reconciliation. He proposed to move the reconsideration of the vote of last night, by which the amendment of Mr. Gil. bert was adopted, fixing a certain representation of the southern districts. His object was to introduce the following resolution, which he was inclined to think would command the votes of this House, and settle this vexed question :
Resolved, That the representation in this Convention from the several districts shall be apportioned as follows: San Diego, two; Los Angelos, five; Santa Barbara, three; San Luis Obispo, two; Monterey, five; San Jose, seven; San Francisco, nine; Sonoma, six; Sacramento, fifteen; San Joaquin, fifteen.
He did not think the question needed further debate, and would therefore be content to move a reconsideration of the vote on Mr. Gilbert's resolution.
The question was taken on the reconsideration, and it was carried.
Mr. McCarver desired to offer an amendment providing that a majority of the members from each district shall control the absent votes. If this plan was adopted, he thought it would prove satisfactory; but if not, the amendment was a mockery. He had seen such a course taken in conventions several times.
Mr. SHERWOOD sustained the proposition of Mr. McCarver.
Mr. Carillo felt a diffidence in addressing the assembly, from his ignorance of the English language. He claimed its indulgence, therefore, as he was compelled to speak through an interpreter. He had seen the representation presented in the amendment offered by Mr. Botts, and he was surprised to find that Los Angelos was put upon a level with Monterey. It was well known that Los Angelos had double the number of inhabitants. He likewise perceived that Santa Barbara had only three members. He hoped Mr. Botts would amend his resolution by giving to Los Angelos and Santa Barbara the number of representatives to which they were entitled. In his opinion Santa Barbara ought to have a number equal to Monterey, and Los Angelos seven members.
Mr. Hill moved an additional amendment, as follows: That the district of Los Angelos be entitled to seven delegates instead of five; and Santa Barbara five instead of three.
Mr. Tefft hoped the amendment would be taken into consideration and adopted.
Mr. Borts said, if it was in his power he would accept the amendment. He would, however, vote for it.
The question was then taken on the amendment of Mr. Hill, which was adopted. The question recurring on Mr. Gilbert's resolution as amended by Mr. Botts,
Mr. GWIN remarked that it seemed to have been an understanding among those who had compromised this question, that it was intended each district should have the strength to which it was entitled, whether all the members were present or not. In order to test the sense of the Convention on this subject, he would, in ac. cordance with the wishes of the members from San Joaquin and Sacramento, submit a proposition to the effect that the majority of the members from each dis. trict present may vote for absentees from their respective districts.
Mr. Norton objected to any such proceeding. He thought a proposition of this kind should not be offered for the purpose of riding it in upon another proposition which might possibly meet the wishes of the House.
Mr. HALLECK also objected. The Convention would never be able to get through its business, if each delegation was to vote for absent members. If a few members from one district was to cast fifteen or twenty votes by proxy on any question, members from other districts would naturally and justly object to such a proceeding. He thought it absolutely essential to the progress of business that each member should do his own voting, and that the delegation from each district should be distinctly determined. If one member who was present to-day, should be sick tomorrow, he did not think other members had a right to vote for him.
Mr. SHANNON considered the proposition extremely objectionable. It was the very worst principle that could be adopted. The precedent would be most inju. rious. For his own part, if he had to vote for any absentee, he wished at least to have the power of attorney.
Mr. SHERWOOD presumed if the grounds of the motion were properly understood, his colleague (Mr. Shannon) would not object. It was generally admitted that the people of Sacramento were entitled to a much larger representation than either San Joaquin or San Francisco. In order to give San Francisco the votes which it claimed, and at the same time give Sacramento and San Joaquin the number of votes to which they were entitled, this proposition was made. The ratio of repre. .sentation was to be fixed upon by the Heuse, and it was important that it should be done on the most liberal terms.
Mr. Hill thought the House was losing time in this discussion.
The Chair was of opinion that the discussion was not appropriate to the ques. tion before the House.
Mr. SEMPLE understood the question to be on the amendment of Mr. Botts as amended by Mr. Hill. The primary question before the House, therefore, was, whether this ratio of representation shall be agreed upon. He intended voting for this amendment, as he believed it to be a fair apportionment. One additional word. It was utterly unprecedented in any Convention held in any State, or in any parliamentary body, to vote by proxy, Where there were different nations to be represented, such a practice might be tolerated, but he hoped there was a general feeling in this Convention against the principle.
Mr. Gwin did not wish to be misunderstood on this question. His only object, as stated in the first instance, was to give the districts of Sacramento and San Joaquin their full complement of votes. He did not desire that members present should vote for absent members; but if an increase was made in other districts, he claimed the right of those districts to an additional representation. He held that the Convention could with perfect propriety give to Sacramento and San Joaquin the power to cast fifteen votes. "It was not bound by the action of any other body. "It was a body composed of the original representatives of the people. He did not introduce, nor did he favor any proposition to do wrong to any portion of California ; but these two mining districts, having the largest population, should have the largest representation. It was simply from a desire to facilitate the or. ganization of the House that he had submitted the proposition.
The question then recurring on the amendment of Mr. Botts as amended by Mr. Hill, it was adopted.
Mr. Borts offered the following resolution :
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to report forthwith to this Convention the names of the additional delegates referred to in the foregoing resolution, who have received the greatest number of votes in their respective districts.
Mr. HALLECK suggested a slight alteration to the resolution. That this Com. mittee should report the names of the persons who had received the highest num. ber of votes from their respective districts according to the apportionment agreed upon by the House. If any person claiming a seat should not be included, the question would come up on his case, and be decided on its own merits.
Mr. Borts accepted the amendment. The question recurring on the resolu. tion, as amended, it was adopted.
Mr. HÁLLECK stated that he had received a few moments since some additional election returns.
On motion, they were received, and ordered to be laid before a committee. The Chair appointed, as such Committee, Messrs. Shannon, Hoppe, and Dent. Mr. SEMPLE suggested that there was a good deal of business to transact, which might be done during the sitting of this Committee. It was important to deter. mine what officers were necessary. This could be done while the Committee was preparing its report.
Mr. Norton thought it hardly fair to go into any business whatever until it was first ascertained who were entitled to seats. It would then be time to go into the election of officers.
Mr. SEMPLE said, that if the House proceeded according to any established rules, it had no right to determine on the sitting of members until it was fully organized. It was necessary that there should be some members at least to proceed to business before this question could be determined. He did not mean to say that it was absolutely necessary for the House now to commence confining itself to rules before it was organized, but to facilitate business under present circumstances, having gone so far astray from all parliamentary custom, he thought it advisable to determine what officers were necessary, and io elect them without further delay.
Mr. Gwin believed the gentleman was entirely mistaken. It was well known that for weeks and weeks the Congress of the United States was in session under just such a temporary organization, on the famous Jersey question. He considered the present organization of the Convention perfectly legitimate. He hoped there would not be a solitary step taken, except on the admission of members, until every member entitled to a seat was admitted.
Mr. Gilberr read a portion of Cushing's Manual on this subject, (page 10, section 6,] which he thought settled the question.
On motion of Mr. Gwin, the House took a recess of one hour.
AFTERNOON SESSION, 2 O'CLOCK, P. M. The Convention met pursuant to adjournment.
Mr. SHANNON, from the Special Committee appointed this morning, made a re. port, which, on motion of Mř. Gwin, was adopted ; viz :
Your Committee has the honor of reporting the following as the “names of the persons who have received the highest number of votes in the several districts, equal to the apportionment adopted by the resolution of to-day," and additional to those already returned as elected by the Governor, to this Convention, viz;
Los Angeles-Hugo Reid, Luis Rubideaux, Manuel Requerra.
Sacramento-L. W. Hastings, John Bidwell, John S. Fowler, M. M. McCarver, John McDougal, E. O. Crosby, W. Blackburn, Jas. Queen, R. M. Jones, W. Lacy, C. E. Pickett.
San Joaquin-B. F. Lippincott, S. Haley, C. L. Peck, B. F. Moore, M. Fallon, B. Ogden, J. M. Jones, T. L. Vermuile, 0. M. Wozeńcraft, George A. Pendleton, Jeremiah Ford, Colonel Jackson, B. L. Morgan, Walter Chipman.
Mr. GILBERT moved that the Convention now proceed to the election of a President.
Mr. SEMPLE suggested the propriety of first determining what officers were necessary to complete the preliminary organization of the Convention.
Mr. Borts said that the election of President was first in order.
1. In the election of officers of this Convention a majority of all the votes given shall be necessary to a choice.
2. In voting for the officers, where several candidates are presented, the lowest on the list shall be dropped until a selection is made.
3, In the election of officers of this Convention members shall vote by ballot. Mr. McCarver insisted on his motion.
Mr. Botrs hoped that it would not be the pleasure of the House to vote by bal. lot. He thought it a principle that should be observed here, that it was a repre. sentative body, and that those who were represented had a right to know the manner in which members disposed of their votes. They were not here casting their own votes, but the votes of others. He preferred calling by name the indi. vidual for whom he voted, when representing the will of others. He therefore proposed to amend the resolution by striking out the word ballot, and insert viva voce.
Mr. SHERWOOD preferred the adoption of the original resolution. The remarks of the gentleman were true, as a general rule. But in the selection of officers where there was no principle involved, and where there might be personal feel. ing, it was usual to vote by ballot. He hoped the gentleman would withdraw his amendment.
Mr. Borts could not consent to withdraw the amendment. He did not believe there would be any personal feeling. As to the principal, he could tell gentlemen there was frequently a great deal of principle involved in the election of officers. His constituents had a right to know his vote, and he insisted upon his amend. ment.
The question was then taken, and the amendment was rejected.
Mr. Norton moved that three tellers be appointed to count the votes, which was agreed to.
Mr. CARILLO said there were certain members from below, who were entitled to seats under the resolution adopted by the House. He moved that they be sent for.
The Chair stated that there was no officer to send for them.
Mr. HALLECK moved that the Convention take a recess till 3 o'clock, in order that the absent members who were in town might be sent for. Adopted.
AFTERNOON SESSION, 3 o'clock, P. M. The roll was read. Messrs. Norton, Snyder and Jones were announced by the Chair as tellers appointed under the motion of Mr. Norton.
A discussion as to which resolution had precedence having arisen,
The CHAIR stated that the question before the House was on the adoption of the amendment offered by Mr. Hobson to the resolution of Mr. McCarver.
Mr. McCarver objected to the amendment on this ground: That it was fixing the rules of the House by resolution. It also prevented persons from becoming candidates, who might possibly be the ultimate choice of the Convention. The candidate having the least number of votes could never be reconsidered. This was forestalling all further action, and was different from any custom with which he was acquainted.
Mr. Semple also objected to the amendment. He thought it was not customary to withdraw the hindmost candidate. The usual plan was to continue to ballot until some member received a majority of the votes.