Slike strani

Mr. McDougal said: This question is so important that I would suggest some course of action, on the part of the Committee of the Whole, for the purpose of order and convenience in the despatch of business. I understand that there are a variety of opinions in relation to the proper boundary of this State. I therefore suggest that gentlemen who intend to introduce propositions on the subject present their various amendments. Let these amendments be copied by the Clerk, and copies furnished at the earliest practicable moment for the use of the members. I differ, myself, from the Committee that made this report, as to the line therein proposed. I shall therefore offer an amendment; and, as I presume others will come up, I hope the course which I have suggested will be pursued. For the present, without explaining the line which I propose as a boundary, I will simply present my amendment:

That the boundary of the State of California shall include all that tract of country from the 105th degree of longitude west from Greenwich to the Pacific coast, and from the 32d to the 424 degree of north latitude, known as the territory of California ; also, the harbors, islands, and bays adjacent and along the Pacific coast; also, to extend three English miles into said Pacific ocean and along the coast thereof from the 32d to the 420 degree of latitude north; but if Congress should not grant or adopt the boundary herein sei furth, then the boundary to be as follows, viz: commencing at the point of intersection of the 420 degree of north latitude, and of the 120th degree of lougitude west from Greenwich, and running south on the line of said 120th degree of west longilude until it intersects the 38th degree of north latitude; thence running in a straight line in a southeasterly direction to the boundary line between the United States and Mexico as established by the treaty of May 30th, 1848, and at a point where the 116th degree of west longitude intersects said boundary line; thence running west and along said boundary line to the Pacific ocean, and extending therein three English miles; thence, running in a northeasterly direction and following the direction of the Pacific coast to the 420 degree of north latitude, to the place of beginning; also, all the islands, harbors, and bays along and adjacent to the Pacific coast.

Mr. SEMILE. I desire to make a few remarks, which I think may be of some service to the House on this subject. I conceive that our object is not so much to define the particular line of boundary, provided it does not run west of the range of California mountains, known as the Sierra Nevada ; that it is not important about the territory on the other side, but that the great object now is to secure the admission of California as a State into the Union. There may be other questions which involve great difficulty, connected with this boundary, in the Congress of the United States. It would therefore seem proper for California to define her northern and southern boundary, and leave her eastern boundary open, subject to the action of Congress, with a proviso, that Congress shall not extend the boundary west of the Sierra Nevada. It is evidently not desirable that the State of California should extend her territory further east than the Sierra Nevada. That is the great natural boundary ; better than military fortifications, to secure us from any danger from the interior. Beyond that we do not desire ; but if Congress think proper to include it, it would pro. bably be our policy to abide by that decision. It seems to me that this course is the proper one. Let us establish our northern and southern lines, and our western line, including the bays along the coast, and lands lying between the crest of the Sierra Nevada and the Pacific, and leave the Eastern line to the discretion of Congress. It would be a great draw back to this country to be left three or four years without a State Government, while Congress is debating our boundary, We must therefore, as a primary consideration, adopt such a course as will be least calculated in produce dissension in the halls of Congress. If we secure this valley lying between the Sierra Nevada and the Pacific it is all we desire. It is the limit formed by nature for this State. But if it is at all likely, after the Constitution is carried to Washington to be ratified, that a definite eastern boundary would delay our admission as a State, it is an important matter that we leave it to be settled there. Those great and exciting questions which have distracted Congress for years ought not to be brought up there by any course which we may pursue. This is the true policy of California. In almost all the other States, which have been admitted into the Union, the only material difficulty has been in regard to boundaries. It was the cause of the difficulty between Missouri and Iowa, Michigan and Ohio. In one instance, in the latter case, the military were called upon to settle the boundary line. This is the consequence of asking too much territory. If we ask for little, it seems to me that Congress would be willing to grant it; and we might insert a proviso in our Constitution that, if Congress desires to add the territory east of the Sierra Nevada, hereafter that portion may be introduced with the consent of the Legislature of California. It is a very doubtful question what is the disposition of Congress in regard to our eastern boundary. But I think it should be left to the discretion of Congress. When settled by Congress, it will be as definitely settled as if we had fixed it in our Constitution. It is said by members of Congress that one portion of the Union refused to settle the question, in regard to California, at the last session, on principle; another portion as a point of honor. It would appear that each party is determined never to yield on this question. If we can avoid exciting these sectional prejudices, it will be greatly to our interest. It is highly desirable that we should have a regularly organized Govern. ment, and I think this is the best course to effect that object.

The Chair thought it desirable, before the House proceeded any further in this discussion, that every member should clearly understand the different eastern boundaries proposed by the report aud the amendment,

[The Chair then read the report and amendment in juxta-position.]

Mr. HALLECK. I have a proposition which I wish to offer as a substitute for the whole. I was not aware that the subject was to be brought up this morning; and I have drawn up my proposition very hastily here at my desk. It is as follows:

[Here Mr. HALLECK read a proposition with a proviso, but withdrew it to allow Mr. Gwin to submit the following, which he accepted as a portion of his amend. ment, as it accomplished precisely the same object which he had in view.]

Mr. Gwix then offered the following amendment to the amendment, viz :

The boundary of California shall be as follows: beginning at the point on the Pacific ocean south of San Diego, to be established by the Commissioners of the United States and Mexico, appointed under the treaty of 20 February, 1848, for running the boundary line between the territory of the . U. S. and Mexico, and thence running in an easterly direction on the line fixed by said Commissioners as the boundary to the Territory of New Mexico; thence northerly on the boundary line between New Mexico and California, as laid down on the “ Map of Oregon and Upper California from the survey of J. C. Fremont, and other authorities, drawn by Charles Preuss, under the order of the Senate of the U. S., Washington city, 1848,” to the 42d degree of north latitude ; thence due west, on the boundary line between Oregon and California, to the Pacific ocean ; thence southerly along the coast of the Pacific ocean, including the islands and bays belonging to California, to the place of beginning.

Mr. HalLeck then submitted his proviso, which he stated was taken nearly verbatim from the Constitution of Florida :

But the Legislature shall have power by the votes of two-thirds of both Houses to accede to such propositions as may be made by the Congress of the United States, upon the admission of the State of California into the national confederacy and Union, (if they shall be deemed just and reasonable,) to limit the eastern boundaries of the State to the Sierra Nevada, and a line drawn from some point in that range to some point of the Colorado or Gila rivers, and to organize, by Congress, a Territorial Government for that portion of California east of these boundaries, or to admit it into the Union as a distinct and separate State. And the Legislature shall make declaration of such assent by law.

Mr. Gwin accepted the proviso as an amendment to his amendment. He regarded this question of boundary as the most important that had to be settled in this Convention. He thought that more important results proceeded from it than from any other. He had devoted much attention to the sabject of the boundary, knowing the difficulties which would arise in connexion with it. He had maps which he had laid before citizens of California who are well versed in this matter, and they informed him that the boundary which he proposed was that recognised by the Government of Mexico, and he believed it would be recognised by the Government of the United States, and in fact had been recognised by the official documents and maps published by order of Congress. He believed that we should in the first place fix the boundary definitely in this Constitution, so as not to leave open the question which had heretofore pre vented California from having a government; but as this was a fair subject of negotiation between the two high contracting parties, and as Congress had a right to determine what our boundary should be, and might refuse to sanction the proposed boundary, then it was competent for Congress and the Legislature, under this proviso, to change it by their joint action. Any other course he thought would give rise to a great deal of difficulty in Congress.

If we include territory enough for several States, it is competent for the people and the State of California to divide it hereafter. This a privilege guarantied by the Constitution of the United States. He looked upon it as a matter of great importance that the boundary should include the pentire territory, so that there could be no question hereafter. It was true this proposition embraced an immense unexplored region ; that it brings in the Mormon settlement on the Salt Lake. But the Mormons have already applied for a government, and if they do not desire to remain in the State of California, it is very easy for them to form a separate government. He was informed that they were already breaking up, and would in a short time dissolve their association. At all events, we should not jeopard our

admission into the Union by omitting them. If they desire it, they can have a government of their own.

The CHAIR stated that the question would be on the amendment of Mr. McDougal.

Mr. McCARVER. I am decidedly of opinion that it is the duty of this House to fix some permanient line as the boundary of California. It is the duty of the State of California and the United States, as the two high contracting parties, to fix the boundary ; and I believe it is the duty of this Convention to designate some particular limits, so that the people may know where the boundary is. There has been much collision between the Government and the new Territories that have recently been admitted into the Union ; not so much because they were claiming too great an extent of territory, but because the Government wished to shape it in a particular manner. We may find the same difficulty here. We may find an attempt on the part of the Government, if we leave this an open question, to make iwo States bordering on the Pacific. It is our duty to refuse to come into the Union as Iowa did, unless Congress accedes to the boundary which we deem proper to adopt. A similar difficulty may take place in California. The amendment just read Mr. Gwin's) fixes an indefinite boundary. I am of opinion that it is greatly too large, and that it leaves the boundary in an indefinite form, and in a condition that will hereafter produce agitation in Congress. It is not at all probable that the Government at home will demand such a boundary. It is true that the proviso which the gentleman accepts as a part of his proposition may have a tendency to quiet that difficulty, but it leaves the question open, to be settled hereafter by the Congress of the United States and the people of California in their legislative capacity. Is it not calculated to bring up the slavery question again ? Here are two States possibly to be hereafter made out of California. There is certainly too much territory for one. The whole question as to slavery in one of these States is therefore to be brought up again. If we

leave it for Congress to settle, they may divide the territory east and west instead of north and · south. I contend that we should clearly and definitely settle the question of slavery for that portion

of California that we expect shall remain permanently the State of Caiifornia, and should not extend our boundary beyond that part over which we intend to extend our laws.

Mr. Suannon. The proposition of the gentleman from San Francisco, (Mr. Gwin,) including the entire boundary of the territory known as California, has been read. I have prepared here, sir, an amendment, which I shall offer at the proper time, after the present amendment and substitute have been disposed of. The amendment which I propose to offer leaves out a great portion of the territory of California as included within the proposition of the gentleman (Mr. Gwin ;) and as he has already claimed and received the favor of the House to read his amendment, I shall claim the same privilege. My amendment is in these words:

Resolved, That the boundary of the State of California, be the following: Commencing at the point where the one hundred and twentieth (120) parallel of longitude west from Greenwich intersects the forty.second degree of north latitude (forming the southern boundary of the Territory of Oregon ;) thence following said one hundred and twentieth parallel, southerly, to its intersection with the thirty-eighth degree of north latitude ; thence in a southeasterly direction to the point where the thirty-fifth degree of north latitude crosses the river Colorado ; thence southerly, following high water mark on the east bank of said river, to the boundary line established by the late treaty between the United States and Mexico, dated at Queretaro, May 30th, 1848; thence westerly along and upon said line to Pacific ocean ; thence following the course of said Pacific coast to the parallel of forty-two degrees norih latitude, extending one marine league into the sea from said coast, and including all the bays, harbors, and islands ad ent to said coast, to said forly-se. cond degree, and thence easterly along and upon said parallel of latitude to the place of beginning.

The advantages of this line I deem very great; for the reason that it will include every prominent and valuable point in the territory ; every point which is of any real value to the State, including also the river Colorado, and that point which will be so important at our southern extremity as a port of entry and depot for the trade carried on between the interior provinces of Mexico and the lower portion of the State of California. Including these points, and all the rest included in the boundary reported by the Committee, it possesses another advantage ; it brings the State within reasonable limits—very nearly the same limits proposed by my colleague from Sacramento (Mr. McDougal ;) that is--following the crest of the Sierra Nevada. But it makes a more distinct and perfect boundary line, and possesses the further advantage of giving regularity to the width of the State. If you observe, it follows nearly in a parallel line along the coast. It makes the territory nearly of an equal width at the northern and southern points. It follows the coast in its southeast bend, nearly in a parallel direction. As to the proposition now before the House, (Mr. Gwin's,) I cannot but regard it as one of the most objectionable that could possibly be adopted by this Convention. I consider that it is indispensably necessary that we should have more fixed limits to the new State of California. I believe, if we do not, it will occasion in the Congress of the United States a tremendous struggle. Leaving an immense extent of territory at the east, to be included or not at the discretion of Congress, it will certainly leave open a subject for contest. The slaveholding States of the South will undoubtedly strive their utmost to exclude as much of that territory as they can, and contract the limits of the new free State within the smallest possible bounds. They will naturally desire to leave open as large a tract of country as they can for the introduction of slavery hereafter. The Northern States will oppose it because that question is left open--the very difficulty which it is our policy to avoid. This is an immense territory which the gentleman proposes to include. It is very unwieldy and could never be subjected to the operation of our laws. A great portion of it can be of no advanage to us. A vast deal of it is an immense unexplored region-a barren waste. The northeastern portion of it is, as the gentleman states, settled now by a large population of people, whose religious tenets certainly form a great barrier to their introduction among the people of California. I know not upon what authority the gentleman states that these settlements are now breaking up—that therefore no difficulty can occur bereafter on that ground. Mr. Chairman, these settlements are only forming. They are day by day acquiring strength, and becoming more permanently fixed as a great community ; they are rapidly increasing in wealth, population, and stability. They may, after some time, become an immense and unwiedly body, with numbers of elders striving for the control and influence of the sect; and when all these different influences become struggling against each other, they may break up. But now it is not the case, nor is it likely that it will ever be so; for they are not contracted within narrow bounds as they were in the United States. They have an immense extent of territory, which as

they divide they can extend themselves over, and form new settlements; and that, sir, I take it, will be the natural course of events with them. But the great difficulty with them is, that they bave no representation in this Convention. How can you force them to come within the State of California ? Will not the objection be a valid one, that they have no representation here. They will say: we had no hand in forming this Constitution which you endeavor to force upon us, and we will not submit to it. It seems to me that such an objection would be most just and proper. And the gentleman sees it too, from the fact that he endeavors to get over the difficulty by suggesting the probability of their breaking up hereafter, and abandoning their settlements. But we are told that they are already leaving there in great numbers. Very well, sir. They are and have been for the last eighteen months; they have been coming to the gold mines and working hard ; but when they do so, you almost invariably find that they return back to their homes, carrying with them a great portion of the wealth of Californla, to enrich them there and render their stability more certain. But even suppose they would quietly submit to the government which we are establishing here. Just imagine a member of the Assembly or of the Senate, starting from the Salt Lake settlement and traveling three or four months to reach the Legislature of California, and traveling three or four months back to reach his constituents. The only way in which I can see that we could get over that difficulty, would be to provide for a perpetual legislature here ; otherwise it would be impossible for them ever to keep up their proper representation. For these reasons, Mr. Chairman, I shall certainly oppose the introduction of any territory as a part of the State of California that would render the State so unwiedly as this; while, at the same time, I shall oppose any proposition that leaves out any important point which may be valuable to the State hereafter.

Mr. HOPPE. I have not made up my mind fully. Mr. Chairman, whether it will be best to inelude the whole of California as laid down upon this map, (Fremont's,) or to have a fixed boundary defined; but from what knowledge I have of the country, and what I have seen, I think if there is any definite boundary to be made, that that proposed by the Committee is decidedly preferable to any other yet proposed-taking the longitude of 116. Any person who has been over the tract of country northeast knows that it is nothing but an isolated desert, until you get to the region of the Salt Lake. The land on this side of the desert is naturally separated from that on the other side, and should be kept so. On the western side of this boundary line, 116° W. longitude, there is a great deal of desirable land before you reach the base of the Sierra Nevada. It is supposed by many that it embraces a good deal of valuable mineral land ; but if we make the Sierra Nevada the dividing ridge we have no protection from the territory beyond. Depredations will be committed within our limits. How will you reach the offenders by process, when all they have to do is to withdraw a short distance on the other side. They are then out of reach. We want some line beyond this range of mountains. My friend from Sacramento (Mr. Shannon) stated that he desired to include the Colorado, because there might be valuable seaports there. I think we should leave out the Colorado altogether. The Mormons have settled there, and if they can make a good seaport of it, it will be valuable to the interior, and be of decided advantage to us also in our southern trade. If the question comes up, unless my mind should be made up to include the whole of the territory of California, I shall vote in favor of 1160 west longitude as our eastern boundary line. I believe there is no other that would suit us so well; and I hope gentlemen will take its advantages into consideration.

Mr. Borts. I entertain very different views on this subject from most of the gentlemen who have addressed the House. I think it is true, with my friend from San Francisco, (Mr. Gwin,) that this is an exceedingly important question, and one that we should exercise due deliberation in considering. There is but one question, in my mind, in forming this Constitution, that I would condescend to consider with any reference to the views of Congress. It is the only one that they have a right to exercise any control over in this Constitution ; and that question is contained in the clause now under consideration. All other provisions in our Constitution affect ourselves, and ourselves only, and we have a right to shape them as we think proper ; but the question of boundary affects the interests of otbers whom Congress holds in charge. It is for this reason that I like so much the character of the amendment proposed a little while ago by the gentleman from Monterey, (Mr. Halleck,) leaving it to Congress to reduce the boundary to certain limits, if such course be deemed advisable. This is the only proper subject of negotiation between the people of California and the Congress of the United States. I say, then, with respect to this eastern line, I am willing after the Spanish fashion, to leave it to those buenos humbres in Congress and our Legislature to decide. Let us define the line ; let us, upon our part, claim a line, but let us provide also that that line may be altered by those two high contracting parties. I would not insist upon two-thirds of the Assembly; I would desire that it should be decided by a majority of the Assembly of the State of Calilornia, together with a majority of the Congress of the United States—our Assembly against their Assembly. When these two agree, the line determined upon by them should be our eastern boundary. There is one point upon which I entertain very different views from most of the gentlemen on this floor; and that is, that we can be accommodated or benefited in the slightest degree by having a very extensive territory in California. This thing is better understood at home than here, and the difficulty will be in obtaining what we ought to desire-small and contracted limits. We claim a representation in the Senate of the United States equal to that of any other State in the Union. The question will be there, for how small a territory do you claim this power? Do you remember, Mr. Chairman, that the little State of Delaware, because of her size, is the most powerful State in the Union? Do you remember that her ratio of representation in the Senate of the United States is infinitely greater than that of any other State in the Union ?—a fact that form. ed an almost insaperable obetacle to the adoption of the Constitution of the United States. Sir, the difficulty will be to contract and not to expand your limits; and, if you are seeking power for your State, your object ought to be to make it as small as possible. I wish we could get it divided into two or three States, as some gentleman suggests. Instead of having two votes with the han. dred and twenty thousand people here, we would have six votes in the Senate of the United States. But there is no danger of this. They are too vigilant at home to permit anything of this kind. It is upon this subject that we ought to be particularly guarded. Inasmuch as it is a fair subject of negotiation, I would not propose the original resolution of the mover, (Mr. Gwin,) but would sug. gest a modification of it somewhat in this wise: The eastern boundary shall follow the Sierra Nevada as far as that range of mountains extends on Fremont's map, and thence in a diriect line to the mouth of the Gila. That may be the very boundary proposed by some of the gentlemen who have submitted propositions, but I merely throw it out casually as a suggestion. It is a bound. ary which, I understand, would include a very important portion of country in the lower part of the State. But if Congress should desire to include a greater extent of territory than that, it can only be done by the joint action of Congress and the Legislature of California. My object is, to secure to the inhabitants of this country just as much power as I believe they are entitled to in the public councils of the nation ; and I am not willing that all that extent of country embraced between the Pacific ocean and the boundary laid down in Fremont's map, as proposed in the amendment, on the east, should be represented in the Senate of the United States by only two members. Sir, the extent of country laid down by the first part of the proposition (Mr. Gwin's) is probably about fifty times as great as that proposed by other members here. Suppose Congress should adopt that line? There is no power in your Assembly to alter the line so adopted. It becomes the law of the land, and a part of the Constitution. But whilst I permit that to be done, if the Congress of the United States insist upon it, it can only be done under the approval and joint consent of Congress and the State of California. If it is to be forced upon us at all, let as only have it upon a joint vote of the two parties. Let us fix the line which we think ought to be the true and proper line of the State of California. The question then occurs, which is the true and proper line ; what is the line which it is to our interest to adope? Is there a gentleman on this floor who hesitates between the two lines-the original, reported by the Committee, or that afterwards peoposed by the gentleman from Monterey, (Mr. Halleck ?) Can the extreme eastern line command half a dozen votes? I propose to amend the proposition of the gentleman from Monterey, by adopting some much more limited line for the eastern boundary than that proposed by him. My proposition would be, after fixing this limited boundary: “But this boundary may be altered by the Congress of the United States, if that alterntion is confirmed by a vote of the Assembly of California." I do not see why we should require a two-thirds vote on this question. It is a fair subject of negotiation between the parties. It does not require a two-third vote on the part of Congress, and I do not see why it should require it here. I suggest to the gentlemen who favor the narrow line, that it is a very important matter that you modify the resolution so as to make your expression of opinion state fairly and clearly the desire of this House. I shall go for the principle embodied in the amendment, while I am opposed to the details.

Mr. Hastings. Before voting upon this matter it is important that we understand what is pro. posed by the various gentlemen who have made propositions. The Conimittee, Mr. Chairman, propose the boundary which is now before the House. In view of certain facts which I do not be lieve are in possession of many of the members of this House, the Committee was constituted mostly, if not entirely, of persons who are acquainted not only with this side of the Sierra Nevada, but with the other side also. The Committee were of opinion that it was important to reduce the territory as much as possible ; bat, at the same time, important to include all of the most valuable portions of the country. We found that to fix the boundary of the Sierra Nevada, and follow the crest of that chain of mountains as the line, would intersect the ocean to the northward of San Diego; and that the parallel of 116 deg. longitude would strike the boundary on the south, but sixty miles or one degree to the eastward of San Diego. Even the boundary as reported by the Committee throws the whole territory into a triang lar form, running to a point at the south. This was done because it was understood by the Committee that the territory on the south, in the vicinity of the Rio Colorado, was entirely worthless, and the river not navigable there. We therefore preferred to fix a boundary there, including as little as possible of that sterile region. But at the north where the territory becomes wider, it was extended for the purpose of including a valnable portion of the country-a portion of the country with which every member of the Committe was well acquainted. In the first place, it includes the country immediately east of the Sierra Nevada, extending about two hundred and fifty miles from the base, and including the rivers and streams of the snowy region. Upon those rivers and streams we find often agricultural lands well adapted to grazing purposes, and in all respects a valuable agricultural region. This tract of country ex• tends along the Sierra Nevada on the eastern side as far as parallel of longitude 116, and includes what is called Savan, Trout river, Meriot river, and various lakes and settlements in that territory. Beyond that parallel of longitude is nothing but one vast sterile plain to the Great Salt Lake, now occupied by the Mormons. This consideration induced the Committee to propose the eastern .boundary at 116 deg. It occurs to me that it is the only practicable and the best boundary that can be or bas been proposed. If the boundary is fixed upon the Sierra Nevada, a valuable portion of the country is rejected. If, on the other hand, the entire country is included, then the objections

« PrejšnjaNaprej »