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separate State." This is valuable information for Congress. When they have fixed upon the boundary of California, they can go on and form a government for another Territory if they please. The design of the proposition may be, to fix the question of slavery; but I can hardly imagine that the gentleman who introduces it, can suppose that when Congress proposes a boundary to us, that we have settled the question of slavery for that vast territory. This view is fallacious. It cannot be maintained. But admit that we settle the question of slavery for the State of California, what do we do beyond this State? What right have we tell to Congress that beyond it they may form a Territorial Government. I do not know how we are to settle the question of slavery, when Congress is to settle all beyond our boundaries. Now a word in regard to the advantages which we derive from establishing an absolute and definite boundary. If we establish a boundary absolutely, which we have beyond doubt a right to do, Congress must admit us with that boundary, provided we do not include territory sufficient for an independent republic. The proposition then comes directly from us. When ratified by Congress, all is done. We are a State of the Confederacy. The act is consummated; no further action is necessary. Congress would view it in this light: Here comes a direct proposition from the people of California, reasonable in itself, and claiming only what they have a right to claim. They have settled the question of slavery within their own limits; those limits do not embrace too much territory. We have no right to refuse our sanction to it. On the other hand, we find that Congress would be at a loss. They would say: We have every disposition to do all we can for the people of California, bat they ask us to fix their boundary-to make them a proposition ; they have said nothing, unless it be, that they want territory amply sufficient for an independent republic-independent of the United States and of the world. Now, sir, I contend that by making a direct proposition, and fixing the boundary definitely, we at once come into the Union beyond all doubt. We claim to exercise no authority in settling the great questions which Congress has been unable to settle. For these reasons, and many others, I shall oppose the joint proposition, and sustain the report of the Committee. I am satisfied, having been upon the ground and viewed the territory myself, that it includes all that is valuable beyond the Sierra Nevada, and is liable to none of the objections which have been urged against the amendment of the gentleman from San Francisco, or the proviso of the gentleman from Monterey.
Mr. Borts. I had thought this morning that nothing could have called me upon my feet to-day; but, sir, I should be recreant to every principle of justice that I have ever supported, if I could sit in silence and listen to propositions that have been made upon this floor. On Saturday I was inclined to leave the decision of this boundary to the Congress of the United States; but I hope I am not one of those who may not receive enlightenment from discussion; that I am not one of those fixed and immoveable human beings who, when they lay down a proposition, will never yary froin it. I have been enlightened here to-day. I have been taught by an open avowal of a member on this floor, what is the object and intention with which this extreme eastern boundary is to be fixed, and the disposition of it left to Congress. Mr. Chairman, I have looked upon it, and do look upon it, that the spirit which has animated a certain portion of the Union, inducing them to claim the right of settling this question of slavery in the Congress of the United States, as a most anrighteous, unholy, and unconstitutional spirit. And, sir, I am not ready to pander on this floor to such a spirit, either directly or indirectly. I understand now from one of the gentlemen that constitute the new firm of Gwin & Halleck--the gentleman from Monterey, who avows at last the reason for extending this eastern boundary beyond the natural limits of California, that it will settle, in the United States, the question of slavery over a district beyond our reasonable and proper limits, which we do not want, but which we are to take in for the purpose of arresting further dispute on the subject of slavery in that territory. It has been well asked if the gentleman can suppose that Southern men can be asleep when such a proposition is sounded in their ears. Sir, the avowal of this doctrine on the floor of this House, necessarily and of itself, excites feelings that I had hoped might be permitted to slumber in my breast while I was a resident of California. But it is not to be. This harrowing and distracting question of the rights of the South, and the aggressions of the North--this agitating question of slavery, is to be introduced here. Sir, let me be where I will, I will never introduce it; but where the subject is introduced, I shall discuss it boldly and freely. Why not, upon the same principle, settle this question for Congress and for the Southern people over a still greater extent of territory, Why not indirectly settle it by extending your limits to the Mississippi. Why not include the Island of Cuba, a future acquisition of territory that we may one day or other attain, and forever settle this question by our action here. Sir, if I were upon the floor of Congress, and such a proposition were made, I should indignantly pronounce against it. I am willing, sir, and no man more willing, within what may be the proper limits of the territory in which I live, to exclude slavery, because I consider it to be a great evil. But that is a question entirely different. Enemy as I am to slavery, I think that no man with feelings of justice, will refrain from reproving this doctrine at once--a doctrine which is entirely different from the question of slavery--that any man, or any set of men, have a right, except the people of the Territories themselves, to settle this question. I was not aware, sir, until I was pressed to give to this subject of leaving open for the consideration of Congress the boundary of this State, a favorable consideration--I did not see what has been pointed out to me since; that by either fixing this boundary ourselves to the extent proposed eastward, or by leaving it open to Congress to reduce it, that it would be acknowledgir right, which I deny that Congress posesses, much less a right on the part of the people
any such right or power to settle for the people of the South or North this question of slavery. I. admit it 10 be a right of the people of the Territory to erect themselves into a State, and settle it for themselves; and if gentlemen could show me that the boundary proposed were the proper and politic boundary of California, I am ready to vote for it; I am ready to apply to it a declaration that we have already made, that no slavery shall exist within its limits; but when gentlemen urge upon me as an argument, to adopt thai boundary because it excludes slavery from an immense extent of territory; not because it is the proper boundary of California, not because it is desirable to the State of California, but because it will settle the slavery question for the whole of the Southera people ; and that against the will of the inhabitants of that portion of the Union who are not represented here, the millions of people there, who desire to have the institution of slavery amongst them; when we are told that this may be, and that we here now may adopt that boundary and prevent the people of the South who may come there, from exercising their rights and determining the question for themselves—when I am urged to do this, sir, I cannot give my consent to it.
Mr. Chairman, I have always been opposed to this extreme eastern boundary for reasons that I gave here yesterday. I thought then that it might be left to the Congress of the United States. I desired ther, as I desire now, to secure for the State of California political power. I desire to secare to the people political power. I am willing to give up the shadow for the substance. I do not care about having it said that California is a very large State, with a very small ratio of representation. I would like to secure to every ten thousand men, if I can get it, a representation in the Congress of the United States. I know I cannot do this, but I would like to secure it to as small a portion of population as possible. This was the great difficulty in the adoption of the Federal Constitution-the power that was conferred upon the small States of the Union. The large Siates of the Union opposed it; and I am sorry to say that my native State (Virginia) should have been so recreant to republican principles as to have opposed it. The large States did not desire that equal sovereignty should be allowed to the smaller States, and the consequent power that it gave to the smaller States. And, sir, a provision of the Constitution that has been read here, was made. expressly to avoid this power, which gentlemen do not seem rightly to comprehend. That no State should separate itself into two States, and therefore be entitled to four representatives in the Senate , instead of two, without the consent of Congress. I have been endeavoring to show you that real power consists in making your limits as small as possible ; and thinking as I do now, that we have got the Congress of the United States in a tight place; that they are compelled to admit us unless there be something exceedingly objectionable-s0 objectionable, sir, as this extreme eastern boundary, together with the declaration of the purpose for which it is intended, Congress is bound to take us-admit us, boundary and all. I say, therefore, I am willing to take advantage of this circumstance ; it is a legal and proper advantage-and to secure to as small a portion of this commu. nity as I can, this sovereign power of representation in the Senate of the United States. I am, therefore, now inclined to lay down the dictum to Congress—10 prescribe to them even this question of boundary; to make it the sine qua non of our admission. I guarantee that they accept us with it, if there is nothing more objectionable-provided you do not make your State too smallprovided you do not include so small a portion of territory as they shall think would give you too much power. I am inclined, therefore, to go with my friends of the Committee and other gentlemen on this floor, fixing definitely a boundary ; but in that boundary, I shall vote for as small a reasonable extent of territory as the nature of circumstances will permit
. I was forcibly struck with the remarks of the gentleman from Sonoma, (Mr. Semple,) as illustrating my opinions with respect to the advantages of a small boundary. He tells you that we ought to have an extensive boundary that we may establish forts and arsenals and standing armies. I think that would be difficult to do. I cannot see upon what ground the gentleman desires that the State of California should take to herself the righi to secure a good road to the United States. I suppose the next proposition will be to extend this State to the Mississippi, so that the State of California shall make a railroad. Do you not see the fallacy of this argument in favor of an extensive border. Do you not see that the smaller the boundary the greater the power ? You have a less burden of expenseyou have a less border to protect. Mr. Chairman, I shall vote against all propositions to open this matter to the consideration of Congress ; and so far as I have yet seen, I shall probably be inclined to vote for the narrowest limits that may be proposed as the confines of this State, under the impression that although it may be objectionable to Congress because of the power it gives us, yet we have a right to secure to ourselves as much power as possible, provided we do not make inordinate demands.
Mr. McDOUGAL. Before the question is taken on the amendment of the gentleman from San Francisco, (Mr. Gwin,) I should like to give my views on the subject. If I understand that amendment, it embraces the whole of he Territory of California as ceded by Mexico to the United States; to be embodied as one State ; to be under the government of the Constitution that we are about to present to our fellow.citizens in Congress. I am opposed to it; and I will give my reasons for opposition as plainly as I can. I am no speaker, sir ; I have never in my life undertaken to deliver any kind of argument in a deliberative body; and I trust my views will be at least understood, if not properly expressed.
Mr. Chairman, when we send our Constitution to Congress for ratification, and ask to be admitted as a State into this Confederacy, Congress has no right to consider the local and internal regulations which we have adopted for our government; they simply look over them to see that there
in no violation of the Constitution of the United States. But there is one question which they have a right to consider, and to that question their attention will necessarily be drawn. It is the line which we may adopt for our boundary as a State. They have a right not only to consider it, but to dictate to us what shall be our limits. According to all usage, when any American population settles in territory belonging to the Union, the privilege has been given to them to select the boundary line of their State. It is a matter of courtesy and custom, not a right. And when Congress comes to consider the line that we may present to them for our State limits, they will think us very modest indeed, io claim for ourselves, as a State, an extent of territory equal to half of this Union. The gentleman, sir, proposes an area of territory some four hundred and odd square miles. I make it that six bundred square square miles is ineluded the territory granted to us by Mexico by the theaty of peace. It is very nearly equal to the whole of the non-slaveholding States of the Union. Do you suppose the North or South either, are so blind as to give us that country as one State equal to all they possess themselves? If we present our Constitution to them wiib this boundary, placing the question on this ground-claiming all this territory—they will throw it back to as. They will say: We cannot give it to you, gentlemen. You elaim more territory than you can govern-more than you have any right to govern. They are certainly not blind to their own interests. It is objectionable to both the South and North—10 the North because, in the course of time when this vast country becomes populated by its natural increase as well as the emigration flowing from all parts of the world into our country—it will, if you include this whole vast territory, give you a power in the legislative halls of Congress to control this Union, and peradventure the people may alter their Constitution. The people may change their notions about slavery after they get hold of the territory; they may assemble in Convention and adopt slavery. It leaves this hole open. You at once acquire the sole control over this Confederacy for time immemorial. We do not wish to give you this power because other subjects as important as that of slavery may arise in this Government, and you would have power alone to control them. And another very good reason which they might urge with a great deal of plausibility. Suppose this state should have this immense population ; this immense representation. Suppose, like South Carolina, she should undertake to act independently and recede from the Confederacy; she could do it, having the physical and all other powers to do it. If, therefore, we adopt this line, I am very sure it will be sent back to us. We will have to call another Convention, and adopt other lines to suit the views of Congress. In the meantime we have no law. We are in the same chaotic condition that we are now in. And that is the very thing, Mr. Chairman, if the secret was known, which I appre hend they want to do. They want a Constitution presented to Congress so nbjectionable that je will be thrown back for another Convention. Gentlemen have risen on this floor and stated that they had received letters from the South ; and that they knew of many others, who want to bring their slaves here, and work them for a short period in the mines and then emaneipate them. If this Constitution is thrown back upon us for re-consideration, it leaves them the opportunity or bringing their slaves here. It is what they desire to do ; to create some strongly objectionable featore in the Constitution, in order that they may bring their elaves here and work them three months. They will even then get more than they can get for them in the States. I look upon that as the result if we send our Constitution to Congress with a boundary so objectionable as this. We will have herds of slaves thrown upon us people totally incapable of self-government; and they are so far from our mother country, that we can never get rid of them; and we will have an evil imposed upon us that will be a curse to California as long as she exists. The Sierra Nevada, Mr. Chairman, presents to my mind a most proper and feasible boundary line for our State. Folowing the coarse of the crest of that line from the north to the south, taking the waters as they fluv to the east and to the west, all that country where the water commences to flow to the west, is what my proposition includes; and that gives us an area of country double as large as any other State in the Union. If you cast your eye on the map, you will see three distinct divisions marked by nature in the Territory of California. One is the great basin of the Salt Lake. It is bounded on the westby the Sierra Nevada, and by the Rocky Mountains on the east, and by a range of unexplored moun tains in the 38th parallel of latitude on the south-three grand natural divisions. For these reasons, Mr. Chairman, and others that I cannot now think of, I consider the eastern boundary line as proposed by the gentleman from San Francisco, (Mr. Gwin,) extremely objectionable, and think it would be very impolitic to include all the territory of this country. I hope it will be at once rejected ; and that we will adopt some positive line, which will not be objectiouable to the South or North, and which will receive the sanction of Congress, that we may at once be admitted as a State into this Union. We are told that the South wants us as a body, in our deliberations, to set. ile forever the question of slavery. Well, sir, I for one, would be glad to see that subject seuled, and the only way I can see that we can settle it, would be to adopt a reasonable and positive line as our boundary. If we adopt any other, we leave the question still open for agitation, and we avoid that which some gentlemen think we will obviate by adopting the whole territory as one State.
Mr. SHERWOOD. As to what ought to be our future boundary, I concur fully with several gentlemen who have expressed the opinion that the crest of the Sierra Nevada, or some line of longitode near it should be the fature permanent boundary of this State ; and if that was the only ques. tion before the House, I should, without hesitation, vote for the proposition which embraces these limits. But there are other questions which ought to influence our action. We are here now in
September, 1849, without a government; 'at least we are 'without any government sanctioned by Congress or by the people of this Territory. A session of Congress has passed, and no laws regulating the rights of property here, or the rights of citizens, have been passed. We have all seen many of us have mingled in the discussions wkich have occurred in the United States in regard to California ; we all know why Congress neglected to make a government for this Territory. We are a part of the people of the United States ; we are governed by the same influences that govem them; we are men of a like nature. There has sprung up in the parent States a question in regard to the future government of California and its domestic institutions. The power of Congress on this sabject has been discussed throughout the States, and it has caused the greatest excitement ; it has in my opinion been needlessly discussed. But, nevertheless, it is a question that agitatės the whole people of the United States. It is one which we have heretofore settled in Committee of the Whole, so far as regards the territory to be embraced within the limits of this State-I refer to the question of slavery. We have forever prohibited slavery within our limits. Members of Con. gress, when they go to the capitol at Washington, are governed by what they suppose to be the views of their constituents. We are governed, in like manner, by what we conceive to be the opinions of those who sent us here ; and if the great question is to come up before the people of the United States which has heretofore governed the action of Congress and the election of the Presi. dent, we may reasonably suppose the members of Congress will be governed in their future action by the views of their constituents. A very large portion of the last session was consumed in the discussion of the Wilmot proviso. The result was that the two great parties-neither desiring the other to get the advantage did not act in regard to a government here ; they refused, by neglect or by positive vote, to furnish us with a government. We obtained from Mexico the territory of Upper California and New Mexico. It is a matter of discussion now in the United States, whether the people of California desire slavery or not; at any rate, it is a matter in discussion between the North and South--between the politicians of each section of the Union. As we have had no gove erament from Congress during the last session, so if we do not embrace in our limits here as much as heretofore belonged to California, the discussion of the same question will be open in regard to chat portion of California which we throw out.
As a friend of the Union, and speaking to men whom I believe to be actuated by similar motives, I say that if possible we should take that bone of contention from the Congress of the United States and from the discussions of the people. The sentiments of the people of the North are decided ; the sentiments of a large portion of the people of the South are equally decided upon this question ; and if it is left open, you will find, three years hence, at the election for President, the question whether or not there shall be slavery in the territory acquired from Mexico, and you will find Cali. fornia and New Mexico without a Territorial Government. There are aspirants for power on each side. Neither of them desire to take the responsibility to settle the question alone, and it will be constantly a subject of agitation from this time hence. Party politicians will urge upon the people of the North that Congress should pass a proviso preventing slavery in California and New Mexico. Politicians in the South wil urge upon their representatives the rejection of any such proviso. And we shall either be left without a government from Congress, or we must form a government our. selves, independent of Congress. No man here desires to see such a result ; we all came here with a sincere desire to form a Constitution which will obtain the sanction of Congress. And now, if by taking in the whole of California to the New Mexican line, we can throw that question out of Congress, and keep it from discussion before the people, and thus remove the bone of contention between ihe North and the South, we should then do an act that may render certain that this Union cannot be dissolved. We are not here aware of all the feelings that control the people of the Eastern States; we are not aware here, or are not sufficiently sensible, of the evil consequences of the discussion which last year agitated the Union from one end to the other. That question is still discussed it still produces discord among those who are bound together by the strongest social and political ties. In the State from which I came (New York) there was much division of opinion upon the question, whether Congress should pass a proviso prohibiting slavery in all the territory acquired from Mexico-a very large portion of the people believing that Congress had no power to interfere, but that it was the right of the people of the territory to decide in regard to it; they believed also that it was useless for Congress to touch the subject ; that to do 80 would divide one great party, and partially the other, wbich exist, in the Eastern States. Over one hundred thousand votes were east on each side. A candidate was nominated for the Presidency, expressly on the ground that he was in favor of the Wilmot proviso. The feelings of the people were avowed; and the excitement continues still, and will continue, unless arrested by some mediating power; and no man from the South, because the South are in a minority of votes, can be elected to the Presidency in fatúre. And mark this, sir ; when no man from the South can be elected to the highest office in the gift of the people ; when a Northem candidate is elected, and his officers are appointed from his own party in the North, the South bearing no responsibility in the Government, receiving no advantage from it, will of course no longer feel itself a part of the Union, and the Union is, in effect, dissolved, by the very fact that iwo parties are created with a sectional line, where the majority on the one side prevents the other side from obtaining the emoluments or bearing any of the responsibility of the Government. I say, sir, from that moment, the Union is dissolved. Now,
if we in this Convention, can so far settle the question as to keep it out of Congress, we are bound · to do it; and in my opinion, the Congress and people of the United States, aside from that question, care very little whether we go to the Sierra Nevada or to the line of New Mexico. In view then, of these considerations, I would say go to the extreme limit of California as it exists now, and as it always existed under the Spanish and Mexican Governments; and put in a proviso which will meet the opinions of certain gentlemen here who think that Congress will not admit us with so large an extent of territory—that they may cut us off if they so desire it, to the Sierra Nevada, which we all admit to be the natural boundary. We say by that, that they shall not cut from our southern limits or northern limits any portion of territory, but simply reduce our boundary, if it be deemed expedient, to the Sierra Nevada. I know not but that Congress may say, if we do not embrace the territory east of that line, that the Government of the United States will not desire to pay the expenses of a Territorial Government, and that they (Congress) would prefer that it should belong to California until it acquires sufficient population to require admission as a State. There is another argument why we should leave the boundary open to negotiation. We have very little defi. nite information as to how far the Sierra Nevada extends south-or where the line would extend if you adopt the crest of that range of mountains. It may be that a line of longitude would be beiter; and in order to give time for the State to adopt such measures as will bring forth information on this point, I think we should adopt the whole. With these views, I hope it will be the pleasure of the House to adopt that course. I am in favor of the amendment of the gentleman from San Francisco, (Mr. Gwin,) with the proviso of the gentleman from Monterey, (Mr. Halleck.)
Mr. SNYDER. Much has been said, Mr. Chairman, in regard to the boundaries proposed by different gentlemen. It must be acknowledged that a vast portion of the country east of the Sierra Nevada is utterly useless. I perceive a disposition existing amongst a majority of the members to go for the whole Territory of California or none, which by the way, would appear exclusively American, did I not know that some of my native California friends are in favor of it. Gentlemen have said that if we do not take in all of California, that room will be left for future debate in Congress in regard to the question of slavery. And if we do not settle upon a definite boundary, we leave the door open to accomplish the very object that California wishes to avert. I therefore urge the necessity of establishing a boundary that cannot be objected to. We should endeavor by all means in our power, to prevent all discussion in Congress in regard to our admission into the Union. We have been waiting anxiously for a long time for a government. It is well known, sir. All over the world is it known. And never has the world presented such a picture ; a people at peace with nations, occupying a proud and lofty position, an intregal part of the great American Union, without a civil government. I hope we may act together with union and harmony, and what we do, let it be well done, that no member of this Convention need be ashamed of it hereafter. I have heard but very few arguments adduced in favor of the whole of Upper California as our State. We did not come here to settle questions that may arise in the Congress of the United States, but to establish a government for California, and settle questions for and amongst ourselves, that the home Government have refused to do. I cannot see ihat we gain any thing by extending our limits on the east further than the Sierra Nevada, which is the natural boundary of the State, sufficiently large for all the purposes of the people who will inhabit it for hundreds of years, No good results can be derived from a further extension of the boundary. For, as the report of the Committee says, the Sierra Nevadu is almost impassable for nearly nine months in the yearand I know that when it is at all passable, it is with great difficulty, either with wagons or pack mules. I would like to know what use the country on the eastern side of the mountains could be to us, even if it were possible to pass them with ease. There is no territory there of any value to this State. Interminable plains of artemesia, vast bodies of salt water a great part of the year, and immense deserts. Truly a valuable acquisition! I1 any gentlemen, with their slaves, wish to inbabit the country of the Great Basin, let them have it, and I wish them all the happiness that man can enjoy amidst deserts of sand and salt lakes. We have within the region of counıry between the Sierra Nevada and the Pacific ocean, the only lands in Upper California that are fit for the habitation of a community of people. h is true that the Mormons have a settlement at the great Salt Lake ; but are they cut off from all civilized communities, and even now many of their people are dissatisfied with their situation, and some have already come to this part of the country. The bands along Bear river are the only agricultural lands within the whole of the boundary of Upper California, save the couniry west of the Sierra Nevada, and a large portion of the Bear river lands are in the Territory of Oregon. It is true there are some delightful spots on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, but they are like the green spois spoken of in the desert; and I would not hesitate to say that the men who would settle there would be found equally as verdant, and probably would not present so fine a picture.
Let us draw a definite line for the boundary on the east, and contend for it. We have no neigh. bors who can be injured by it; no white men live within a thousand miles of us, and why should we hesitate to adopt at once that line - the Sierra Nevada—that God and nature intended for us. I can see no advantage in the proposition to take in all and leave Congress to settle the line, admitting that they give nothing less than the country west of the Sierra Nevada. The proposition to take in all the country west of the Sierra Nevada, and no more nor less, I think decidedly better. Mr. Chairman we will suppose a case. Our Constitution is sent to the United States, with the whole boundary of Upper California with a proviso by which Congress has the privilege of diminishing it: Then, sir, suppose that the members in Congress from the Southern States should say, If the boun. dary is not permanently established, why should we not come in for a share of these rich mineral