Slike strani
PDF
ePub

Mr. Borts considered this objection unfounded. The member dropped would have a right to be renominated.

Mr. McCarver was of opinion that in passing this resolution a rule of :he House was adopted, and the candidate under that rule could not become a candidate again.

Mr. HALLECK moved to strike out the second article of Mr. Hobson's proposi. tion, which was agreed to.

The question recurring on the proposition as amended, it was adopted.
The Convention then proceeded to the election of a President.
On motion, Messrs. Norton, Snyder, and Jones were appointed tellers.

Upon counting the ballots, it was announced to the Convention, by the tellers, that Robert Semple, of the district of Sonoma, was duly elected President.

Messrs. Sutter and Vallejo were appointed a committee to escort the President to his seat.

PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS.

Fellow.citizens of the House of Delegates of California : While, with an open heart, I feel grateful for the honor conferred upon me, yet I must say that I feel a regret that it has not fallen into abler hands. I shall expect a due feeling of forbearance on your part. What services I am capable of rendering shall be ren. dered freely and impartially. So far as the duties of the President of this Convention shall devolve upon me, I shall use every effort to perform them with as much mo. deration as I can, and as nearly as practicable with justice and attention to the right. We

e are now, fellow.citizens, occupying a position to which all eyes are turned. The eyes not only of our sister and parent States are upon us, but the eyes of all Europe are now directed toward California. This is the preliminary movement for the organization of a civil government, and the establishment of social institu. tions. You are called upon, by your fellow.citizens, to exert all your influence and power to secure to them all the blessings that a good government can bestow upon a free people. It is important, then, that in your proceedings you should use all possible care, discretion, and judgment; and especially that a spirit of compromise should prevail in all your deliberations.

It is to be hoped that every feeling of harmony will be cherished to the utmost in this Convention. By this course, fellow.citizens, I am satisfied that we can prove to the world that California has not been settled entirely by unintelligent and unlettered men.

I am sure that the present population of California is well calculated to strike the world with, at least, a degree of that admiration which our rapid progress in wealth and prosperity has done. Although the progress of Cali. fornia in point of wealth, has been beyond all previous anticipations, yet her progress in population has been still greater. So far from this population consisting of persons who had nothing to do at home, it has drained from the States many of the best families and most intelligent men in the country. The knowledge, enter: prise and genius of the old world will reappear in the new, to guide it to its des. tined position among the nations of the earth.

Let us, then, go onward and upward, and let our motto be, “Justice, Industry, and Economy.

On motion of the PRESIDENT, an invitation was extended to Governor Riley to a seat on the floor of the House.

Mr. SHERWOOD offered the following resolution, which was adopted :

Resolved, That the Convention elect one Secretary, two Assistant Secretaries, a Reporter, a Sergeant at Arms, and a Doorkeeper.

Mr. Price moved that the rules of the House be suspended, and nominated Mr. Hartwell as Interpreter and Translator. Adopted, viva voce.

The House then proceeded to elect a Secretary and Assistant Secretaries; where. upon Wm. G. Marcy received a majority of votes, and was declared duly elected Secretary

Caleb Lyon received a majority of votes as First Assistant Secretary, and was declared duly elected.

J. G. Field received a majority of votes as Second Assistant Secretary, and was declared duly elected.

On motion of Mr. Gwin, a committee of three were appointed to report upon the subject of a Reporter for the Convention. Messrs. Gwin, Dent, and Gilbert, were selected as such committee,

The House then proceeded to the election of a Sergeant-at-Arms; whereupon, Mr. Houston, having received a majority of the votes, was declared duly elected.

On motion of Mr. Gwin, the rules were suspended, and Cornelius Sullivan was elected Doorkeeper, viva voce.

Mr. VALLEJO moved that a Clerk be appointed to assist the Interpreter and Translator.

Mr. Price moved the following resolution, which was adopted :

Resolved, That the President appoint a Committee of three to call upon the clergy of Montercy, and request them to open this Convention each day with prayer.

Committee-Messrs. Price, Larkin, and Norton.
Mr. Gwin then offered the following resolution :

Resolved, That a select committee, composed of two delegates from each district, be appointed by the President, to report the plan or any portion of the plan of a State Constitution for the action of this body.

On motion of Mr. Price, the above resolution was made the special order of the day for to-morrow.

A motion for adjournment was made and lost.
Mr. PRICE offered the following resolution :
Resolved, That a Clerk be appointed to the Interpreter und Translator.
Adopted.

On motion of Mr. Gwin, the rules of the House were suspended, and Mr. W. H. Henrie elected (viva voce) to the office of Clerk to the Interpreter and Translator.

Mr. Gwin then submitted the following resolution, which was adopted :

Resolved, That the parliamentary law as laid down in Jefferson's Manual, so far as applicable, be the law of the Convention, until otherwise ordered.

The Convention then adjourned until 10 o'clock, A. M. to.morrow.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 1849. The Convention met pursuant to adjournment. Prayer by the Rev. Padre Antonio Ramirez.

Mr. Gwin inquired whether there was a quorum present.

The Chair stated that, by a resolution passed yesterday settling the ratio of representation in the several districts, the whole number of members who should be here was fixed at sixty-nine. It would then require thirty-six to form a quorum for the transaction of business, which was about the whole number present. In all regularly organised legislative bodies, it would be beyond their reach to change this order of things; but the Convention was an original meeting of the people, through their representatives, to form a system of laws, and its organization was legitimately under its own control. He thought some provision should be made to facilitate business. It would now require too much time to send emissa ries throughout the country to compel the attendance of the members elected.

Mr. Gwin said it was for that very reason that he made the inquiry. He was perfectly confident that no instance could be given of any deliberative body transacting business without a quorum of its own members. The report of the Committee named the persons elected. It would be impossible to get over the difficulty by requiring the attendance of these members. There was but one

agree to it.

remedy that he could see-to give the power to those present to represent the absent members of their respective districts. Then the House could always have a quorum.

Mr. HALLECK was opposed to any proceeding of this kind. Although the House might give the voles of a whole district to two or three members of that district, it would be altogether improper, if not impracticable, to make those mem. bers serve for fifteen person in forming a quorum. This difficulty he anticipated at the outset, and had mentioned it to the members, when the committee fixed ihe number for each district. To adopt the plan suggested would only get the House into still greater difficulty. There would be several additional members present in a few days, and with them he thought a quorum could be formed. Mr. Gwin said if the gentleman would suggest a remedy he would cheerfully

He was not personally in favor of the plan which he had thrown out, but it occurred to him as the only alternative within their reach.

Mr. DIMMICK observed that there was a quorum now present, and he hoped the House would proceed to business.

Mr. CROSBY moved that the officers and members of the Convention first take the oath to support the Constitution of the United States. .

Mr. Borts moved to postpone the order of the day for that purpose.
Mr. Gwin was willing to waive, but not postpone the order.

The Chair deemed it necessary that the body should first be organized. It was for the House to determine whether or not that course should be adopted. It was either organized, or not organized. The question would be whether the members should take the oath before proceeding to business as an organized body. Which was put and determined in the affirmative.

Mr. Gwin suggested that the President be sworn by some legal officer of the city. He thought the Judge of the Supreme Court, who was present, could do it, and then swear in all the other members. The Judge or Alcade should perform this duty.

The Chair said if it was the will of the House, the Secretary of State could swear in the President, and the President could then administer the oaths to the members as a body.

Which was adopted ; and the President of the Convention was duly sworn by the Secretary of State ; after which the President adıninistered the oath to the members.

ORDER OF THE DAY

[ocr errors]

Mr. Gwir's resolution being the order of the day, was then taken up and read.

Mr. HALLECK wished to propose a substitute, for the purpose of getting an ex. pression of the sense of the House on two points. He had very little doubt as to ihe result; nevertheless, as many wished their views to be known on that sub. ject, he desired to make the two points separate and distinct. It was with res. pect to a State or a Territorial form of government. He therefore moved that the resolution be so worded as to give a direct expression of opinion on each point, whether the plan of a State Government was desired, or whether the Convention should propose to Congress a plan of a Territorial Government.

Mr. McCARVER said, that if the question was whether any other than a Slate Government should be considered, he was willing the vote of this House should be taken to decide it, but he was not willing to sit here and take any other plan into consideration.

The Chair stated that the question was on the amendment of Mr. Halleck.

Mr. Gwix could not agree to accept this amendment as a substitute for his reso. lution, because it embodied precisely the same thing. The resolution submitted by him was open to discussion. If there be any objection to a State Constitution, the question of a Territorial Government is thrown open.

ܪ

Mr. HALLECK's only object was to separate the two questions.

Mr. Gwin did not think there was a member on this floor in favor of a Territo. rial Government.

Mr. McCarver proposed moving the question, whether this body proceed to form a State or Territorial Government.

The Chair considered the question embodied in the resolution.

Mr. Hastings was opposed to the resolution last offered, and in favor of the resolution providing for the organization of a State Government. If it was a State Government it would not be a Territorial Government.

Mr. GILBERT, in order to cover the whole, moved the following as an amend. ment to the amendment of Mr. Halleck :

1. Resolved, That it is expedient that this Convention now proceed to form a State Constitution for California.

2. Resolved, That a Committee consisting of members from each district be appointed by the Chair to prepare a draft or plan for a Constitution for the State of California ; and that such Čom. mittee be instiucted to report to this Convention, with as little delay as possible, such articles or sections of said draft or plan as may have been passed in Committee fiom time to time.

Mr. HALLECK accepted Mr. Gilbert's proposition as a substitute for his amend. ment.

Mr. Gwin accepted the first resolution offered by Mr. Gilbert as a substitute for his second resolution, and in order to have a direct vote, called the previous question.

The Chair stated that the previous question was on the original resolution, that being the order of the day.

Mr. Hastings moved to amend the resolution by inserting two from each district instead of one.

The CHAIR stated that the motion to add an additional member was within the reach of the House at any time.

Mr. Gwin accepted the amendment of two instead of one.

Mr. Foster suggested that the resolution to appoint a Committee be put in such shape as to give the opinion of the House directly on the subject of the form of government. Some members were in favor of a Territorial Government. For one, he was opposed at present to entering into a State Government. He desired, and so did others, to have the vote separate and distinct. It appeared to him that Ms. Halleck's amendment to the resolution accomplished the object.

Mr. Gwin renewed his call for the previous question ; but the motion giving rise to discussion, he finally withdrew it.

Mr. CARILLO said the first question ought to be, whether California was to re. main a Territory, or be formed into a State. Whatever determination there might be on that subject, he thought a Committee ought to be appointed to report upon it, that members might record their votes on that question alone, if they so desired it. Any step taken contrary to this plan would only involve the Convention in difficulty.

Mr. WOZENCRAFT did not perceive what right the House had to enter into any question of that kind. The delegates of this Convention were elected for a spe. cial purpose-to form a State Constitution. They were not required to give any expression of opinion as to any other form of government.

The Chair stated i hat Governor Riley, in the recommendation contained in his proclamation, referred io a Territorial as well as a State Government.

Mr. Tefft thought there was another reason why the two questions should be separated. If gentlemen were honest in stating that the two resolutions would have the same effect, it was yielding nothing to comply with the wishes of those who desired to record their vote in favor of a Territorial Government. He was compelled, in compliance with the wishes of his constituents, to vote for a Territorial Government. He considered it due to members who voted under such instructions, that the direct question should be put, whether the Convention sbould proceed to form a State or a Territorial Government.

Further dicussion having taken place, Mr. GILBERT called for the reading of the two resolutions (Mr. Gwin's and his own in juxta position.) The Secretary read the resolutions.

Mr. Borts cordially approved of the sentiments expressed in the resolution of Mr. Gilbert; but strange to say, they led him to entirely different conclusions. He (Mr. Botts) wanted to see the whole subject discussed by the Convention in Committee of the Whole. He desired that every member should participate in the discussion. He was aware it was the wish of the gentleman that this Com. mittee should return immediately with a plan of a Constitution to be laid before the House. But what does the resolution authorize this Committee to do? What power does it give the Committee ? The very difficulty which the gentleman sought to avoid was involved in the adoption of the Constitution so reported. For his own part, he would vote for the resolution which provides for the taking of the test question at once, whether it should be a Constitution for the State or a Ter. ritorial Government. He would then offer an amendment providing that the House go directly into Committee of the Whole for the consideration of a Consti. tution for that State or Territory; and for precisely the same reasons that the gentleman from San Francisco has offered his resolution, requiring the Committee to report the plan of a Constitution in detached portions.

Mr. Gilbert said his chief motive was the desire to save time—the wish to shorten the sitting of this Convention to the least possible limit. In all the Conventions of which he had read, a great deal of time had been lost by parcelling out different departments of the Constitution to different Committees. It was the case in the late Convention of New York. They had some ten different Com. mittees. When all the reports were before the House, it took them two months to settle upon a plan of a Constitution. It was found that the different reports had no co relative sympathy, and it was almost utterly impossible to unite them. This Committee, which he proposed, could hold its meetings during the intervals between the sittings of the Convention, and report from time to time such portions of the Constitution as they had adopted. The House could, meantime, be en. gaged in debating the articles before it in Committee of the Whole. He wished it distinctly understood that his object was to save time.

Mr. Carillo stated that he represented one of the most respectable communi. ties in California, and he did not believe it to be to the interest of his constitu. ents that a State Government should be formed. At the same time, as a great majority of this Convention appeared to be in favor of a State Government, he proposed that the country should be divided by running a line west from San Luis Obispo, so that all north of that line might have a State Government, and all south thereof a Territorial Government. He and his colleagues were under instructions to vote for a Territorial organization. He took this view, because he believed it. to be to the interest of his constituents. And although a gentleman belonging to this body had stated, that it was not the object of the Convention to form a Con. stitution for the Californians, he begged leave to say, that he considered himself as much an American citizen as the gentleman who made the assertion.

Mr. Gwin said he was very glad that the gentleman had afforded him an opportunity of stating precisely what his meaning was. He had been very much misunderstood on this point. What he said was, that the Constitution which they were about to form was for the American population. Why? Because the American population was the majority. It was for the protection of the California population-government was instituted for the protection of minorities-his Constitution was to be formed with a view to the protection of the minority : the native Californians. The majority of any community is the party to be governed; the restrictions of law are interposed between them and the weaker party; they are to be restrained from infringing upon the rights of the minority.

The Interpreter having translated this explanation,

Mr. Carillo expressed himself perfectly satisfied. He had nothing further to say, except that he conceived it to be to the interests of his constituents, if a Terri.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »