« PrejšnjaNaprej »
alike. The gentleman says that he would not limit the fund for education. Sup. pose the committee bad brought in a provision that all the tafes to be levied in this State should be appropriated to the support of education. It is a notorious fact that now in California there are but very few children; that the great mass of the inhabitants are males, without families here. Suppose the committee had brought in a provision to that effect, would not your wheels of government stop? And yet the gentleman would not limit the fund. The proviso is intended to pre. vent the stopping of the wheels of government. The General Government has always appropriated a certain section in every township for the purposes of edu. cation. This proviso does not touch it. It remains in violate. But lest we should be enabled only to raise one tax from the mineral lands within the fire hundred thousand acres granted to the new States by act of Congress, this proviso was in. serted that, under certain exigencies, it shall go towards the support of the civil government. If you have five hundred thousand people, and four hundred thou. sand are engaged in the mines, that four hundred thousand enjoy the fruits of your government. Should they not assist in supporting your government? And yet, if these lands are located there, if you tie up the Legislature, you cannot gain a tax from these people-certainly not two taxes. It was to leave this question open in regard to this five hundred thousand acres that the proviso was inserted. I am entirely unacquainted with what the Legislature will do in regard to taxation. It is an open question how they will raise their revenue in the mines. That they must raise some revenue there for the support of the Government is perfectly evi. dent. You cannot tax the lands south of San Jose sufficiently to gain all our reve. nue. The residents cannot pay a tax sufficient to support your Government, be. cause labor is go high that they will be unable to make their lands pay this tax. I am for a munificent fund, and I trust our Senators and Representatives in Con. gress will obtain, through their influence, from Congress, a grant of another five hundred thousand acres of land for the support of schools in this State. In this article, which the proviso does not touch, all other funds and property that the Le. gislature can appropriate to the subject of education are to be so appropriated.
Mr. Borts. I do not think I have been understood by the House in the few remarks that I made on this subject. I have a tender solicitude for the character and reputation of this Convention, and it is for that reason that I have endeavored to blot from the clause introduced in the report of the committee all evidence of the haste and hurry with which we have adopted this constitution. That was one great motive that induced me to urge upon this House the striking out of the in. consistent proviso in the last part of this section-either that or the first-so that this five hundred thousand acres of land shall be left altogether at the disposal of the Legislature, or that we tell the Legislature distinctly what shall be done with it. All I ask is, do one thing or the other clearly and distinctly. I hope that every acre of that land may be one solid mine of gold. I am in the habit, sir, of expressing my ideas in as few words as possible, and I hope my remarks may be sufficiently understood without saying any thing more.
Mr. Jones. I rise, sir, to propose an amendment. I propose to strike out the word " inviolably" before the word " appropriated," and insert after the word “ap. propriated" the words“ previous to the year 1855." I think this amendment will effectually do away with all inconsistency upon the face of the clause; and I fur. ther think ıhat both the clause itself and the proviso should be retained. I think the motives of the committee were very proper, for this is a case where we are to legislate for the present as well as the future. We have now to govern men, not children. We have a government of men to support which will be costly and burdensome to the State, and we are called upon by the exigencies of the case, until at least a certain time, to appropriate whatever funds may be appropriated by the General Government, to the support of our State Government." I do not think the school fund is needed particularly at the present period. There are but few children now here, and it is not probable the number will be great for some time to come.
Mr. Borts. Does the gentleman propose that we, who have children, shall wait until he and all others who have none shall procure such appendages ?
Mr. Jones. Not at all, sir. But I do not think such a fund as this is necessary to support one or two children who may be in each district. I am in favor of public education as much as any man upon this floor. I think that the Committee, in view of the number of children which we shall have here in the course of time, have very properly placed the whole fund at the disposal of the common schools ; but I make this amendment so that the Legislature, until that period, shall have the right to appropriate to the exigencies of the Government whatever fund may not be necessary for school purposes,
The question was then taken on the amendment of Mr. Jones, and it was re. jected.
The question was then taken on the motion of Mr. Botts to strike out the pro. viso, and it was decided in the affirmative by ayes 18, noes 17.
The question recurring on the section as amended, it was adopted.
Sec. 3. The Legislature shall provide for a system of common schools, by which a school shall be kept up and supported in each district at least three months in every year; and any school district neglecting to keep up and support such a school may be deprived of its proportion of the public fund during such neglect.
Mr. Hastings moved to insert the word "six" instead of “three,” so as to read “ six months in every year,”
Mr. Gwin hoped the motion would not prevail. The limit of three months was put in to meet a defective system in the management of the school fund in some of the States. The school fund arising from the 16th section has been entirely squan. dered and lost, from a want of a proper administration of the fund. If you say six months, it might be rendered impracticable to keep up the system.
Mr. Hastings. I hope, Mr. Chairman, that the amendment will be adopted, for I know, sir, from experience, that the people will not go beyond whatever we adopt in the Constitution. In several States of the Union this provision is adopt. ed, requiring the schools to be kept up three months in the year. Nine months in the year they are idle. If there is a probability of our having a fund entirely too large, let us have schools to dispose of that fund nine months in the year. The people will not go beyond what we require them to do.
Mr. DIMMICK. I trust this amendment will not be adopted, for I conceive that three months is sufficient for all purposes here. This is a new country ; many of our townships will be unable, at first, to keep up á school for a longer term. It seems to me, sir, that it would operate unjustly on them. In a large portion of the old States, where they have become settled and permanent, three months is all that is required. Gentlemen need not fear but that the Legislature will provide that the whole fund shall be appropriated to its legitimate object; but it you require schools to be kept up at least three months, that will answer every purpose. If you go farther than this, thinly populated townships will be unable to support a school for a length of time without drawing the money from their own pockets. Many a township would have but two children. Much of the country south of this is laid off in large ranches. The residents of these ranches cannot, at first, sup. port schools without great expense; and I fear, if we place such a restriction upon them as this, they will give up the school system altogether.
Mr. Hastings. How will this operate hard upon them? They are to keep up a school provided the Legislaiure furnish the means to enable them to do it. if the Legislature does not provide the means, then of course, if they have schools, they must defray the expense themselves. But, by this article, the Legislature is to provide the means; and, if it does not do so, the people are not obliged to keep up a school. We propose to establish a si hools which requires that a
school shall be kept up in each district at least six months in the year. This is fair and proper. If schools are to be kept up at all, they should be subject to this requirement, in order to do any good.
Mr. Gwin. The manner in which the Legislature provides the means is this: they sell lands in each district to keep up the system. In every township, they have two sections. Heretofore, it has been the practice of Congress to give a sec. tion in every alternate township. When a Territorial Government was estab. lished over Oregon, some able men contended for four sections for each township, and they succeeded in geuing two for each township. I will read an eloquent extract from the report of the Secretary of the Treasury (Mr. Walker) on this subject :
"My last report recommended the grant of one section of land for schools in every quarter township in Oregon. This grant in each of the new States, of one section of the public lands in each township, was designed to secure the benefit of education to all the children of that township. This object has failed to a great extent, because one section in the centre of a township six miles square is too distant from many other sections to furnish a school to wbich all can resort, and be cause, as a pecuniary provision, it is inadequate. The grant, however, of one section for every quarter township would be sufficient, whilst the central location would be adjacent to every other section in such quarter township, bringing the school house within the immediate vincinage of every child within its limits. Congress, to some extent, adopted this recommendation, by granting two school sections in each township, instead of one, for education in Oregon; but it is respectfully suggested that, even thus extended, the grant is still inadequate in amount, whilst the location is inconvenient, and too remote for a school which all can attend. This subject is again presented to the attention of Congress, with the recommendation that it shall be extended to California and New Mexico, and also to all the other new States and territories containing the public domain. Even as a question of revenue, such grants would more than refund their value to the Government, as each quarter township is composed of nine sections, of which the central section would be granted for schools, and each of the remaining eight sections would be adjacent to that granted. These eight sections thus located, and each adjoining a school section, would be of greater value than when separated, by many miles, from such opportunities; and the thirty two sections of one entire township with these benefits would bring a larger price to the Government than thirty-five sections out of thirty-six where one section only so remote from the rest was granted for such a pur. pose. The public domain would thus be settled at an earlier period, and, yielding larger products, thus soon augment our exports and our imports, with a correspondent increase of revenue from duties. The greater diffusion of education would increase the power of mind and knowledge applied to our industrial pursuits, and augment in this way also the products and wealth of the nation. Each State is deeply interested in the welfare of every other; for the representatives of the whole regulate by their votes the measures of the Union, which must be more happy and prosperous in proportion as its councils are guided by more enlightened views, resulting from the more universal diffusion of light, and knowledge, and education."
These townships will have two sections. I do not think it is right that these school sections should lose the privilege of the fund arising out of their own neighborhood. I think it is very important that it should remain as it is, and not be subjected to the discretion of the Legislature.
The question was then taken on the amendment of Mr. Hastings, and it was rejected.
The question recurring on the 3d section, as reported, it was adopted.
Sec. 4. The clear proceeds of all the fines collected in the several counties, for any breach of the penal laws, shall be exclusively applied in the several counties in which said money is paid or fine collected among the several school districts of said counties, in the proportion of the number of inhabitants in each district, to the support of common schools, or the establishment of libraries, as the Legislature shall from time to time provide by law.
Mr. McDougal moved to amend by striking out the word " inhabitants," and inserting the word "children.” There might be a district with inhabitants, but without a child in it, and there might be another composed entirely of families.
Mr. Borts reminded the gentleman that it sometimes occurred that grown-up men wanted education as much as children. He hoped the amendment would not prevail.
Mr. Semple said it seemed to him that the fund collected throughout the State sliould be distributed in proportion to the number of children in each district; that fines and penalties arising from breaches of the law should be paid to the school commissioner, who should have supervision of the whole system of education, and whose duty it should be to regulate the proper appropriation of these funds. This section provides that these funds shall be distributed in a district when the wants of that district may require it. This has been the case in Kentucky and other States. Each district should be allowed a proper proportion."
Mr. WOZENCRAFT moved to strike out the 3d section altogether, with a view of offering a substitute.
The Chair decided that the motion would not now be in order.
Mr. WOZENCRAFT said his substitute was to this effect : that this fund arising from the proceeds of fines, as herein stated, shall be appropriated for institutions of public charity for the support of one or more hospitals. He thought this was a much better channel to turn it into than that proposed. , He knew of no country where there was likely to be a greater amount of suffering than in this, from sickness and distitution.
Mr. Borts said he would vote against the amendment of the gentleman from Sacramento, (Mr. McDougal,) for this reason, that the provision of the committee was a much simpler, and came to exactly the same ihing. When you have a number of inhabitants you have a number of children.
The question was then taken on the amendment, and it was rejected.
Mr. Wozenor 4 FT said he would simply state that, if all the members had seen as much as he had of the suffering condition of people in this country from the want of some charitable institution, they would see the necessity of the article which he had suggested.
Mr. Gwin hoped such a proposition would not prevail. The establishment of hospitals was a matter that required a large amount of money. He appealed to every lawyer whether the nett proceeds arising from fines amounted to much. This was a small fund, which, when added to the immense school fund, might be useful in forming libraries. The Legislature should have the power to establish hospitals ; but let the members of this Convention not attempt to do a thing which it would be impossible to accomplish with so small a fund as that collected from fines.
Mr. WoZencraft admitted that it was but a small fund; but he expected to get other means from other sources. By getting this, it would not exclude every other resource.
Mr. Ord said : In regard to the amount to be expected from this source, the Legislature will establish penalties for the infraction of any of its laws. It is in their discretion, instead of punishing by imprisonment, to punish by fines. The revenue derived from fines for the next five years will, I think, be very large. Therefore I differ in toto from the gentleman from San Francisco, (Mr. Gwin.) It is frequently left to the discretion of juries to punish by fine and imprisonment, or by fine or imprisonment. If juries know that this fund is to be devoted to the support of institutions of charity, they will punish by fine in many instances, instead of imprisonment; and this fact will be continually in view before them in the in. fliction of punishments.
Mr. Hastings. In reference to striking out this article, I would like to have it stricken out, but not for the same reason. I think it is perfectly useless, either for school purposes or hospital purposes. No revenue can be derived from this source. To draw upon criminals for charitable purposes seems to me a course which we ought not to pursue. If we depend upon that for our schools, we will have none ; and the same objection applies to hospitals. Those who violate laws are generally mr
but little about finpe: they are persons who seldom have the mean
Mr. SHANNON. The remarks of the gentleman from Monterey, (Mr. Ord,) al. though I do not concur in the object, have brought my mind to this conclusion : that punishment by fine will bring a very large fund. With all my anxiety, which is as great as that of any gentleman on this floor, for the support of common schools, and my desire to furnish a munificent fund for that purpose, still may it not be inexpedient to limit a fund, which may be very large, to that particular pur. pose. No person knows how large it may be. I am perfectly willing that it should be exclusively devoted to the support of schools when the necessities of the country require it; but, when no such necessity exists, I think the surplus should be placed at the disposal of the Legislature, to meet the wants of any other department of the Government that may require it. I am in favor of devoting it to educational purposes, when the wants of the community demand it; but, before that necessity exists, the Legislature should not be prohibited from appropriating it to meet such exigencies as may arise from the want of sufficient revenue for the support of the Government.
Mr. Botrs. The proposition of the gentleman from San Joaquin (Mr. Wozen. crafi) infringes upon a principle which I have frequently avowed in this Conven. tion. I do conceive, sir, that there is no subject that more appropriately comes within the province of the Legislature than that of public charity. I have uniformly voted against all these directions to the Legislature as to what they shall do with the different subjects that come under the general head of charity or morality. I propose to give the Legislature power to legislate upon them untrammelled, because it better represents the feelings and wishes of the people on these local subjects. It is a bedy coming fresh from the people, and it is to be supposed that it understands their desires and necessities. It is only upon some great and absorbing subject, such as education, that I will consent to lay down rules for the Legislature. "I am not willing to prescribe what it shall do on the subject of roads, asylums, or hospitals. As to the clause under consideration, I think there is reason in the roasting of eggs. I think we have already carried this subject of appropriations far enough. We have made a most munificent appropriation, if the gentleman from Sacramento (Mr. Sherwood) be right in his notions of the mineral wealth of that portion of the country; an appropriation beyond example. There are other expenses of the Government to be provided for. Let us leave some remnant of the income of the State to meet these expenses. Gentlemen here seem to think that no person commits crime but very poor people, who are unable to pay their fines. Crime, sir, is not confined to the poorer classes. I deny the doctrine that persons of wealth commit no offences against the law. They are no more moral than other people. This fund may be very large. I would leave it at the disposition of the Legislature, having already sufficiently re. stricted that body in regard to the school fund.
The question was then taken on striking out the 4th section, and it was decided in the affirmative by ayes 17, noes 11.
Mr. Semple moved the following, in place of the section just rejected :
Sec. 4. All funds collected from any source, intended for purposes of education, shall be paid into the educational fund, and shall be appropriated throughout the State, according to its number of children, in such manner as may be directed by law. Provided, that no private donation shall be directed from the purpose for which the donor intended such donation.
Mr. Gwin. I hope no such provision will be incorporated in this Constitution. goes directly in the teeth of the grant made by Congress of those school lands. The whole system of education would be changed. Every thing is to go into this great maelstroom, when we ought to have district school funds. Congress appropriates certain lands in certain townships for the purpose of school funds in these townships. Let the Legislature be restricted, in not imposing upon weak townsbips for the benefit of rich ones.
Mr. Semple. It does seem to me the gentleman's last remark is very inapplicable to the present question. I propose here to put all the wealth of the rich