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species of compromise. This question called out the most vebement and angry debate which was witnessed during the sitting or the convention. The project of fixing the southern boundary of the State on the parallel of 36° 34' was never entertained by that body. Indeed, when it is recollected that eleven of the delegates sitting in the convention, represented a large constituency south of that line, it is at once apparent that it would have been a most anjast and discourteous act to have listened to such a proposition, unless it came from them. The people of that southera portion of California most certainly did not wish, and probably never would consent to such a separation. In former years they constituted the great majority of the population—they have always been governed by the same laws-and they would be the last to sanction a division of California as they have always known it. In a political point of view, too, it would seem desirable that these origi. nal Mexican citizens should become as speedily as possible Americans in sentiment and language, and there certainly can be no more effectual mode of accomplishing this than by bringing them into that daily contact which an existence under the same laws and the same social, political, and commercial regulations must inevitably produce. In the extreme north, also, the adventurous miners had crossed the coast range, and penetrated to the head waters of the Trinity river, which finds its way through an unexplored and dangerous Indian country to the Pacific Ocean. As the abundance of gold found there rendered it probable that a large community would soon become permanently established in that region, the convention felt that it could not refuse them the benefits and protection of a government by circumscribing the limits of the State in that direction. The eastern boundary of the State, so far as explored and known, runs through a desert A small portion of the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada is said to be adapted to agricultural and grazing purposes, and as that country, when settled, must necessarily find an outlet across the mountains into the valleys of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, and as it could never have any natural connection with the country to the eastward of it, by reason of the great desert, it was thought advisable and proper to include that strip of territory within the bounds of the State. That portion of the State lying to the southward and eastward of the Sierra Nevada and the coast range, and between those mountains and the Colorado river, is believed to be an arid desert. So much as lies upon the usual emigrant trail from the Colorado to San Diego and that further north in the vicinity of the explorations of John Charles Fremont, is known to be of that character. The general impression therefore is, that that part of the Territory included in the state boundaries is of little or no value. The superficial area of the State of California, according to the boundaries prescribed in her Constitution, is 165,550 square miles, or 99,552,000 square acres, exclusive of the islands adjacent to her coast. A glance at the map prepared by order of the United States Senate, from the surveys of John C. Fremont and other authorities, upon wbich the above calculation is based, will at once satisfy all that the topographical characteristics of that country are peculiar and novel. Two great chains of mountains, the Sierra Nevada, and the coast range, traverse it in nearly its whole extent from north to south. The large valleys that lie between these two ranges, and the small lateral valleys that pierce their ru ged sides in every direction, are the valuable arable portion of the land of California. Assuming then, that two fourths of the whole superficial area of the State is covered by mountains, that another fourth is a desert waste, and we have left one fourth as useful for agricultural purposes, that is, 38,887 square miles, or 24,888,000 square acres of arable and productive land. This estimate, in the opinion of the undersigned, is fully borne out by the topographical surveys of the country ; but anxious as they are to avoid misstatement, they do not hesitate to assert their be. lief that it is quite apparent, after all due allowances, three fifths of the whole Territory embraced in the State of California will never be susceptible of cultivation or useful to man. 'This, then, would give, as the remaining two-fifths, 62, 220, square miles, or 39,820,800 square acres, which would constitute the sum total of valuable arable and grazing land embraced within the boundary fixed by the Constitution of the State of California, and distributed at intervals over the whole surface of the country, from its extreme northern to its extreme southern limit. The foregoing are believed to be substantially the reasons which led to the present proposed boundary of California.

The qualifications prescribed for voters by Gen. Riley's proclamation were carried out at the election of delegates to the convention. These qualifications were generally approved, and believed to be correct. By that proclamation, after requiring the voter to be twenty-one years of age and an actual resident of the district where he offered his yote, three classes of voters were declared eligible, viz: 1. American citizens ; 2. Mexicans who had elected under the treaty to become American citi. zens; and 3. Mexican citizens who had been forced to leave their country in consequence of giv. ing aid and succor to the American arms during the recent war. These requirements were faith fully complied with, beyond all doubt. Such would seem to be the undeniable fact, as no complaint was ever made of illegal voting.

Under the provision relative to the right of suffrage in the Constitution of California, wbite male American citizens twenty-one years of age, and white male citizens of Mexico of the same age, who had elected to become citizens of the United States under the treaty of peace, were permitied to vote, in the districts of their residence, upon the ratification of the Constitution, and for the vari. ous officers to be elected under it. No other persons were allowed to vote - no other persons did vote. The allegation, therefore, that foreigners, aliens, and adventurers adopted the Constitution, of California is not warranted by facts. That Ounstitution was ratified by over 12,000 votes

in its favor, of which, it is firmly believed, not a single one was that of a foreigner, and from the best information, it is past doubt that there were only about some 1,300 Californian votes while the remaining 10,700 were totally American.

The undersigned believe that they would fail to fulfil their duty if they did not, in connection with this subject, express the regret which they so strongly feel at the unjust attacks which have thus been made upon their constituents. They regard such assaults as not only ungenerous toward the citizens of California, but as direct offences against the nobility and sacredness of the American character itself. They look upon such insinuations as hurtful and injurious to the last degree, to a population than which none nobler and truer ever existed. You will search history in vain for an example of order under excitement like that which California has presented for the last two years. And it is the proud boast of every American, that to the republican education which that people has received, is due the extraordinary state of things which has heretofore rendered life and property secure where there was no law but the law of force. Yet this people, whose conduct has excited the admiration of every portion of the civilized world where their course is understood, are disparaged by a portion of iheir American brothers!

The Convention which formed the Constitution of California assembled at Monterey on the 1st day of September, 1849. Under the apportionment fixed by the Proclamation of General Riley, it would have consisted of 37 Delegates. This apportionment was based upon the Mexican law applicable to the country when it was a Department of Mexico ; but inasmuch as the recent large immigration had changed the relative importance of the Districts in regard to the number of population, Gen. Riley had recommended the election of such number of supernumerary Delegates from each District as the inhabitants thereof might deem proper. Most of the Districts acted on this suggestion ; and one of the first acts of the Convention was the settlement of the rights of membership, and the adoption of a new apportionment. Under the rule thereupon passed, the number of Delegates was fixed at 73, of whom 48 appeared, took their seats, and participated in the deliberations and action of the body. The Convention was in session from the 1st day of September till the 13th of October 1849. Its proceedings were characterized by order and a correct understanding and application of legislative rules. Every subject upon which diverse opinions were entertained was fully and ably debated ; and though the action of the body was unanimous to an extraordinary degree, it was a unanimity springing from reasoning and conviction, and not the effect of sycophancy, truckling, or fear. The men composing it were highly and justly esteemed among their immediate constituents for their independence, republican principles, ability, and honesty ; and it is confidently believed that the great and good qualities displayed by them in their action in the Convention have not only endeared them the more to their old and devoted friends, but have given them an enviable reputation and a flattering name coextensive with the boundaries of the State and perhaps of the American Union. Known among their fellow citizens by their social qualities and virtues ; appreciated for their industry, enterprise, and devotion to the interests of the massess, to liberty and law, they were elected without distinction of party ; and the Constitution which they prepared for the government of the new State in which they have cast their lot, and on whose soil many of them were born, and most of them have resided for several years, is an instrument which cannot fail for ever to bear testimony to the integrity, the capacity, and the patriotism of those who framed it. The insinuation that those men were awed or influenced by Gov. Riley, is an unjust assault not only upon their character and that of their constituents, but upon the fame and integrity of as brave a soldier and as good a man as the annals of American glory can boast.

The result of the labors of the Convention was submitted to the People of California for their consideration on the 13th day of October, 1849, on which day the Convention adjourned sine die. The Constitution was printed in the English and Spanish languages, and extraordinary efforts were made to circulate it in every portion of the Territory. In order that as full a vote as possible might be had both upon the Constitution and for the election of the officers under it, it was deemed absolutely necessary that the election should be fixed at a time anterior to the setting in of the winter rains. The impassable condition of the roads and rivers during the winter, it was well known, must inevitably detain large numbers of voters from the polls, if the election were too long postponed. Beside, it was deemed important that the admission of the State should be secured as speedily as possible, in order that her Senators and Representatives might early take their seats in Congress, and devote their energies to the promotion of the national legislation of which the country was so much in need. Accordingly the 13th of November, 1849, was fixed upon as the day of the election, and the 15th of December, 1849, as the day of the assembling of the State Legislature.

The anticipations which had caused the election to be held at an early day, proved not to be unfounded. The winter rains commenced several days before the 13th of November, and on that day one of the worst storms ever experienced raged throughout the whole country. The consequence was, notwithstanding the personal exertions of the friends of the different candidates for popular favor, that only about fifteen thousand votes were polled. Of these 12,061 were for the Constitution, 811 were against it, and from 1,200 to 1,500 were blanks, in consequence of the failure of the printer to place the words “For the Constitution” at the head of the ballots. It is believed that there never was an election attended with less excitement. The sentiment in favor of the Constitution was nearly unanimous, and was entirely the result of the unbiassed and deliberate opinions.

of those who were most interested in it. No attempt was made to mislead or control public opinion in relation to the Constitution. No candidate sought success by either an ardent advocacy of its merits, or a broad denunciation of any of its provisions. The three newspapers published in the Territory did not feel called upon to aid it, further than to publish it with a simple recommendatory paragraph, and no member of the Convention urged its adoption with improper zeal. The truth is, that no political result in the history of any nation is more surely the honest expression of public opinion founded in reason, reflection, and deliberate judgment, than the ratification afforded by the People of California to their Constitution.

The Legislature elected in November, assembled at San Jose, the Capitol of the State, on the 15th December last. The Governor elected by the People, Peter H. BURNETT, Esq. was inaugurated according to the requirements of the Constitution ; and on the 20th of the same month, Gen Riley, by proclamation, delivered the Civil Government into the hands of the duly-elected agents of the newly-organized State. That State Government, complete in all its elemental parts, is now exercising the powers and performing the duties prescribed by the Constitution of the State of California. The legislation that is likely to ensue will be of such a character as is demanded by the public interests, but always in conformity to the Constitution of the United States and the laws of Congress. The intelligence and patriotism of those composing the State Government, are a warranty that no conflict of authority or interests is likely to occur, either from ignorance or design, between the Government of the United States and the Government of the State of California ; and while it cannot be denied that the position of affairs is anomalous, it is not doubted that the legitimate channels of the two powers are so widely different that, running in a parallel direction, they never can come into collision. Such is believed to be the settled opinion of the People of California and of their Legislative and Executive authorities.

It was not from any desire to establish a State Government in opposition to or regardless of the wishes and rights of the people of the United States, that the people of California pursued this course. No improper motives, no ambitious impulses, no executive influence prompted their action. They believed that their brethren on the Atlantic appreciated their sufferings, admitted their patriotism, and would hail their action with joy. They thought that the Congress of the United States would instantly open its doors to their delegated representatives, and that the State would be immediately and gladly admitted. To this impression the tone of the public press, the dispatches of executive officers, and the speeches of distinguished statesmen in Congress had contributed in a very great degree ; and as nothing of a contrary character had ever reached the Pacific shores, it is not surprising that the sentiment became a general one. The daily arriving emigration added their corroborative evidence to the already general belief, and it finally came to be credited that the great public of the Atlantic States were as ardently and unanimously in favor of the admission of California as were her own citizens. They did not anticipate delay, and consequently could not perceive or guard against a contingency arising from such a state of things They believed their action to be eminently right and necessary, and sanctioned by the approving voice of the American people.

The population of California on the first day of January, 1850, is supposed to have been about. 107,000 souls. There are no means of ascertaining with certainty the number and character of the large immigration which has poured into the country since the discovery of the gold mines, but the undersigned, having taken much pains to arrive at correct conclusions on this subject, submit the following estimates :

The population of California, exclusively of Indians and Africans, is supposed to have been, on the first day of January, 1849, as follows, viz: Californians....

.13,000 Americans....

...8,000 Foreigners...

...5,000 Total...

.....26,000 From that time

11th day of April, 1849, the arrivals by sea at the different ports is believed to have ex

and the arrivals by land from Sonora, Mexico, is estimated at 2,000. One-haif

4, it is presumed, were Americans. The following st

compiled from the records of the Harbor. Master's Office at San Francisco, present

and satisfactory account of the immigration which arrived there by sea from the 18

he 31st of December, 1849, viz : Months. A

Foreigners. Males. Females. Totals, 1, May, June..

1,942

209

5,886 614 3,565

49

3,614 3,806

87

3,893 1,631 5,680

122

5,802 1,414 3,950

119

4,069 490 2,155

2,236 500 3,436

133

3,569

[graphic]
[graphic]

5,677

[graphic]

81

800

28,269

29,069

In addition to the immigration thus arriving by sea at the port of San Francisco, it is believed that not less than 1,000 persons landed at other ports in California, during the same time. By the way of Santa Fe and the Gila the immigration was estimated at 8,000. From Mexico by land, from 6,000 to 8,000 were supposed to have arrived, of which only about 2,000 were believed to have remained in the country. Adding to these amounts the 3,000 sailors who have deserted from ships arriving in the country, and computing the great overland immigration (which was variously estimated from 30,000 to 40,000,) at 25,000, the following totals result, víz:

Jan. 1, 1849. Jan. 1, 1850. Americans.........

....8,000 76,069 Californians.......

..13,000 13,000 Foreigners......

..5,000 18,000 Totals..........

..26,000 107,069 The foregoing figures and estimates though known not to be strictly accurate, are thought to be a near approximation to the actual numbers of the inhabitants. The round numbers are presumed, in every case, to be below the mark.

The undersigned do not deem it their duty or province to urge upon your honorable bodies the many cogent reasons which in their opinion might be justly presented in favor of the admission of California as a State. Nor do they feel assured that it would be proper for them to lay before you any impressions which they may have of the history of the admission of new States, or the prescriptions, regulations, or laws of Congress relative thereto. Neither would they wish to overstep the bounds of true propriety by indelicately requesting a spoedy decision of this question. Yet they cannot refrain from saying

that great interests-inserests of the highest importance to the Republic and to California-are suffering incalculably for want of action on the part of Congress. They will not attempt to particularize them, confident that the intelligent statesmen who compose your honorable bodies will at once understand to what they allude, and properly appreciate the suggestion.

The people of California are neither rebels, usurpers, nor anarchists. They have not sought to sow the seeds of revolution, that they might reap in the harvest of discord. They believe that the principles that guided them are true--they know that the motives which actuated them are pure and just-and they had hoped that their action would be acceptable to every portion of their common country. They did not expect that their admission as a State would be made the test question upon which would hang the preservation of the American Union, nor did they desire such a result; but urged by the imperative and extraordinary necessities of their country, they united in such action as they believed would secure them a government under and in conformity to the Constitution of their country.

In thus presenting the certified copies of their State Constitution and their credentials, and asking the admission of the State, and that they may be permitted to take their seats in your respective bodies, the undersigned feel that they would neglect an important duty if they failed to assure you of the anxious desire for the perpetuity of this Union which animates all classes of their constituents. Born and reared under its protecting influences, as most of them were, their patriotism is as broad as the Republic-it extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific-it is as deep as the current of their mighty rivers--as pure as the never-melting snows which crown their mountains, and as indestructible as the virgin gold extracted from their soil. Coming as they nearly all do from the different States composing the Union, deeply impressed, as most of them have been by passing through foreign lands, with the immeasurable superiority of American institutions and American character, it would be strange, indeed, if they did not turn with reverence and affection toward their country, its institutions, and its people. Possessed, too, in a remarkable degree, of intelligence, enterprise, and ability, rich in high moral qualities, industrious, energetic and honest, firm in their devotỉon to order and justice, they compose a community which has no superiors in the elements which constitute a citizen's glory, and a nation's greatness.

This people request admisssion into the American Union as a State. They understand and estimate the advantages which will accrue to them from such a connection, while they trust they do not too highly compute those which will be conferred upon their brethren. They do not present them. selves as suppliants, nor do they bear themselves with arrogance or presumption. They come as free Americans citizens-citizens by treaty, by adoption, and by birth—and ask that they may be permitted to reap the common benefits, share the common ills, and promote the common welfare, as one of the United States of America!

WILLIAM M. GWIN,
JOHN C. FREMONT,
GEORGE W. WRIGHT,

EDWARD GILBERT,
WASHINGTON, D. C. March 12, 1850.

7

DIGEST OF LAWS.

Translation and Digest of such portions of the Mexican Laws of March

20th and May 23d, 1837, as are supposed to be still in force and adapted to the present condition of California ; with an Introduction and Notes, by J. HALLECK, Attorney at Law, and W. E. P. HARTNELL, Government Translator

EXECUTIVE ta,}

MONTEREY, July 2, 1849. The following pages have been examined in manuscript and compared with the original text, and are believed to be essentially correct. As it is thought that their publication at this time will be useful and advantageous, three hundred copies are ordered for distribution among the officers of the existing Government, to be paid for out of the “Civil Fund." *(SIGRID.)

B. RILEY,
Bvl. Brig. Gen'l U. S. Army,

and Governor of California.

INTRODUCTION. In 1828 the Supreme Court of the United States, in a case concerning the then Territory of Florida, made the following decision:

“The usage of the world is, if a nation be not entirely subdued, to consider the holding of .conquered territory as a mere military occupation until its fate be determined at the treaty of peace.

If it be ceded by the treaty, the acquisition is confirmed, and the ceded territory becomes a part of X the nation

to which it is annexed, either on the terms stipulated in the treaty of cession, or on such as its new master shall impose. On such transfer of territory it has never been held that the relations of the inhabitants with each other undergo any change. Their relations with the former sovereign are dissolved, and new relations are created between them and the Government which has acquired their territory. The mere act which transfers their country, transfers the allegiance of those who remain in it; and the law which may be denominated political, is necessarily changed, although that which regulates the intercourse and general conduct of individuals remains in force until altered by the newly created power of the State.

“The treaty (by which Florida was ceded) is the law of the land, and admits the inhabitants of Florida to the enjoyment of the privileges, rights, and immunities of the citizens of the United States. It is unnecessary to inquire whether this is not their condition, independent of stipulation.

They do not, however, participate in political power; they do not share in the government till Florida become a State. In the mean time, Florida continues to be a territory of the United States, governed by virtue of that clause of the Constitution which empowers Congress to make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States.

"Perhaps the power of governing a territory belonging to the United States, which bas pot by becoming a State, acquired the means of self-government, muy result necesssarily from the fact, that it is not within the jurisdiction of any particular State, and is within the power and jurisdiction of the United States. The right to govern may be the inevitable consequence of the right to acquire territory. Whichever may be the source whence the power is derived, the possession of it is un- questioned."

This decision shows plainly and conclusively what is the present legal condition of things in California. The laws which were in force in this country previous to its conquest, and which do not conflict with the Constitution, Treaties and Laws of the United States, constitute the existing laws of California, and the government recognised in those laws is the only one which can be recognised in any legal court, and these laws and this government must continue until changed by or with the consent of Congress.

During the military occupation of California, the commanding officer here, under the general authority conferred on him by the laws of war, eould suspend or change any of the laws of Mexico affecting the people of this Territory ; but all such suspensions and changes were only of a temporary character, and ceased with the war.

The relations which formerly existed between this government and Mexico were dissolved by the transfer of the territory, and it may be a question how far these relations have been transferred

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