Slike strani



The Legislature, as before stated, convened on September 26th, 1864, but on account of the absence of some of the members of each house, it was adjourned from day to day until September 29th, when the Secretary of the Territory, Richard C. McCormick, read the proclamation of the Governor, announcing to both houses the election of the members of the Legislative Assembly, and convening the same, and a permanent organization was effected by the election of Coles Bashford, as President of the Council, Almon Gage, as Secretary, Edmund W. Wells, Jr., Assistant Secretary, and Carlos Smith as Sergeant at Arms, and in the house W. Claude Jones was elected Speaker, James Anderson, Chief Clerk, Clayton M. Ralstin, Assistant Clerk, and John C. Dunn, Sergeant at Arms. Neri Osborn was appointed Messenger of the Council, and John B. Osborn, Messenger of the House.

A motion was made to appoint a Chaplain in the Council, which was lost, and in lieu thereof, the following resolution was adopted:

"Resolved, by the Council, the House of Representatives concurring, That the Rev. H. W. Read be invited to hold divine service in this building each Sabbath during the session of the Legislature."

The House, however, on October 21st, elected Henry W. Fleury, the Governor's Private Sec

retary, Chaplain of that body, and on the follow-. ing day Mr. Fleury was elected Chaplain of the Council.

Standing rules were adopted in both Houses, and on the 30th of September, 1864, the Governor delivered to the Legislative Assembly, in joint session, his message, which follows in its entirety:

"As the representatives of the people of Arizona, elected in accordance with the provisions of its organic law, you are this day convened in Legislative Assembly. Accept my congratulations, that with the organization of your body the territorial government is inaugurated in all its branches and rests on the foundation of the will and power of the people. The law organizing the territory of New Mexico, which is made a part of the organic law of Arizona, provides that 'the legislative power and authority shall be vested in the Legislative Assembly, and the Governor, and shall extend to all rightful subjects of legislation, consistent with its provisions and the constitution of the United States; and all laws passed by them shall be binding unless disapproved by Congress.'

"Power so great, authority so unlimited, involves equal responsibility.

"And we must be impressed with a full sense of the stern and delicate duty confided to us, when we consider the importance and grandeur of the work we are selected to perform.

"We are here, clothed with the power to make laws which may forever shape the destiny of this territory, to lay the foundations of a new state, and to build up a new commonwealth. The con

sequences of our official acts are not within our control, nor can we escape them.

"Their record either to our glory or shame will soon be made, and impartial history will render a verdict, from which there is no appeal. It is in our power by wise, just, and liberal legislation, to advance this territory far onward in the race for empire; or by regarding only the selfish promptings of the present, and ignoring the logic of events, forgetting the teachings of the past, and the grand anticipations of the future, to impede its prosperity and retard its progress. We are entrusted not only with the present interests of a small constituency, and amenable to them alone, but we are the trustees of posterity, and responsible to the millions who in all time shall come after us. The saints and martyrs of liberty, who founded the Republic, have given us in trust the greatest blessings that can be bestowed upon men-civil and religious liberty-it is our duty as legislators to transmit this gift to our successors unimpaired. The constitution of the United States, which is the ark of our liberties, and the organic law giving vitality to our acts, are the guides and limits to our legislation.

"Happily for our action there is abundant precedent. We have the teachings of the fathers, and can follow in the way marked out by the men of the revolution, and consecrated with their blood; it is not obscured by time but shines more luminous in the light of the ages. Wherever the principles they declared have been established, freedom of political and religious thought and action have been enjoyed, and education, enterprise and civilization have ad

vanced. A departure from those principles has entailed oppression, crime and ruin.

"May the Supreme Law-giver of the universe, 'whose service is perfect freedom,' give us the wisdom, fitly and in the spirit of his teachings, to make the laws of this new state forever consecrated as the home of free men.

"The act establishing a temporary government for the territory of Arizona provides, "That the act organizing the territory of New Mexico, and acts amendatory thereto, together with all legislative enactments of the territory of New Mexico, not inconsistent with the provisions of this act, are hereby extended to, and continued in force in said Territory of Arizona, until repealed or amended by future legislation.' I have examined the statutes of New Mexico with some care, and am of opinion that however satisfactory such a code of laws might be to a people homogeneous and accustomed to its workings, but few of the provisions are adapted to our condition, wants or necessities, and that an entire and radical change will be needed. In making such change it will of course be provided that no rights acquired under these enactments will be impaired thereby, and that all proceedings instituted under them may survive and be prosecuted to final judgment. And it is suggested, that however imperfect the statutes of New Mexico may be, only such changes as are absolutely necessary be made in the ordinary course of legislation, and that the general provisions be suffered to remain in force until a complete and consistent code of laws, congenial to our habits and tastes, and adapted to our wants, can be prepared and adopted. Frequent

changes in the statute law are the consequences of hasty and inconsiderate legislation, and produce uncertainty and litigation. It is almost impossible for the committees of the legislative assembly, within the time limited for its session, to prepare, discuss and adopt a system of statute law, entire and consistent with itself, and that will not require constant amendment. It is much easier to begin right than it is to alter and amend laws and modes of proceeding once established, even though they should be glaringly imperfect.. I would therefore recommend that you provide immediately for the appointment of a commissioner to prepare a code of laws to be submitted for your approval and adoption. I am confident that by such action the result will be more speedily and satisfactorily attained. I will now suggest such changes as seem to be at once demanded, and such enactments as the organic law and our peculiar condition may require. Your experience in the Territory and superior knowledge of its interests will supply any omissions that I may make, and guide you in the difficult and delicate duties devolving upon you.

"An act in the statutes of New Mexico, regulating contracts between master and servant, continued and established in that territory, and consequently in this, in a modified and ameliorated form, that system of labor peculiar to Mexico, known as peonage.

"It in substance provides that a person owing a debt, or who wishes to contract a debt, may bind himself to pay that debt and subsequent advances in labor, at a stipulated price, and that if certain obligations be performed by the creditor or master on his part, the debtor or

« PrejšnjaNaprej »