Slike strani

allow certain things to be done, cărries with it the co-relative power of fixing cer: tain penalties. The second clause, providing that no slave or negro shall be manumitted in California who shall be brought here by his master, has reference not only to their being brought here for the express or avowed purpose of being manumitted for value received or services rendered, but to any person coming here to travel with his negro, and with no intention of residing here that after coming here he shall not be compelled to manumit his slare.

Mr. GILBERT. I have listened with much attention to this debate, and I may say that I have felt no little anxiety as to the result. That aniexty induces me at this late hour, to offer a few remarks upon the question under consideration. It has been the misfortune of this House to have several hobbies. In the first place, the hobby of the apportionment; then the Indian hobby ; then the bank or association hobby--all of which have been ridden. Last of all, we have the free ne. gro hobby-the worst, in my opinion. I think, sir, that some of the pictures presented to our view by gentlemen on this finor, are drawn from the imagination, and have no substantial existence in fact. We are told that the slaveholders will manumit their slaves and bring them to this country to dig gold ; that they will give up their plantations, however lucrative may be their business, and sacrifice their property to accomplish this object; that they will do all this, when they see staring them in the face, in the Constitution of California, that no slavery shall exist here. I do not believe this; it is not credible. There may be exceptions. Some few may do it under particular circumstances-those having a few slares who are at. tached to them, servants who have lived in their families a long time ; these may be manumitted and brought here ; but that there is any probability of the number being great, I deny. This view of the question, which gentlemen urge upon us with so much vehemence, is overrated. If you insert in your Constitution such a provision or any thing like it, you will be guilty of great injustice--you will do a great wrong, sir-a wrong to the principles of liberal and enlightened freedom; a wrong to the education and feelings of the American people ; a wrong to all the rights of government. You have said in the beginning of your bill of rights, that all men are by nature free and independent, and have certain inalienable rights. You go on to say that all men have the right of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness, and yet, sir, at the bottom of this you propose to say that no free negro shall enter this territory—that he, a freeman, shall not enjoy the right which you award to all mankind. You have not only said this, but you have said that slavery shall not exist here. You have prohibited slavery, and thereby acted in accord. ance with the dictates of the whole civilized world. Look at the people of Europe. For what are they battling--for what are they shedding their blood! It is to maintain their rights—it is for liberty they contend. Are we to attempt here to turn back the tide of freedom which has rolled across from continent to continent ? Are we to say that a free negro or Indian, or any other freeman, shall not enter the boundaries of California ? I trust not, sir. Under the former action of this House ; under the feelings and principles that have been maintained upon this floor, it would be unjust. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, unless for the pun. ishment of crime, shall ever be tolerated in this State ; and yet you say a free ne. gro shall not enter its boundaries. Is it because he is a criminal? No, sir-it is simply because he is black. Well might it be said in the words of the revolutio. nary writer: “You would be free, yet you know not how to be just.” It has been asserted that our constituents expect us to put such a provision in the Constitution. Gentlemen who know this may be right in advocating it; but I do not believe my constituency expect it, nor do I believe it is the desire of a majority of the people of California. I therefore oppose it. But, sir, we must go a little further than our constituents in settling this question. The people will consider our acts in this Convention, and if they ratify them, those acts will go before the Congress of the United States; and not only there, but before the great public of the United States, and before all the nations of the world. Does any gentleman here believe, sir, that there is a man who has ever contended upon the floor of Congress for free soil and free speech, and for the universal liberty of mankind, who will sanction: a Constitution that bears upon its face, this darkest stigma ? Even here in Cali. fornia, I do not believe such a provision would be sanctioned or approved. If it should be approved here, it will never be approved there. I tell you, gentlemen, you jeopard the interests of California far more by inserting this in your Constitu. tion than by any other measure you can introduce. But I have another objection to it. I find on glancing at the Constitution of the United States, under article 4th, section 2d, that

“The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States."

I contend, sir, that it is an immunity and privilege of a citizen of one State to remove from that State to another—to remove also his goods and chattles and ef. fects ; and no law that we can pass can prevent him from doing it.

Mr. McCARVER. Are free negroes citizens of the States?

Mr. GILBERT. In the State of New York and in most of the Eastern States they are. I will not say that in the Southern States they are considered as citi.. zens, though they are citizens under the spirit and meaning of the Constitution. But gentlemen apprehend that we are in danger of being overwhelmed by free negroes and manumitted slaves. I have said that I do not believe it; but admitting their fears to be well grounded, I think the evil should be provided for by the Legislature when circumstances demonstrate the necessity of such provision. It is certainly within the province of the Legislature to correct evils of this character. It is their province and theirs alone, and I should prefer leaving the subject for legislative enactment. We go beyond the bounds of ordinary constitutionmaking, when we attempt to introduce into ours a provision of this character. But, sir, if the matter is to be pressed upon the House--if we must come to action upon it, I shall deem it my duty to move that it be referred back to the Committee on the Constitution, and that they be instructed to report in favor of submitting it separately to the people. Entertaining the feelings that I do upon this matter, and I grant that my prejudices against negroes are as strong as any man's can be; for my

whole education has tended to make them repugnant to me, yet I am not willing to go this far, and say that a free negro, or any other freeman, shall not en. ter California. Besides, if we wish to be just here ; if, as gentlemen say, we must protect this community from vagrants, murderers, assassins, thieves, and all sorts of criminals, we are doing but half the work. Look at the miserable natives that come from the Sandwich Islands and other Islands of the Pacific; look at the de. graded wretches that come from Sydney, New South Wales—the refuse of popu. lation from Chili, Peru, Mexico, and other parts of the world. Why do you not insert a provision preventing them from polluting the soil of California ? If your object is to protect the community from the evils of a bad population, why not in. clude these in your prohibition ? Most of them are as bad as any of the free ne. groes of the North, or the worst slaves of the South. Do not be partial in this matter. You are treading upon the United States' Constitution itself. You must beware how you conflict with its provisions. If, therefore, this matter is to be pressed, I shall move that the whole subject be referred back to the Committee on the Constitution, with such instructions as the House may think proper to give it; but I desire, if a majority of the House be in favor of making it a portion of the Constitution, that it should be submitted to the people for a separate vote. I believe our Constitution will be rejected if you make it a provision which cannot be separated from it; I believe it will not be sanctioned by the people here ; and even if sanctioned by them, that it will be rejected by that revisory power which it must pass at Washington. Sir, if there is one consideration more ihan another that would tempt me to forego all my feelings and principles, it would

be that of securing to California, with as little delay as possible, a proper form of State Government.

Mr. Borts asked what was the question before the House,
The CHAIR stated that it was on the amendment of Mr. Steuart.

Mr. SHANNON. I did not think the question would have been sprung so soon upon the House. It seems to me, sir, that it has been decided by the unanimous vote of this Convention that no slavery shall exist in the State of California. A portion of the amendment under consideration, (Mr. Steuart's,) which hy.the-by I thought he had withdrawn, declares what? It most directly and positively annuls a section introduced and passed unanimously in the bill of rights; it declares that the Legislature shall pass laws as soon as possible, preventing the emancipation of any slaves introduced into the territory of California. As I understand it, the slaves of the gentleman's friends in Maryland, of whom he has spoken, can be brought here and introduced under that provision, but they cannot be manumitted within our limits. It protects these slaveholders ; it gives them the right to hold their slaves in defiance of the section which this House has so unanimously adopted in the bill of rights.

Mr. Steuart. I understand the mover of the original resolution is willing to accept my proposition. I stated expressly in reference to this clause, to which the gentleman from Sacramento (Mr. Shannon) objects, that it is merely designed to cover the case of individuals who may desire to travel with their negro servants through the State—that while it gives those who have no intention of settling here with their slaves that right, they are prohibited from setting them free here or in. troducing and retaining them as slaves.

Mr. McCARVER. I have no objection to it as an amendment. I wish my proposition to remain before the House ; but if the House think proper to accept the amendment in preference to mine, I shall be satisfied. I did not withdraw my original resolution, nor do I now withdraw it.

Mr. SHANNON. I wish to know how this matter stands. I desire that the effect of the amendment proposed by the gentleman from San Francisco, (Mr. Steuart,) should be distinctly understood.

Mr. DIMMICK. Before this question is decided, I wish to correct one statement made on this floor. I desire that there shall not go forth a wrong impression from the district of San Jose. Some gentleman, not representing that district, has taken occasion here to state that he is instructed, or in other words requested, by the people of San Jose, to advocate the adoption of this section, or a section in volving these principles. Sir, I beg leave to state that such is not the wish of the people of San Jose. I profess to know something of the voice of that district. There were, perhaps, individuals in the district who wished to have such a provision incorporated in the Constitution, but they do not wish it now, or at least the number is very small. I speak knowingly when I say a large portion of that district do not desire such a provision. I believe there are none but a portion of the population from the States. The native inhabitants of the country do not desire it. I do not wish to be misrepresented here, or to have an impression go forth that I am misrepresenting the will of the people of San Jose. I rise, therefore, to correct that impression. I would make one remark more. If this is to be put upon the statutes, I would suggest to the gentleman the propriety of forbidding the slave holders from bringing their negroes here, rather than the negroes from coming themselves. The resolution before the House is directed against the negro, who is utterly helpless, and who is brought here by the slaveholder. If such a provision is to be incorporated in the Constitution, it would better please me, and seem more appropriate, to direct the prohibition against the slaveholder.

Mr. HOPPE. I beg leave to detain the House a few minutes. I am a delegate from the district of San Jose, and I beg leave to differ (honestly, I hope) from my colleague on this subject. We have no doubt received our vote from the same people, who elected us to seats upon this floor. I have no particular instructions to vote for or against the introduction of free negroes; but, so'far as I am acquainted with the feelings of our district, I consider myself authorized to say that two. thirds of the Americans in that district will go against the introduction of free negroes. I speak it honestly. The feeling is against it. Aš to the Spanish po. pulation, I confidently believe that a full majority will be opposed to the introduction of free negroes among them. That, sir, is my candid impression. I will support the resolution as offered by my friend from San Francisco, (Mr. Steuart.) I believe it will meet the exigencies of the case; and will effectually prevent the introduction of free negroes—a class which would always be a curse to California. I have a rising family here, sir, and I expect to end my days in California; but I never wish to have free negroes for servants, or for any

other purpose.

I have been educated and reared in the slave States, and have held slaves nearly all my life. I have lived in the free States for a short period, and I have seen riots of the most sanguinary and deplorable character arise from the habitation of negroes among the whites. The two races can never intermingle without mutual injury. I refer especially to the great riot in Cincinnati in 1835. Look at the bloodshed that occurred there. Negroes from all parts of the State were engaged in the conflict, and there was an enormous destruction of property and loss of life. Riots took place also in Illinois, followed by the same melancholy results. What have the people of Illinois done? They have seen the evil consequences that grow out of the intermingling of free negroes with whites, and they have adopted a pro. vision prohibiting iheir introduction into the State. Let us now, before we are overrun with that race, exclude them from our boundaries, and we shall avoid those evils which have been experienced by the other free States.

The question was then taken on Mr. Steuart's amendment, and it was rejected.
The question being next on Mr. McDougal's amendment, it was also rejected.
The question then recurring on Mr. McCarver's proposition, it was adopted.
On motion, the Committee rose and reported progress.
On motion, the House then adjourned to 12 o'clock to.morrow.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 1849. The Convention was called to order by the President, pursuant to adjournment. Prayer by Rev. Senor Antonio Ramirez.

Mr. Gwis stated that there was not a quorum present, and moved that the Con. vention adjourn, and that the fact that a quorum was not present be entered upon the journal.

Mr. Gwin subsequently modified his motion so as to provide merely that the Convention will take a recess, until 7 o'clock P. M.

The question being taken thereon, it was decided in the affirmative--yeas 9, nays 9—the President giving the casting vote in the affirmative.

And the Convention took a recess accordingly.

NIGHT SESSION, 7 O'CLOCK, P. M. The Convention met pursuant to adjournment. The journal of yesterday was read, amended, and approved.

Mr. Gwir gave notice of a motion to amend the rules.
Mr. Jones gave notice of a motion to amend the rules.

Mr. Crosby, from the Committee on Finance, to whom was referred back so much of the report of said Committee as relates to the communications of Governor. Riley on the ways and means of obtaining the funds for paying the expenses of the Convention, and also to report on the proposition of Mr. J. Ross Browne, to furnish printed copies of his report, made a report in writing, stating the form in which it was necessary to make out the accounts, and recommending the Convention to take a number of printed copies of the Debates in Engligh and Span. ish, which was read; and on motion of Mr. Gwin, laid on the table for further considération.

Mr. TEFFT submitted the following:

Resolved, That until otherwise ordered, the following be a standing rule of this Convention, viz.: This House of Delegates shall hereafter meet at 10 o'clock in the morning, and at 8 o'clock in the evening.

Mr. McDougal moved to amend the same by striking out the words “and at 8 o'clock in the evening," and the motion was decided in the affirmative, 19 to 16. "Mr. Brown moved further to amend, by striking out “ 10," and inserting “9."

Whereupon, Mr. TEFFT on leave, withdrew his motion.

Mr. Norton, from the Committee appointed to prepare a plan or portion of a plan of a State Constitution, made a further report in writing, being Article VI, on the "Judicial Department," and Article VIII, on “ Public Instruction;" which was read, and on motion, referred to the Committee of the Whole.

Mr. COBARRUVIAS submitted the following, which was agreed to : Resolved, That the consideration of the report just presented, be deferred until it shall have been translated into Spanish.

Mr. DIMMICK gave notice that he would in due time, present a minority report on the " Judicial Department," from the Committee appointed to prepare a plan or portion of a plan of a State Constitution.

Mr. TEFFT from the Committee appointed to ascertain and report to this House who are or shall be the delegates from San Diego, made a report in writing, sustaining the previous action of the House, which was read.

Mr. Moore moved to lay the report on the table, and the motion was decided in the negative.

Mr. Moore submitted the following, which the President decided to be out of order :

Resolved, That William Richardson be admitted to a seat in this Convention, satisfactory proof having been produced that the people of San Diego did, in pursuance of a resolution adopted by them, elect five delegates, to give in this body whatever vote might be agreed upon as the proper apportionment for the district.

Mr. Gwin submitted the following: Resolved, That William Richardson be allowed to occupy a seat on this floor, and to be heard by himself or by ourselves, in defence of his right to a seat in this Convention as a delegate from the District of San Diego.

The question being on the adoption of the resolution, it was decided in the af. firmative, and Mr. Richardson took a seat on the floor of the Convention.

Mr. Gwin stated that Mr. Richardson desired to be heard by counsel, and had requested that the further consideration of the report might be postponed until tomorrow.

Mr. McDoUGAL moved that Mr. Richardson be permitted to have access to the report and to the papers in the hands of the Committee, and that he be required to present in writing any communication which he may desire to make.

The motion was decided in the negative. On motion of Mr. Jones, the further consideration of the report was postponed and made the special order for to-morrow at 10 o'clock.

On motion of Mr. Jones, the Convention resolved itself into Committee of the Whole, (Mr. LIPPETT in the Chair,) on the 4th article, being the Executive De. partment of the Constitution.

On motion of Mr. Gwin, the 3d article being the Legislative Department of the Constitution, was laid aside to be reported to the House.

The first section of the report was adopted without debate, viz :

« PrejšnjaNaprej »