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Sec. 1. The supreme executive power of this State shall be vested in a chief magistrate, who shall be styled the Governor of the State of California.
The 2d section being under consideration, as follows:
Sec. 2. The Governor shall be elected by the qualified electors at the time and place of voting for members of the Assembly, and shall hold his office two years from the time of his installation and until his successor shall be qualified.
Mr. GILBERT wished to offer an amendment to this section to strike out all after the word “office," and before the word “and,” and insert " for two years from the first day of January, next ensuing his election.” He apprehended it was the object of the Committee that there should be a concurrence between the elec. tion of Governor and the assembling of the Legislature ; but he found upon refer. ring back to the Legislative Department, that this would not be the case as the section stands.
The second section of article III, says :
The sessions of the Legislature shall be annual and shall commence on the first Monday in January next ensuing the election of its members, unless the Governor of the State shall in the interim convene the Legislature by proclamation.
In section 4th of the present report, it is provided that -
The returns of every election for Governor shall be sealed up and transmitted to the seat of Government, directed to the Speaker of the Assembly, who shall, during the first week of the session, open and publish them in the presence of both Houses of the Legislature, &c.
In that case, of course, the Governor could not take his seat or act as Governor until after the assembling of the Legislature. He (Mr. Gilbert) would therefore give notice of a motion to amend the second section of the report by inserting in. stead of the first Monday, the second Monday in January, and to amend the fourth section of the report under consideration, by striking out the whole section and inserting the following:
The returns of every election for Governor and other State officers shall be sealed up and transmitted as soon as practicable thereafter, to the seat of Government, directed to the Secretary of State, who shall, on or before the fifteenth day of December next ensuing, publish the same in one or more public newspapers. The person having the highest number of votes for Governor or other office, respectively, as the case may be, shall be declared duly elected; but in case any two or more persons have an equal and the highest number of votes for Governor or other office, respectively, the Legislature shall choose by ballot at its first session thereafter, one of said persons so having an equal and the highest number of votes for Governor or other office, respectively, as the case may be.
By the adoption of these amendments, the Legislature will assemble on the 2d Mondary of January, which will be in no case sooner than the 8th day of the month. The gubernatorial election will have been decided by the Secretary of State on the 15th of December, and the Governor will have an opportunity of preparing his messsage for the Legislature by the first of January. He thought it necessary in that view of the case, that these last amendments should be made. As the section stands, it would make it incumbent on the retiring Governor to send in a message at the opening of the Legislature. Such, he apprehended, was not the wish of the people or of the House. Coming into office, the new Governor should have the privilege of laying down the principles that are to govern him during his term of office, and at the same time, a new Legislature may come in of the same political views, and it is desirable that there should be unity of action between the Executive and Legislative Departments of the Government.
Mr. Gwin said that if that amendment was to be adopted, the gentleman, (Mr. Gilbert,) had better report an entire new article on the subject, because the whole system depends upon each part, and goes through the report. It is sustained by the experience of many of the States. In case of a contested election of Governor under this proposition, how is the decision to be made, or by what power? It is decided here by the Legislature. If he is to be sworn before the Legislature meets, his election cannot afterwards be contested.
Mr. GILBERT remarked, that in case of a tie, he should expect the question to re. main till the Legislature should act upon it. If the Legislature could not decide it, it would of course go back to the people. He was not aware of the course pur. sued in any of the States in reference to this matter, except the State of New York, which has a board of canvassers, consisting of the officers of the State.
Mr. Borts. I congratulate myself that I have arrived at a point for once, when I can give my full assent to the report of the Committee; and I only regret that I cannot at the same time sanction the practice of New York. I hope it will not be the will of the House to approve of the doctrines proposed by the gentleman from San Francisco, (Mr. Gilbert.) It is to my mind a most important point. As I understand it, the difference between the two questions is this: To whom shall the power of deciding these elections be left, whether to the Legislature or to a subordinate executive officer of this Government ?
Mr. GILBERT. The gentleman mistakes entirely. I will read the substitute which I
propose for the 4th section. (See amendment to section 4.) Mr. BOTTS. Just exactly as I supposed it to be. Who has the highest number of votes. That is the question, and that great and important question is to be set. lled by your Secretary of State.
Mr. GILBERT. It is to be settled by the official returns.
Mr. Borts. The Secretary of State is to decide who has received the highest number of votes, and if the Legislature is to act at all, it is only to register the decree of the Secretary of State. He is to decide upon the legality of the returns. I con. sider that to be a question of very great importance. It is scarcely necessary to multiply words on the subject. I think when my friend from San Francisco, (Mr. Gilbert) sees that such a question will necessarily have to be decided by such an of. ficer, that he will withdraw the amendment. At any rate, I wish to impress upon the House the effect of this amendment. The question of the legality of the returns must of necessity, under this resolution, be decided, and that without appeal, by an officer who, I presume, it is not contemplated should hold such a position as to entitle him to this power. He is called upon to decide not only upon the le. gality of the election, but upon the legality of the returns.
We have known ques. tions of the most important character to arise in the United States on this subject. In the celebrated New Jersey case, it was one of the most important questions presented before the House of Representatives as to what were the legal returns. It was a question that agitated Congress and the country for weeks, and produced a most extraordinary and exciting debate in the House. And yet this question, which the House of Representatives could hardly decide, the gentleman proposes to leave to an executive officer !
Mr. GILBERT. Of course the question upon this amendment has no necessary relation to the others that I have offered. if it be adopted or not, it does not materially change the report. It is a mere question of words in this section. But in so far as relates to the remarks of the gentleman from Monterey, (Mr. Botts) I must say I have arrived at an entirely different conclusion. It is very possible that the Secretary of State might be a very bad man ; but I cannot think there is any danger of his making false returns.
Mr. Borts. I do not fear that the Secretary of State would be a worse man than any other. I am afraid of all men. I do not say he would make a false re. turn; but I fear to trust him with the decisions of the legality of such an import. ant question as the election returns of the Governor-one of such vital importance to the people.
Mr. GILBERT. I am willing to leave it to the House.
The question was then taken on Mr. Gilbert's amendment to the second section, and it was rejected.
The question recurring on the adoption of section 2d,
Mr. HALLECK said : I mast call attention to one point that did not strike me in Committee, and that is, that a difficulty may arise as to the succession in office. Suppose a question should occur in regard to the votes, and a month, to the 1st of February, should be occupied in coming to a decision upon it. The Governor holds on to that time. The time of the installation of the new Governor may thus pass beyond the time of the meeting of the Legislature, and that might go on for several
years. Mr. Gwin. The Legislature will settle all matters of that kind. It is a duty that is incumbent upon it. I do not see how we can remedy the difficulty unless the system be entirely changed.
Mr. SHANNON offered the following amendment: to strike out all from the word 6 and” to the word "and," and insert in its place," and shall hold his office two years from the first day of January following his election, and until his successor shall be qualified."
Mr. GILBERT. I rise to a question of order; if that is not substantially the same as the amendment which I offered, and which has just been rejected.
Mr. HALLECK. I call the attention of the gentleman to the fact that the last part of the amendment is different from that offered by the gentleman from San Francisco.
The Chair decided that the amendment did not differ substantially from the amendment just acted upon.
The question recurring on the 2d section as reported, it was adopted.
Mr. WozencRAFT moved the following as an additional section, to come in between sections two and three of the report :
A Governor, after having served two consecutive terms, skall be, and is hereby, declared ineligible for a third.
Mr. SHANNON. Coming back again to the old ground; throwing restrictions around your Legislature and people that you have no right to impose upon them. Is this Convention any wiser than the future Legislatures to assemble here, or are the people any wiser now than they will be years hence. I desire to see no restriction, that we can possibly avoid, thrown around the Legislature; and I de. šire still more to see no restriction thrown by this Constitution over the people. I desire to see them left as unhampered as we can possibly leave them. It is now proposed that we shall declare that whether they choose or not to elect any man they see fit to the office af Governor, they cannot do it, because this Constitution prohibits it. I regard it as a most improper restriction. I certainly cannot vote for it, nor can I vote in favor of the limitation in the third section of the report, requiring the candidate to be twenty.five years in order to be eligible to the office of Governor.
Mr. WOZENCRAFT. I was very much in hopes this section would pass without debate. I think one of the great principles of a republican government is rota. tion in office. As to hampering the people with restrictions, the only restriction here is in regard to succession. The same person may be elected a dozen times, if he lives long enough.
Mr. NORTON. I can see no necessity for this provision. There is an obvious necessity in the case of some offices for such restriction—that of Sheriff, for in. stance-a person who is supposed to have hy virtue of his office an immense deal of influence throughout the country; and who has large sums of money in his possession. If he should be eligible a second term, he might use his influence, or the money in his hands, for the purpose of procuring his re-election. The people will settle this matter about the Governor. If they want a certain man to continue as Governor, they will have him; if not they will reject him.
Mr. WOZENCRAFT. He may come in for a life time, under this provision, but not in successive terms. There is no other restriction but that of successive terms.
The question was then taken, and the proposed section was rejected. The third section of the report being under consideration, as follows: 3. No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor, (except at the first election,) who has not been a citizen of the United States and a resident of this State two years next preceding the election, and attained the age of twenty five years at the time of said election.
Mr. McDougal moved to amend so as to make the section read “ten years a citizen of the United States or of California."
Mr. DIMMICK. I trust, sir, that this amendment will not be adopted; for it cer. tainly does appear to me to operate hard upon portions of the people of California. There are persons in this territory whom I consider justly entitled to be elected to the highest offices within the gift of the people, which this amendment would exclude. I mean the native Californians, whom I consider equally as well enti. tled to hold office as the American population. If it can be so modified as to in. clude only those who become naturalized under the naturalization laws, I have no objection to the amendment; but when I see a proposition brought forward that will cut off the native-born citizens of California, I hope it will not be the pleasure of the Convention to adopt it.
Mr. NORTON. I have the same objections. This amendment will not only cut off all the native Californians, but all those persons not residents of the United States who were here residing in this country before California became a part of the United States.
Mr. McDougal. At the time I offered this amendment, I did not reflect for a moment upon the objections that the gentlemen have urged against it. I see that their objections are gcod and valid. In casting my eye over the section, I thought only of the necessity of requiring that none but a citizen of the United States should be eligible to the office of Governor. I will therefore amend my motion so as to read, “ citizens of the United States, or of California, for the last ten years.”
Mr. Borts. I am afraid the gentleman is running from one extreme to the other. He will shut us all off if we have to be citizens of California ten years.
Mr. McDougal explained that it was “ of the United States or California.”
Mr. TEFFT. I consider the resolution still objectionable. There may be in California English or Scotch people, who have not been residents ten years. It would deprive them of all right to the office of Governor.
Mr. DIMMICK. I still find the proposition objectionable, for the same reason that I did at first. It is well known that there are many citizens in California, who were citizens of Mexico, who have not been in this country ten years. I think there are some upon this floor, born in Mexico, who were Mexican citizens, but who have not lived in this country quite ten years. I am certain there are many worthy citizens in this territory who come under this head. Emigrating here when this country was their own, they surely ought to be entitled to every right and privilege enjoyed by all who have been here the same length of time. I consider therefore that the amendment still operates unjustly towards a portion of the citizens of California, and I shall vote against it.
Mr. SHANNON. I wish to put a case to my colleague from Sacramento, (Mr. McDougal.) I should dislike very much to have any of the Sacramento delega. tion rendered ineligible to the office of Governor. Now, the gentleman's friend and my friend, (Captain Sutter,) if we choose to nominate him as a candidate for that position, would come directly under this clause, and be rendered ineligible. He has not been a citizen of the United States, I believe, ten years; neither has he been a citizen of California quite ten years. Under the treaty he became a citizen of California ; but not being a citizen either of the United States or of California ten years, he is excluded by this section. If there is any thing to get Captain Sutter out of this dilemma, there are still others who at home are eligible to the office of Governor, who by coming here are rendered ineligible.
Mr. McDougal. I certainly think gentlemen take a wrong view of this amend. ment. It strikes me that each genileman thinks himself specially referred to. In answer to the case put by my colleague, in relation to Captain Sutter, I can state that he is not cut off by this resolution. He has been a citizen of California over ten years, and of the United States previously six years. I offer this amendment making it requisite for the incumbent—the Chief Magistrate of the State—to reside ten years in the United States or California, from the fact that it requires at least that residence to understand our institutions and the principles of our government. No foreigner can come in here and become thoroughly Americanized un. der ten years. I think it should be a constitutional requirement that he should be here at least that period before he is eligible to so high and resonsible a posi. tion. If there is any objection to requiring him to be a resident ten years, there is the same objection to requiring him to be a resident of this State previous to the election. Both stand upon precisely the same footing; and it was in that view of the case I offered the amendment.
Mr. Dent. If I recollect right, it appears to me that at an early day in the session, it was decided that persons might be citizens either of Mexico or of the United States, without necessarily having the privilege of voting in this State. I know that such is the case ; but lest there may be some doubt in the House rela. tive to the truth of my position, I will read an extract from the treaty of peace between the United States and Mexico which establishes the fact :
“ The Mexicans who, in the territories aforesaid, shall not preserve the character of citizens of the Mexican republic, conformably with what is stipulated in the preceding article, shall be incorporated into the Union of the United States, and be admitted at the proper time, (to be judged of by the Congress of the United States,) to the enjoyment of all the rights of citizens of the United States, according to the principles of the Constitution ; and in the meantime shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty and property, and secured in the free exercise of their religion, without restriction."
Now it is admitted, I believe, that all negroes who came into California previous to the treaty, or lived in California at the time of its adoption, were considered in the light of Mexican citizens, but not having the privilege of voting. If such is the fact, all of the African race living in California at that time would be included as citizens, and would of course be entitled to aspire to the position of Governor. I
propose therefore that we substitute in place of " citizen of the United States or of California," "shall be a qualified elector of the State of California."
Mr. Borts. I am opposed to the amendment of the gentleman, (Mr. McDou. gal.) I have not that prejudice against foreigners which seems to inspire some of the members of this House. I certainly desire that the individual who is to ad. minister this Government shall understand the character and nature of our insti. tutions; but I deny the fact that ten years' residence is necessary to a quire that kuowledge. These principles are based upon truths that are noi confined to the United States ; they are known throughout the world. Wherever civilized man exists, the nature and character and celebrity of those institutions are well under. stood. It is not a fact that persons on the other side of the Atlantic know nothing about our institutions; they are well known, sir, well understood. In my opinion, that celebrated French writer, De Tocqueville, has given the most satisfactory evi. dence that he understood them perhaps as well as nine-tenths of our own country: men. That these great principles are not only known and preached but practiced, by that class of individuals whom this resolution would exclude, is proved by the fact that they leave their native land--that they sunder all those ties of kindredgive up all that love of country which is so natural to the heart of man, to come to our shores-thereby evincing their high appreciation of our institutions. They present, if any thing, stronger claims to understand and appreciate them than any which we have had it in our power to give ; and it may be, that that just such an individual as this resolution would have a tendency to exclude, would command the votes of seven.eights of the people to that office. Why then adopt a provision that