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Caleb Lyon received a majority of votes as First Assistant Secretary, and was declared duly elected.
J. G. Field received a majority of votes as Second Assistant Secretary, and was declared duly elected.
On motion of Mr. Gwin, a committee of three were appointed to report upon the subject of a Reporter for the Convention. Messrs. Gwin, Dent, and Gilbert, were selected as such committee.
The House then proceeded to the election of a Sergeant-at-Arms; whereupon, Mr. Houston, having received a majority of the votes, was declared duly elected.
On motion of Mr. Gwin, the rules were suspended, and Cornelius Sullivan was elected Doorkeeper, viva voce.
Mr. VALLEJO moved that a Clerk be appointed to assist the Interpreter and Translator.
Mr. Price moved the following resolution, which was adopted : Resolved, That the President appoint a Committee of three to call upon the clergy of Monterey, and request them to open this Convention each day with prayer.
Committee-Messrs. Price, Larkin, and Norton. Mr. Gwix then offered the following resolution : Resolved, Thát a select committee, composed of two delegates from each district, be appointed by the President, to report the plan or any portion of the plan of a State Constitution for the action of this body.
On motion of Mr. PRICE, the above resolution was made the special order of the day for to.morrow.
A motion for adjournment was made and lost. Mr. Price offered the following resolution : Resolved, That a Clerk be appointed to the Interpreter and Translator. Adopted. On motion of Mr. Gwin, the rules of the House were suspended, and Mr. W. H. Henrie elected (viva voce) to the office of Clerk to the Interpreter and Translator.
Mr. Gwin then submitted the following resolution, which was adopted : Resolved, That the parliamentary law as laid down in Jefferson's Manual, so far as applicable, be the law of the Convention, until otherwise ordered.
The Convention then adjourned until 10 o'clock, A. M. to-morrow.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 1849. The Convention met pursuant to adjournment. Prayer by the Rev. Padre Antonio Ramirez.
Mr. Gwin inquired whether there was a quorum present.
The Chair stated that, by a resolution passed yesterday settling the ratio of representation in the several districts, the whole number of members who should be here was fixed at sixty-nine. It would then require thirty-six to form a quorum for the transaction of business, which was about the whole number present. In all regularly organised legislative bodies, it would be beyond their reach to change this order of things; but the Convention was an original meeting of the people, through their representatives, to form a system of laws, and its organization was legitimately under its own control. He thought some provision should be made to facilitate business. It would now require too much time to send emissa ries throughout the country to compel the attendance of the members elected.
Mr. Gwin said it was for that very reason that he made the inquiry. He was perfectly confident that no instance could be given of any deliberative body transacting business without a quorum of its own members. The report of the Committee named the persons elected. It would be impossible 10 get over the difficulty by requiring the attendance of these members. There was but one remedy that he could see-to give the power to those present to represent the absent members of their respective districts. Then the House could always have a quorum.
Mr. HALLECK was opposed to any proceeding of this kind. Although the House might give the votes of a whole district to two or three members of that district, it would be altogether improper, if not impracticable, to make those members serve for fifteen person in forming a quorum. This difficulty he anticipated at the outset, and had inentioned it to the members, when the committee fixed the number for each district. To adopt the plan suggested would only get the House into still greater difficulty. There would be several additional members present in a few days, and with them he thought a quorum could be formed.
Mr. Gwin said if the gentleman would suggest a remedy be would cheerfully agree to it. He was not personally in favor of the plan which he had thrown out, but it occurred to him as the only alternative within their reach.
Mr. DIMMICK observed that there was a quorum now present, and he hoped the House would proceed to business.
Mr. CROSBY moved that the officers and members of the Convention first take the oath to support the Constitution of the United States.
Mr. Borts moved to postpone the order of the day for that purpose.
The Chair deemed it necessary that the body should first be organized. It was for the House to determine whether or not that course should be adopted. It was either organized, or not organized. The question would be whether the members should take the oath before proceeding to business as an organized body. Which was put and determined in the affirmative.
Mr. Gwin suggested that the President be sworn by some legal officer of the city. He thought the Judge of the Supreme Court, who was present, could do it, and then swear in all the other members. The Judge or Alcade should perform this duty.
The CHAIR said if it was the will of the House, the Secretary of State could swear in the President, and the President could then administer the oaths to the members as a body:
Which was adopted; and the President of the Convention was duly sworn by the Secretary of State ; after which the President adıninistered the oath to the members.
ORDER OF THE DAY.
Mr. Gwin's resolution being the order of the day, was then taken up and read.
Mr. HALLECK wished to propose a substitute, for the purpose of getting an ex. pression of the sense of the House on two points. He had very little doubt as to ihe result; nevertheless, as many wished their views to be known on that suh. ject, he desired to make the two points separate and distinct. It was with respect to a State or a Territorial form of government. He therefore moved that the resolution be so worded as to give a direct expression of opinion on each point, whether the plan of a State Government was desired, or whether the Convention should propose to Congress a plan of a Territorial Government.
Mr. McCARVER said, that the question was whether any other than a Slate * Government should be considered, he was willing the vote of this House should be taken to decide it, but he was not willing to sit here and take any other plan into consideration.
The CHAIR stated that the question was on the amendment of Mr. Halleck.
Mr. Gwin could not agree to accept this amendment as a substitute for his reso. lution, because it embodied precisely the same thing. The resolution submitted by him was open to discussion. If there be any objection to a State Constitution, the questien of a Territorial Government is thrown open.
Mr. HALLECK's only object was to separate the two questions.
Mr. Gwin did not think there was a member on this floor in favor of a Territo. rial Government.
Mr. McCARVER proposed moving the question, whether this body proceed to form a State or Territorial Government.
The CHAIR considered the question embodied in the resolution.
Mr. HASTINGS was opposed to the resolution last offered, and in favor of the resolution providing for the organization of a State Government. If it was 'a State Government it would not be a Territorial Government.
Mr. GILBERT, in order to cover the whole, moved the following as an amend. ment to the amendment of Mr. Halleck :
1. Resolved, That it is expedient that this Convention now proceed to form a State Constitution for California.
2. Resolved, That a Committee consisting of members from each district be appointed by the Chair to prepare a draft or plan for a Constitution for the State of California ; and that such Committee be instı ucted to report to this Convention, with as little delay as possible, such articles or sections of said draft or plan as may have been passed in Committee fiom time to time.
Mr. HALLECK accepted Mr. Gilbert's proposition as a substitute for his amend. ment.
Mr. Gwin accepted the first resolution offered by Mr. Gilbert as a substitute for his second resolution, and in order to have a direct vote, called the previous question.
The Chair stated that the previous question was on the original resolution, that being the order of the day.
Mr. HASTINGS moved to amend the resolution by inserting two from each dis. trict instead of one.
The CHAIR stated that the motion to add an additional member was within the reach of the House at any time.
Mr. Gwin accepted the amendment of two instead of one.
Mr. FOSTER suggested that the resolution to appoint a Committee be put in such shape as to give the opinion of the House directly on the subject of the form of government. Some members were in favor of a Territorial Government. For one, he was opposed at present to entering into a State Government. He desired, and so did others, to have the vote separate and distinct. It appeared to him that Mr. Halleck's amendment to the resolution accomplished the object.
Mr. Gwin renewed his call for the previous question ; but the motion giving rise to discussion, he finally withdrew it.
Mr. CARILLO said the first question ought to be, whether California was to remain a Territory, or be formed into a State. Whatever determination there might be on that subject, he thought a Committee ought to be appointed to report upon it, that members might record their votes on that question alone, if they so desired it. Any step taken contrary to this plan would only involve the Convention in difficulty.
Mr. WOZENCRAFT did not perceive what right the House had to enter into any question of that kind. The delegates of this Convention were elected for a spe. cial purpose-to form a State Constitution. They were not required to give any expression of opinion as to any other form of government.
The CHAIR stated that Governor Riley, in the recommendation contained in his proclamation, referred to a Territorial as well as a State Government.
Mr. Tefft thought there was another reason why the two questions should be separated. If gentlemen were honest in stating that the two resolutions would have the same effect, it was yielding nothing to comply with the wishes of those who desired to record their vote in favor of a Territorial Government. He was compelled, in compliance with the wishes of his constituents, to vote for a Territorial Government. He considered it due to members who voted under such instructions, that the direct question should be put, whether the Convention should proceed to form a State or a Territorial Government.
Further dicussion having taken place, Mr.GILBERT called for the reading of
the two resolutions (Mr. Gwin's and his own in juxta position.) The Secretary read the resolutions.
Mr. Borts cordially approved of the sentiments expressed in the resolution of Mr. Gilbert; but strange to say, they led him to entirely different conclusions. He (Mr. Botts)' wanted to see the whole subject discussed by the Convention in Committee of the Whole. He desired that every member should participate in the discussion. He was aware it was the wish of the gentleman that this Com. mittee should return immediately with a plan of a Constitution to be laid before the House. But what does the resolution authorize this Committee to do? What power does it give the Committee ? The very difficulty which the gentleman sought to avoid was involved in the adoption of the Constitution so reported. For his own part, he would vote for the resolution which provides for the taking of the test question at once, whether it should be a Constitution for the State or a Ter. ritorial Government. He would then offer an amendment providing that the House go directly into Committee of the Whole for the consideration of a Consti. tution for that State or Territory; and for precisely the same reasons that the gentleman from San Francisco had offered his resolution, requiring the Committee to report the plan of a Constitution in detached portions.
Mr. GILBERT said his chief motive was the desire to save time the wish to shorten the sitting of this Convention to the least possible limit. In all the Con. ventions of which he had read, a great deal of time had been lost by parcelling out different departments of the Constitution to different Committees. It was the case in the late Convention of New York. They had some ten different Com. mittees. When all the reports were before the House, it took them two months to settle upon a plan of a Constitution. It was found that the different reports had no co-relătive sympathy, and it was almost utterly impossible to unite them. This Committee, which he proposed, could hold its meetings during the intervals be. tween the sittings of the Convention, and report from time to time such portions of the Constitution as they had adopted. The House could, meantime, be engaged in debating the articles before it in Committee of the Whole. He wished it distinctly understood that his object was to save time.
Mr. CARILLO stated that he represented one of the most respectable communi. ties in California, and he did not believe it to be to the interest of his constitu. ents that a State Government should be formed. At the same time, as a great majority of this Convention appeared to be in favor of a State Government, he proposed that the country should be divided by running a line west from San Luis Obispo, so that all north of that line might have a State Government, and all south thereof a Territorial Government. He and his colleagues were under instructions to vote for a Territorial organization. He took this view, because he believed it to be to the interest of his constituents. And although a gentleman belonging to this body had stated, that it was not the object of the Convention to form a Con. stitution for the Californians, he begged leave to say, that he considered himself as much an American citizen as the gentleman who made the assertion.
Mr. Gwin said he was very glad' that the gentleman had afforded him an opportunity of stating precisely what his meaning was. He had been very much misunderstood on this point. What he said was, that the Constitution which they were about to form was for the American population. Why? Because the American population was the majority. It was for the protection of the California population-government was instituted for the protection of minorities—this Constitution was to be formed with a view to the protection of the minority : the native Californians. The majority of any community is the party to be governed; the restrictions of law are interposed between them and the weaker party; they are to be restrained from infringing upon the rights of the minority.
The Interpreter having translated this explanation,
Mr. Carillo expressed himself perfectly satisfied. He had nothing further to say, except that he conceived it to be to the interests of his constituents, if a Terri. torial Government could not be formed for the whole country, that the country should be so divided as to allow them that form, while the northern population might adopt a State Government if they preferred it.
Mr. Foster, although acting under instructions similar to those of his colleague, did not believe that a majority of his constituents wished a separation. There was no doubt they desired a Territorial Government, but he believed they would prefer to bear their share of the burden of a State Government rather than divide the country.
Mr. DIMMICK wished to say a word before the question was put. He repre. sented a portion of the California population in this House. The idea was prevalent that the native Californians were opposed to a State Government., This he did not conceive to be the case. He was satisfied from the conversations he had had with them, that they were nearly unanimous in favor of a State Government. As to the line of distinction attempted to be drawn between native Californians and Americans, he knew no such distinction himself; his constituents knew none. They all claimed to be Americans. They would not consent to be placed in a minority. They classed themselves with Americans, and were entitled to be considered in the majority. No matter from what nation they came, he trusted that hereafter they would be classed with the American people. The Constitution was to be formed for their benefit as well as to that of the native born Americans. They all had one common interest at stake, and one common object in view: the pro. tection of government.
Mr. Gwin would not be misunderstood by any interpretation given to his remarks on this floor or elsewhere. It was notorious that the citizens of the United States were known as Americans here; and when he spoke of Americans, he spoke of citizens of the old States of the Union, now in California. He knew no distinction prejudicial to the interests of either. He had attempted to draw none. He spoke of them as a matter of numbers ; that the citizens from the old States of the Union formed the majority here, and this Constitution was for the protection of the class forming the minority.
Mr. DIMMICK desired to say that his constituents claimed no protection under the Constitution of California, which was not guarantied to them by the treaty of peace.
The question being then taken on the first part of Mr. Gilbert's proposition, the result was as follows:
Yeas-Messrs. Aram, Botts, Crosby, Dent, Dimmick, Ellis, Gwin, Gilbert, Hoppe, Hobson, Halleck, Hastings, Hollingsworth, Jones, Larkin, Lippencott, Moore, McCarver, Norton, Ord, Price, Sutter, Snyder, Sherwood, Shannon, Semple, Vallejo, Wozencraft—28. Nays-Messrs. Foster, Hill, Reid, Stearns, Pico, Tefft, Carillo, Rodriguez—8.
The question as to there being a quorum present having arisen, and being decided in the negative by the President,
On motion of Mr. Dent, the Convention took a recess for half an hour.
AFTERNOON SESSION, 2 O'CLOCK, P. M. The Convention met pursuant to adjournment.
The CHAIR remarked that it was desirable to have some known and settled rules for the government of the House. It was not practicable for each member to determine at any time which was the best rule. The House should establish proper regulations, and abide by them. It was true, it had been irregu. larly organized. The Territory of California was obtained from another government, differing very materially from ours. We were to make something out of nothing; to construct organization and form out of chaos. The object was to produce a good fundamental system of laws; and to accomplish this it was absolutely necessary to adopt some fixed rule of action. All business should be suspended until the house was properly organized. It was now in confusion. By an act of the Convention, it would seem that the number of members was fixed at seventythree; thirty-eight would, therefore, be necessary to form a quorum. It would be