Slike strani

Mr. Tefft doubted' very much whether there was any gentleman on this floor more anxious than he was to maintain good order and friendly relations between the members. He insisted upon it that he had not now transgressed that princi. ple. He had borne many reflections upon his native State ; but he had always kept his seat, in deference to those who were older and more experienced, and whose views he desired to hear in preference to giving his own. In calling the attention of the House to the remarks of the member from San Joaquin, he did not conceive that he had gone beyond the legitimate bounds of debate. If it was the opinion of the House that he had done so, he would cheerfully apologize to the House, but not to the gentleman, who, he conceived had impugned the motives of the Committee. If it was not the intention of that gentleman to impugn the motives of the Committee, then, of course, the offensive quotation was not applicable to him.

Mr. Jones asked if it was possible that he, as a member from San Joaquin, in opposing the principle of allowing smaller districts an equal vote with his own in the formation of this Constitution, should be considered as impugning the motives of any person, or insulting any committee? Was it possible that the right of speech was so far prohibited on this floor, that he could not advocate the principle incorporated in the bill of rights without having it said that he was impugning the motives of the members of this House who did not happen to represent so large a population as he did ? It was upon the broad principle that the represen. tation here should be according to population, that he had based his remarks; and he had said what he believed to be true, and what he must believe to be true until convinced to the contrary. It had been said upon the ftoor of this House, and out

of the House, that members of this Committee had been called

upon to sustain by

their votes the reports of the Committee. If such was the case, and he believed it to be true, were the people of San Joaquin to be told that they had no right to protest against such a principle as this? He considered it to be one of their first rights, that they should not be cheated out of their representation in the Conven. tion. He would not say that it was intended by the appointment of this Commit. tee to do this, but he maintained that no course should be adopted in the House which would have that effect. He conceived that he had not done injustice to the Committee, because, if fault there was, the whole tenor of his remarks was to attribute the fault to the Convention. He did not consider that he had injured the feelings of any gentleman on that Committee. If there was any member who, perhaps, had a right to feel himself aggrieved, it was the gentleman from Sacramento, (Mr. Shannon,) but he (Mr. S.) was too much of a gentleman to rise in his place and

Mr. Botts here called the gentleman from San Joaquin to order.

The PRESIDENT stated that he had seen with deep regret the effect of some very trivial disorders. He had heard the Committee on the Constitution spoken of in various ways. Sometimes it had been called the mammoth committee, which was by no means a respectful term ; sometimes, the almighty committee, an equally disrespectful term ; and various other epithets of opprobrium had been applied to it. Under the impression that the members of this body had too a high a res. pect for themselves to cast such reflections upon the Committee as would give offence, the Chair was disposed to allow the fullest liberty of speech, not incompatible with the dignity of the House. He regarded these remarks as made in a spirit of pleasantry, and with no intention of giving offence. But it was now evi. dent that too much liberty had been taken with the Committee, and he hoped that both the gentlemen (Messrs. Jones and Tefft) would follow the example of the gentleman from Monterey, and apologize to the House.

Mr. Borts objected to this view of the matter. He had never apologized to the House for having called this a mammoth committee; but if the House said that there was anything personal in calling it a mammoth committee, he would amply apologize now.

The CHAIR did not think it was personal.

Mr. SHERWOOD said that, in regard to the difficulty before the House, it seemed to him it could be adjusted in the simplest way imaginable. If the gentleman from San Joaquin did not intend to impugn the motives of the Committee, he has liberty lo make that statement to the House. The gentleman from San Luis Obis. ро

would undoubtedly meet it by the withdrawal of the offensive remarks.

Mr. Gwin. The gentleman from San Joaquin, as he conceives, has been gross. ly insulted by the gentleman from San Luis Obispo. Is he to get up here and make an apology before that insult is withdrawn? It is the duty of the House to make these members settle the difficultý here. There should be no after settlement out of doors—no bloodshed resulting from what has transpired.

The ma. jesty and the power of the House should be brought to bear upon this case, and it should be settled before these gentlemen are permitted to leave their seats.

The Chair was of opinion that the gentleman from San Louis Opispo had apologized to the House.

Mr. Gwin said an apology to the House was not an apology to the gentleman who conceived himself insulted,

Mr. LIPPETT concurred with his friend from Sacramento (Mr. Sherwood.) He did not see any difficulty in regard to this matter. The member from San Luis Opispo has already stated to the House that the occasion of his making the offensive remarks was his understanding that the Committee to which he belongedhad been attacked, and the motives of the members impugned by what fell from the gentleman from San Joaquin. The object, therefore, of the offensive remarks, was to throw back this imputation. Now, it certainly does not appear that there was any intention on the part of the gentleman from San Joaquin to cast any reflection upon the motives of that Committee. It would be a very simple matter then, for the gentleman from San Luis Obispo to state distinctly and formally to the House, that if the gentleman from San Joaquin did not intend, by anything he said, to impugn the motives of the Committee, he would withdraw his remarks.

The gentleman from San Joaquin makes that statement; the gentleman withdraws his remarks, and the whole difficulty is settled.

Mr. WOZENCRAFT remarked, that the gentleman from San Joaquin had already denied having intended any personal remarks to the Committee. It was not necessary to call upon him again.

Mr. Moore hoped his friend (Mr. Jones) would not require any apology here. If there was any misunderstanding let it be settled out of doors. He (Mr. Moore) would not trouble the House, if insulted, by asking any apology here.

Mr. Gwin said it was for that very reason he wanted it settled here. In all deliberative bodies, when a difficulty occurred, it was usual to close the doors. Having had some little experience in legislative bodies, he knew the importance of settling questions of this kind before they were permitted to go beyond the House. Another thing he wished to protest against, and that was, the sacredness of committees. He desired that there should be unlimited debate on all ques. tions. This mammoth Committee was able to defend itself. But personalities should be avoided.

Mr. Sherwood thought this matter might easily be settled in the mode indica. ted. He desired that it should not be permitted to go out of the House. He trusted that withont further words the gentleman from San Joaquin would state exactly what he intended by his remarks.

The CHair said the gentleman had already made that statement.

Mr. Gwin then moved that the gentleman from San Luis Obispo be required to withdraw the offensive words.

Mr. TEFFT said it was strange that he should be called upon to apologize to the gentleman, after having explained the motive which actuated him in using those words. If the gentleman from San Joaquin did not impugn the motives of the Committee, then the quotation had no bearing upon him. It was only applied to him on that ground.

Mr. Lippert moved that the House receive this statement as satisfactory.

Mr. PRICE wished to know before this vote was taken, whether this reconcilia. tion was entirely satisfactory to these gentlemen-whether there was anything left upon their minds for an outdoor settlement. He had not yet heard distinctly the perfect withdrawal of the offensive words, and the perfect acceptance of such withdrawal hy the other gentleman,

Mr. Jones said the gentleman had apologized to the House, but not to him. He did not take that as an apology.

Mr. HALLECK remarked, that when the words were read as originally stated, the gentleman from San Luis Obispo had disclaimed applying them to the gentleman from San Joaquin, if that gentleman did not impugn the motives of the Committee. As he (Mr. Jones) disclaimed having made this imputation, then the offensive words were clearly withdrawn, and the difficulty was settled.

Mr. GWIN wished to know if the withdrawal of the remarks was satisfactory to the gentleman from San Joaquin. [Mr. Jones said it was.] He wished to know elso, if the statement of the gentleman from San Joaquin, that he intended no personal imputation on the motives of the Committee, was satisfactory to the gentleman from San Luis Obispo? [Mr. Tefft replied that it was.] He (Mr. Gwin) then moved that the reconciliation be accepted by the House, which motion was adopted, and the difficulty was thus amicably adjusted.

The question then recurring on the resolution of Mr. McCarver

Mr. BOTTs said he would vote against it. The apportionment was, to his mind, one of the most important features of the Constitution. It was well known that he was opposed to the original formation of the Committee of twenty. (He hoped there was nothing personal in that.) But since it had been the pleasure of the House to form that Committee, he did not see how any portion of its work could, with propriety, be taken out of its hands. He voted for the provision a few days since, that representation should be according to population. He conceived that in doing so, he was giving instructions to this very Committee, to apportion the representation of this State upon that principle. It had been well objected here, that it is utterly impossible that this single portion of the forming of the Constitution can be taken out of the whole and submitted to the action of a separate committee, whilst so much depending upon it is in the hands of another. This is a portion that inost requires concert and co-operation. He hoped it would not be the pleasure of the House to adopt the resulution.

The question was then taken, and the resolution was rejected.

Mr. Norton, from a majority of the Committee on the Constitution, made a report, which was received and referred to the Committee of the Whole.

Mr. Gwin made a minority report from the same committee, which was receive ed and referred to the same committee.


The House then resolved itself into Committee of the Whole, Mr. LIPPETT in the Chair, on so much of the report of the Committee on the Constitution as re. lates to the right of suffrage.

The first section of the report of the Committee being under consideration, as follows:

Sec. 1. Every white male citizen of the United States, of the age of twenty-one years, who sball have been a resident of the State six months next preceding the election, and the county, in which he claims his vote twenty days, shall be entitled to vote at all elections which are now, or hereafter may be, authorized by law.

Mr. GILBERT moved to amend as follows: After the words “United States," and before the word “of,” insert, “and every male citizen of Mexico, who shall have elected to become a citizen of the United States, under the treaty of peace, exchanged and ratified at Queretaro, on the 30th day of May, 1848.”


Mr. GILBERT said he would read from the Treaty of Peace, a couple of sections which explained in full the reasons which induced hiin to offer the amendment :

ART. VIII. Mexicans now established in territories previously belonging to Mexico, and which remain for the future within the limits of the United States, as defined by the present treaty, shall be free to continue where they now reside, or to remove at any time to the Mexican Republic, retaining the property which they possess in the said territories, or disposing thereof, and removing the proceeds wherever they please, without being subjected, on this account, to any contribution, tax, or charge whatever.

Those who shall prefer to remain in the said territories, may either retain the title and rights of Mexican citizens, or acquire those of citizens of the United States. But they shall be under obligation to make their election within one year from the date of the exchange of ratifications of this treaty; and those who shall remain in the said territories after the expiration of that year, without having declared their intention to retain the character of Mexicans, shall be considered to have elected to become citizens of the United States.

In the said territories, property of every kind, now belonging to Mexicans not established there, shall be inviolably respected. The present owners, the heirs of these, and all Mexicans who may hereafter acquire said property by contract, shall enjoy, with respect to it, guaranties equally ample as if the same belonged to citizens of the United States.

Art. IX. 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.

It seemed to him (Mr. Gilbert) that the section, as reported by the Committee, providing that “every white male citizen of the United States shall be entitled to the elective franchise," did not cover the whole ground. We wish to give every Mexican Citizen residing in California, who becomes a citizen of the United States, the free right to vote. Under the 9th article of the treaty it would seem that they are not in fact American citizens, but require some further action of Congress to make them citizens of the United States. That article says : “shall be incorporated into the union of the United States, and be admitted at the proper time, (10 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.” If the Congress of the United States had done its duty to this country, it would have passed a law at the last session, admitting these citizens to all the powers and privileges of citizens of the United States. But, as it failed to do so, he (Mr. Gilbert) deemed it absolutely essential, in order to prevent any difficulty, that the amendment which he offered should be inserted in this clause. The meaning of the word " white," in the report of the Committee, was not generally understood in this country, though well understood in the United States; but that objection would be removed by the adoption of his amendment.

Mr. Botrs said he had risen almost at the same time with his friend from San Francisco (Mr. Gilbert) to offer an amendment nearly, but not quite, indentical with that proposed by him. It was clear that by the adoption of the clause re. ported by the Committee, citizens of Mexico would be excluded from voting before they were made citizens of the United States by the Congress of the United States. His amendment was to insert the word "white" before 6 male citizens of Mexico."

Mr. Norton said he was instructed by the Committee to introduce an amend. ment to the first section. The reason why he did not do so, was because the amendment of Mr. Gilbert seemed to him to accomplish the object. He would read the amendment: after the words “United States,” and before the word “of," to insert the words, “and every person who was a citizen of California after the 1st of May, 1848.”

Mr. Botrs said that the Committee had made a report ; they could not order it to be altered. If any amendment was made to it, it must be made by the gentle. man himself, (Mr. Norton.) He (Mr. Botts) wanted to come to the main princi. ple—that unless provision is made for these persons the clause does not admit them. The gentleman from San Francisco (Mr. Gilbert) had left out an exceedingly important word. He (Mr. Botts) proposed to amend the amendment by inserting the word “white” before the words “male citizen of Mexico.” He hoped it would be the will of the House that no citizens of the United States should be admitted to the elective franchise but white citizens. All he asked was that citi. zens of Mexico who had become citizens of the United States should be placed upon the same footing with ourselves ; that white citizens alone should be admit. ted to the right of suffrage. He was sure there would not be any objection on their part to this course.

Mr. NORIEGO desired that it should be perfectly understood in the first place, what is the true signification of the word "white.” Many citizens of California have received from nature a very dark skin; nevertheless, there are among them men who have heretofore been allowed to vote, and not only that, but to fill the highest public offices. It would be very unjust to deprive them of the privilege of citizens merely because nature had not made them white. But if, by the word " white," it was intended to exclude the African race, then it was correct and satisfactory.

Mr. Botts had no objection to color, except so far as it indicated the inferior races of mankind. He would be perfectly willing to use any words which would exclude the African and Indian races. t was in this sense the word white had been understood and used. His only object was to exclude those objectionable races—not objectionable for their color, but for what that color indicates.

Mr. GILBERT hoped the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Monterey (Mr. Botts) would not prevail. He was confident that if the word " white” was introduced, it would produce great difficulty. The treaty has said that Mexican citizens, upon becoming citizens of the United States, shall be entitled to the rights and privileges of American citizens. It does not say whether those citi. zens are white or black, and we have no right to make the distinction. If they be Mexican citizens, it is sufficient; they are entitled to the rights and privileges of American citizens. No act of this kind could, therefore, have any effect. The treaty is above and superior to it.

Mr. Gwin would like to know from some gentleman acquainted with Mexican law, whether Indians and negroes are entitled to the privileges of citizenship un. der the Mexican Government.

Mr. NORIEGO understood the gentleman from Monterey (Mr. Botts) to say that Indians were not allowed to vote according to Mexican law.

Mr. Borts said that, on the contrary, it was because he believed they were, that the had offered the amendment. He wished to exclude them from voting.

Mr. Gwin asked the gentleman from Santa Barbara (Mr. Noriego) whether Indians and Africans were entitled to vote according to Mexican law.

Mr. Noriego said that, according to Mexican law, no race of any kind is excluded from voting.

Mr. GWIN wished to know if Indians were considered Mexican citizens ?

Mr. Noriego said that so far were they considered citizens, that some of the first men in the Republic were of the Indian race.

Mr. Gwin had learned from the gentleman from Santa Barbara (Mr. Stearns) that there were twenty thousand Indians in Mexico. He wished to know whe. ther these twenty thousand Indians were allowed to vote ?

Mr. Foster said that, according to Mexican law, very few of the Indian race were admitted to the right of suffrage. They are restricted by some property quali. fication, or by occupation or mode of livelihood. But they are considered Mexi. can citizens according to the Constitution.

Mr. Hastings remarked that if, by the treaty of peace, these persons are all entitled to vote, they could not be excluded by this Convention from the enjoy. ment of that right. If they are not entitled to vote according to Mexican law, and hence according to the treaty, we should not allow them to vote. It would

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