Slike strani
PDF
ePub

base a calculation for the support of this government; but I have heard none, nor have I heard any very strong argument in favor of the adoption of the ordinance, except that it is found in the Constitution of Michigan. After the violent objections that the gentleman made to the reports of the Select Committee, because of the free use they made of the Cons:itution of New York, I hardly expected to be told that this ordinance was specially recommended to our consideration because it had been adopted by Michigan and other new States. I think, however, sir, that in looking at the article already adopted on the subject of education, that the House will find itself in some difficulty in adopting this. That article carries with it no meaning at all, or a palpable inconsistency; a distinct and absolute appropriation of all the proceeds of all the unsold lands of the State ; and then comes the proviso, which, if it means anything, is in conflict with the inviolable pledge already adopted.

Mr. Jones. That proviso has been stricken out.

Mr. Borts. It seems to me that the fact that it was stricken out is a still greater reason against the adoption of this ordinance. It proposes to do something else with the proceeds of the public lands than what the constitution provides. I am opposed to the whole ordinance, for it amounts, in my view, to a dictation to Con. gress to pass a law; it is a proposition that this Convention shall prescribe a law which the Congress of the United States shall adopt. It seems to me that such a recommendation would come much better from the Legislature, which is the legitimate and customary source of all such action. But if this is to be adopted at all, hastily passing my eye over the 6th section, I see a difficulty which I hope will be remedied. It reads :

The first Senators and Representatives elected to Congress from this State are hereby authorised and empowered to make, or assent to, such other propositions, or to such .variations of the propopositions herein made, as the interests of the State may require; and any such changes, when approved by the Legislature, shall be as obligatory as if the assent of this Convention were given thereto ; and all stipulations entered into by the Legislature, in pursuance of the authority herein conferred, shall be considered articles of compact between the United States and this State ; and the Legislature is hereby further authorised to declare in behalf of the people of California, if such declaration be proposed by Congress, that they will not interfere with the primary disposal, under the authority of the United States, of the vacant lands within the limits of this state.

Then the Congress of the United States and our honorable Representatives in Congress, and our Legislature, may together make us a new Constitution. This only shows that although a thing may be in the constitution of Michigan or New York, it may be faulty; and as we have so many gentlemen here who no doubt were very able at home to make these constitutions, both for Michigan and New York, I see no reason at all why we may not correct the errors into which they have fallen, or their forefathers. I propose to amend this section so far as to dispossess these gentlemen of the power to make or unmake a constitution for us. We have absolutely prohibited a majority of our own people from altering it at their polls. You remember how hard I contended on this floor for that power; but I did not succeed. I object to the two-third principle; the majority were however, by the Select Committee, denied the right to alter this Constitution. But now, sir, the Legislature, two Senators, and the Congress of the United States may change this Constitution. I have not had time to examine the rest of this ordinance in detail, but I am afraid there may be equally objectionable provisions in the other sections. I therefore propose that the Legislature shall take the subject in hand, and if any. such action on the part of Congress is needed for this State, that the Legislature shall take such action as is necessary upon it. I move the indefinite postpone. ment of the ordinance.

Mr. McCARVER. I have exactly the same objection that the gentleman (Mr. Botts) has; and only to that section. It is to me a most serious objection. We have already fixed a plan by which the constitution shall be altered, and now it is. proposed to adopt a different plan. Our boundary lines may be altered under that provision, with barely the sanction of the members of Congress and the Legisla.

ture of this State, without even consulting the of the constitution on that sub.

that it ject. We are opening a door to Congress to make various propositions. The reasons why such a provision was adopted in the constitution of Michigan were very obvious, and if we had left open this boundary question it might have been done here. In Michigan there was a difficulty, as to the extent of her territory, between that State and Ohio, and it was presupposed that the Congress of the United States was going to make some proposition to give her the disputed terri. tory. It does not apply to California in any way, and should not be considered here. li se

guito to Mr. SHERWOOD. I am in favor of the proposition, and I regret that my friend from Monterey, (Mr. Botts,) who is opposed to almost everything, should have made objections to a portion of the proposition, the propriety of which I think is evident to all. The gentleman objects to the power given to the Representatives of the State of California in the Senate and Lower House to make a different arrangement with Congress; to accede to a different proposition from what is offered. The ordinance which was passed in Michigan was passed not by the Legislature but by the Convention that framed its organic law. It claimed so much land from Congress; it asked Congress to concede so much; it did not say that they should not grant more. The result was that they obtained what they asked; and the object of passing this ordinance is to place something before Congress expressive of our wishes as a State as to what we should receive of the public domain. Now suppose Congress should grant us the seventy-two sections, as she did to Micbigan, and the sections for school lands, and any portion of the public lands

for the capital of the State, which everybody knows must cost several hundred · thousand dollars ; suppose the majority in Congress should say, we are perfectly willing to grant an additional five hundred thousand acres of land; the very proposition that the gentleman objects to is, that the Representatives of California shall be authorized to receive this additional grant. I say, if Congress should grant us more than the additional half million, let our Representatives receive it. We are not there as a body in Convention ; we cannot negotiate with Congress; it is a matter of negotiation, and every one knows who knows anything about legisla. tion, either in this body or a legislative body, that propositions come up different from anything that can be foreseen. Any proposition before a body which may be much more acceptable to the people of California than any we may here pre. sent to Congress, it is our desire to accept, and for this purpose we introduce this provision; but suppose, on the other hand, that Congress were willing to grant us four hundred thousand instead of five hundred thousand acres of land, should we not grant the power to our Representatives to conform to the wishes of Con. gress ? Shall we say that we will take five hundred thousand acres, and not half an acre more or less? If the people, represented in the Legislature, elect two Senators; if the people by their vote elect two Representatives to the lower branch of Congress, shall we not trust them? That is the point. If you confine them to one specific quantity of land and they cannot get it, you do not, unless you pass this provision, give them any power to take anything. If Congress is willing to give us three or four hundred thousand

you reject the grant, and you do the same if they are willing to give us more, it is a discretionary power that should be left to our Senators and Representatives, and to them only; for they are the only Representatives of the free people of California in Congress, and after we have elected them we should trust them in regard to any gifts that the National Legislature should wish to grant to us.

Mr. McCARVER. I am extremely sorry to see my colleague (Mr. Sherwood) take a position which seems to me so absurd. It is singular that any gentleman should question the right of the Government of the United States to make this donation to the people of California, without its being received in this way; or that the Legislature should not have power to acquiesce in it. It is done in many

[graphic]

of the States. Congress appropriates it in whatever way they think proper. It is just as absurd as to say that I could not receive a gift that the gentleman would tender me. The Legislature is competent to receive anything that the Congress of the United States may give to the State. It is a right that the representatives of the people possess without any constitutional authority. I am afraid the friends of the large boundary are trying to get that measure through in ano. ther'shape.

Mr. SHERWOOD. I am very sorry that the phantom of the boundary should trouble the gentleman, I think that matter is pretty well setiled here. Nothing of the kind ever entered my head. I admit that Congress has the right, if we do not say a word, to grant us what they please ; but all men who hear me know that Congress is very apt to regard the wishes of the people of the State rather than the wishes of one Representative in Congress, who may bring in a bill upon a certain subject. If the gentleman himself was in Congress, and was to intro. duce a bill to grant us a half million, you would find fifty objections made ; but if be brought in an ordinance adopted by the people through their Convention, Con. gress would listen to it. We are willing to receive all we can get. Our Representativés may go there, without any wish expressed by this Convention or by the people, and say that we do not want any addition to the five hundred thousand acres granted by the law of 1841. It is for us to say that we require or ask more; and for this purpose we instruct our Représentatives to make known through this ordinance our wish ; and if Congress is willing to grant more, we give them the power to receive it. Other States have come into the Union without any such ordinance, and they have never got as much as Michigan did. Let us ask to receive this additional grant, and ask it in such a manner that our request will have the greatest weight. It does not prevent Congress from granting the whole of the public lands to us if they think proper. Besides in this ordinance, if they get five hundred thousand acres in addition to the five hundred thousand granted under the law of 1841, without any proviso, it allows the State to select these lands ; to locate them in the mining districts-giving the State the choice of selection. Inasmuch as, under the article upon education, we appropriate all that to the support of schools, we certainly ought to have something for the support of Government. We might then sustain our State Government partially at least, from these mineral lands, or from a tas imposed upon those who extract gold from these mineral lands.

Mr. Jones. I do not profess to be very profoundly versed in this question, and I shall not say a great deal about it; but I should be at a loss to account for the many objections that have been raised to what I conceive to be a plain proposi. tion, if it were not for certain writings that I saw at the front door as I came in ; and it strikes me that as there is to be a meeting of certain gentlemen, perhaps of the whole Convention-for å purpose about which we all know something, that there may be a little advantage gained in the race. As I want to go before the people with a fair face, I do not want to vote against a proposition which I con. sider so reasonable, so just, and necessary as this. We are told as a great ob. jection to this proposition, that Michigan claimed the same thing and got it. I consider that a recommendation. If we have the precedent in Congress of the successful action of Michigan, it is surely a strong argument in favor of our adopting the same policy. I do not think our own originality here would be any great recommendation in Congress. I believe we could originate here as well as they could in Michigan; but as long as we have a successful precedent, I think we had better follow it. That article as to the lands granted by Congress for the purpose of education, should be held sacred for that purpose, and the rents should also be applied to the same purpose. We do not talk here of revenues or rents ; we talk of a specific appropriation by Congress for a specific purpose. I do not see a word in this constitution against it. But we are told that Congress and our Re. presentatives, together with the Legislature, are given, by this ordinance, the power to alter the constitution. Here is an ordinance for a particular purpose. It gives a power merely to accept an appropriation. The Legislature might open the boundary, gentlemen say. Why, sir, gentlemen seem to be afraid of ghosts. One gentleman thinks that the Legislature ought to go before Congress with its petition. Sir, we want it now; it is always demanded and granted upon the ad. mission of a State ; it is most properly demanded by the constitution which demands the admission of the State. We have just as much right to present this matter for the action of Congress as a majority of the Legislature. But we have rendered absolutely necessary some action of this sort by the very act of this convention in giving up the whole revenue from the school lands. We must go before Congress with a demand for revenue from additional lands, otherwise we may be scarcely able to bear the expenses of government. I must say, finally, that I have seen nothing more proper presented to this body than these resolutions. I go for them heart and hand." If I were one of these gentlemen who oppose such a measure, I should hesitate to go before the people on the yeas

and

nays. Mr. SHANNON. I move as an amendment, to strike out the last section. I do it for these reasons : It seems that there is considerable objection to this section on account of the possibility of its interference with Congress and the boundary question, as established by this Convention. Grant that it is so, and I think, since my attention has been called to it, that it may be so. It appears to me that the reading of that section conveys a most distinct and separate idea. Probably from the imperfection of the language used, it may be that the whole section refers to those which precede ; but is that be so, then the language used, does not convey the true meaning of the section. It refers to some other sections beyond it con. tained in the body of the ordinance. The reference is most decided and direct ; and most surely I do not wish, nor do I think any member wishes that any thing contained in an informal instrument appended to this constitution, should conflict with its provisions, which we have here so deliberately and unanimously passed. Either one thing or the other is certain ; if it has no reference to any thing with. out or beyond that contained within the ordinance, then the wording is most in. correct and improper. If it is so, I think it should be striken out. Moreover, if we wish any of the benefits to be accrued from this ordinance, those benefits are to be obtained by every section and part of the ordinance preceding this section.

Mr. HASTINGS. I would sustain the motion made by my colleague to strike out the entire section. I will read the section. The word “other” applies to any thing at all; whether it is conducive to the interest of the State or not, is left entirely to the judgment of our Representatives in Congress.

Mr. SHERWOOD. To save all discussion on this subject, I will move to insert “such other propositions touching this ordinance."

Mr. HASTINGS. It appears to me that this is too general, and leaves an unlimited power to our Representatives in Congress. I would suggest, "not incon. sistent with this constitution.”

Mr. Gwin. If we do not retain something of this kind in the ordinance, we may be kept out until the people assemble in Convention and pass a new provision.

Mr. SHANNON then moved to strike out of the 6th section the clause " to such other propositions or” which Mr. Gwin accepted, and thus amended, the ordi. nance was passed.

Mr. Jones called for the consideration of the resolution submitted by him on the 9th instant; which being taken up, and the yeas and nays ordered thereon, it was rejected, as follows:

YEAs.—Messrs. Aram, Brown, Crosby, Dent, Gilbert, Hoppe, Hollingsworth, Jones, Larkin, Moore, McCarver, McDougal, Pedrorena, Sherwood, Steuart, Vermeule, Walker, Wozencraft-16.

Nays.-Messrs. Botts, Dimmick, Dominguez, Ellis, Gwin, Hill, Hobson, Halleck, Hastings, Lippincott, Norton, Ord, Price, Sutter, Snyder, Shannon, Stearns, Tefft, President—21.

On motion of Mr. SHERWOOD, the report of the Committee on the Census was taken

up,

vizi

The committee to whom was referred the subject of taking an enumeration of the inhabitants of

California, under the instructions of the Convention, beg leave to report :

It is a fact well known to all, that there are no statistics to which we can refer in order to determine the number of inhabitants in this Territory. Such has been the immense imigration to this country by sea and land within the past six months, that no man can obtain a basis upon which to estimate the number. The North and the South, the East and the West, the Old and the New Worlds have been sending their thousands of enterprising and industrious men into California. We cannot doubt that the present population (exclusive of Indians) amounts to 80,000. We are aware that the number has been placed higher, by many intelligent men, well acquainted with the various districts into which the tide has flown. At all events we hazard nothing in saying that on the 1st of January next the population may be set down at 100,000. But after all, when this State applies for admission into the Federal Union, it may be said that this is mere conjecture, and those who are called upon to vote for our admission, may demand better evidence than our opinions on this subject. In order to prevent delay, and secure at once a State Government capable of giving security to our persons and property, it is in our opinion necessary that steps should be taken to have immediately the census taken. Our Representatives at Washington will then be armed with official evidence of our right to ask admission into the Union.

Your Committee, entertaining these opinions, recommend that an enumeration be taken of the inhabitants of California, specifying :

1st. Number of white Males over the age of 21 years.
2d.
Females

18
3d.

Males under 21
4th.
Females

18 To effect this object as speedily as possible your Committee recommend the appointment of a Marshal, who shall have power to select deputies, who shall proceed at as early a day as possible to take the census, and report to the first session of the Legislature. 2d. That there be allowed to the said Marshal the sum of

dollars per day for each day actually employed, and his necessary traveling expenses.

3d. That the deputies appointed by the Marshal shall receive for their salaries cents for each name returned by them on their separate rolls.

4th. That said Marshal and his deputies shall, before entering on the duties of their offices, subscribe an oath before some competent authority to discharge their duties faithfully, and make a true and accurate report of the population of the respective districts assigned to them.

(Signed) B. F. MOORE, Chairman. Mr. STEUART moved that the report be indefinitely postponed. The motion was decided in the affirmative.

Mr. Shannon moved to take up the report of the Committee of Ways and Means, but the motion was decided in the negative.

Mr. Hill moved that the Convention adjourn until Saturday at 10 o'clock, but the motion was decided in the negative, by yeas and nays, as follows:

Yeas.—Messrs. Gilbert, Hill, Tefft-3.

Nars.-Messrs. Aram, Botts, Brown, Covarrubias, Crosby, Dent, Dimmick, Ellis, Gwin, Hoppe, Hobson, Halleck, Hastings, Jones, Larkin, Lippincott, Moore, McDougal, Norton, Ord, Pedrorena, Price, Rodriguez, Sutter, Snyder, Sherwood, Shannon, Stearns, Steuart, Walker—30.

On motion, the Convention then adjourned until 10 o'clock, A. M., to.morrow.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12, 1849.

The Convention met pursuant to adjournment.
Journal of yesterday read and approved.

Mr. Norton submitted the following resolution, which was unanimously adopted, viz:

Resolved, That the thanks of this Convention be presented to the Honorable Robert Semple, for the faithful and impartial manner in which he has discharged the arduous and responsible duties of the Chair ; and that in retiring therefrom he carries with him the best wishes of this Convention.

On motion of Mr. Ellis, it was unanimously

Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to transmit a copy of the Constitution of the State of California to General Riley, acting Governor of California, with an accompanying letter signed by the President of this body, requesting the Governor to forward the same to the President of the United States by the earliest opportunity.

The Chair appointed Messrs, Ellis, Hastings, and McCarver as such committee.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »