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PROCEEDINGS OF THE CONVENTION.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 1849. In pursuance of Gov. Riley's Proclamation of the 3d of June last, the Con. vention for forming a State Canstitution for California, met in Colton Hall, in the town of Monterey, at 12 M. on Saturday, the 1st of September, 1849.
The following Delegates appeared and took their seats, viz :
District of San Jose.-Kimball H. Dimmick, J. D. Hoppe, Joseph Aram, Antonio M. Pico.
District of Monterey.-H. Wager Halleck, Thos. O. Larkin.
On motion of Mr. HALLECK, Kimball H. Dimmick, Esq., was appointed Chair. man, pro tempore.
On motion of Mr. DIMMICK, Henry A. Teffi, Esq., was appointed Secretary, pro tempore.
Whereupon, it appearing that a quorum was not present, on motion of Mr. HalLECK, the Convention adjourned to meet again on Monday, September 3, 1849, at 12 M.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 1849.
The Convention met pursuant to adjournment. Prayer by the Rev. S. H. Willey. The minutes of Saturday's meeting were read and approved.
The Chair announced the receipt of a communication from the Governor, through the Secretary of State, transmitting the election returns from the various Districts of California, together with the names of the Delegates elected. The communication was read by the Secretary of the Convention, as follows:
STATE DEPARTMENT OF CALIFORNIA,
1849.} Hon. K. H. Dimmick, Chairman of the Convention :
SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith by direction of the Governor, all the returns which have been received up to this date, of the election of delegates in the several districts for the general Convention. These papers are numbered from 1 to 51 inclusive. As they are originals, and contain the vote for district and town officers, as well as for delegates to the Convention, it is hoped that they will be preserved with care, and returned to this office as soon as your honorable body shall have completed its organization.
It appears from the returns that the following regular delegates are elected from the several districts, viz :
From San Diego.—Miguel de Pedrorena, Henry Hill.
San Joaquin.-It appears from the returns from this district, that in the town of Stockton, (for reasons stated in the report of the Judges and Inspectors of election) the election was held on the 16th instead of the 1st of August. Counting all the votes polled in the district, including the town of Stockton, it appears that the four delegates elected are, J. M. Hollingsworth, S. Haley, B. S. Lippincott, C. L. Peck.
But if only the votes polled on the 1st of August are to be counted, i. e., if the vote of Stockton be excluded, the four delegates elected are, J. M. Hollingsworth, S. L. Vermuile, M. Fallon, B.
Moore. This question is left for the decision of your honorable body, which is deemed the proper judge of the election returns and qualifications of its own members.
As the relative population of the several districts has materially changed since the issuing of the proclamation of June 3d, calling for the election of delegates to this Convention, the Governor would respectfully recommend that additional delegates be received from some of the larger and more populous districts. It should, however, be remeinbered, that, at the time of holding the election, (on the 1st day of August last,) many of the legal voters were absent from the middle and southern portions of the country; so that the number of votes actually polled, will not serve as a perfect criterion by which to judge of the true relative population of the different districts. It is hoped that, by mutual concessions, all these questions may be amicably arranged, and that a spirit of harmony and good will may prevail in your councils. You have an important work before you, the laying of the corner stone of the State structure ; and the stability of the edifice will depend upon the character of the foundation which you may establish. Your materials are good ; let it never be said that the builders lacked skill in putting them together! By order of the Governor :
H. W. HALLECK,
Brevet Capt. and Secretary of State. THE CHAIR stated that there appeared to be a question as to the regularly elected delegates from the District of San Joaquin. It would be for the Conven. tion to decide who were the members elected.
MR. SEMPLE observed that he would offer, as soon as he could put it in writing, a resolution accepting the whole vote of the district, and admitting the four dele. gates having the highest number of votes. From the best information he could collect, he understood it to be a very fair and full election, notwithstanding it had been postponed from the day first designated, to a later period. He presumed the principal object in view was, that the mass of the people should be fully and fairly represented in this Convention; and he trusted the House would pursue the most liberal course in admitting the additional members.
MR. Gwin asked if the gentleman (Mr. Semple,) would introduce his motion in writing. He had an amendment to offer.
MR. SEMPLE then submitted the following resolution :
Resolved, That the whole vote from the San Joaquin District be received, and the members elect be invited to take their seats.
MR. GWIN would move an amendment to the resolution. To admit all of the members now present from the San Joaquin District, without contest as to the number of votes cast, or where they were cast. He considered that the district was entitled to a much larger representation than the number now here claiming seats. He considered it nothing but an act of justice that the the District of San Joaquin should be fully and fairly represented in the original organization of this body; and he contended that every member who had received a respectable num. ber of votes, was entitled to a seat in the Convention. San Joaquin was clearly entitled to ten members. If there were not ten other persons voted for, who had received more votes, these members were duly elected by the people, and had a right to participate in the organization of the Convention. He was authorized to say that the returns presented to the House were not correct—that a full statement of the vote polled, had not reached the Secretary of State.
MR. HALLÈCK was opposed to both the resolution and amendment. He thought the difficulty might be obviated by the appointment of a committee of one delegate from each district, with authority to report to the Convention the number of dele. gates regularly elected in each district, and the names of the persons entitled to seats. It was quite probable complete returns had not been received. Additional returns to the Secretary's office might possibly come in during the day. The only
data upon which the Governor could base his estimate, were the returns themselves. The committee could meantime examine into those already received, and be prepared to report at the next meeting of the Convention.
Mr. Borts was of opinion that the first question in the meeting of a Convention was, as to the certificates of election. What certificate of election had been pre. sented here? He presumed none that could be so called, except the official communication of the Governor, which states that certain gentlemen, naming them, have been duly elected according to the official returns. These gentlemen, and these only, have a prima facia right to sit in this body. He was very unwilling, during the pendancy of this question, to admit any others than the members so designated.' He hoped all the facts in relation to the postponement of the election and the grounds upon which these gentlemen claimed seats, would be placed in possession of the House, and that for this purpose, a committee on privileges and elections would be appointed.
Mr. Gwin then submitted his amendment to Mr. Semple's, as follows :
Resolved, That all persons present who were vo'ed for on the 1st and 16th of August, in the San Joaquin District, as members of this Convention, be admitted to seats.
Mr. HALLECK said that his colleague (Mr. Botts,) had suggested an amendment to the amendment proposed by him, having in view the appointment of a committee on privileges and elections. With the permission of that gentleman, he would introduce the following as a substitute for the original amendment:
Resolved, That a committee on privileges and elections, to consist of one member from each district, be appointed by the Chair, and that they report to this Convention this day, the number of delegates which, in their opinion, ought to be received from each district, and the names of the persons who are deemed entitled to seats according to the apportionment so recommended.
Mr. SEMPLE, being the proposer of the original resolution, said he would withdraw it, and accept with pleasure the amendment last read.
Mr. Gwix having no objection to the appointment of this committee, withdrew his own amendment. He did not think, however, that the whole day should be lost in waiting for the report of the committee, and would therefore propose that the members present from the San Joaquin District, claiming seats, should be ad. mitted to participate in the organization of the House.
Mr. Borts asked his colleague (Mr. Halleck) what was intended by this reso. lution. As it reads, it seemed to confound two very distinct questions.
Was the committee to report what number of regular delegates from each district were to be admitted, or supernumerary delegates ?
The CHAIR stated that the resolution read, “ the number of delegates."
Mr. Botts suggested that this matter be made the subject of two resolutions. He deemed it important that the question should be divided as to the regular and supernumerary delegates, and would therefore make a motion to that effect.
Mr. Halleck amended his resolution so as to read, “according to their recommendations as to the number to be received."
Mr. Norton said that this was a matter involving a great deal of investigation, and would occupy a great deal of time to report upon. It would be entirely im. practicable for the Committee to report as early as three o'clock. Another point: the question as to the District of San Joaquin should stand upon its own basis. It should be decided one way or the other, and not considered in connexion with other districts. This would give rise to much confusion, and greatly retard the business of the House. He was in favor of the appointment of a committee of one delegate from each district, or such a committee as might be deemed proper, to take this question alone into consideration, and report upon it to the House at 'as early a period as practicable.
Mr. Sherwood did not for his part see the object of having several committees. It was most desirable that the Convention should organize at once and proceed to business without delaying from day to day the question as to what members were entitled to seats. If in the first place one committee was appointed to
investigate the election of delegates from the District of San Joaquin, and settle that question ; and then another in regard to San Francisco, and another for Sacramento, the result would be that the Convention could not proceed to busi. ness short of three or four days. He was in hopes there would be no delay; but if two or three committees were to be appointed, the time of the House would be unnecessarily consumed. He was in favor of one committee, consisting of a delegate from each district. It was desirable that there should be a full and fair representation from each district. He thought the committee could report by 2 or 3 o'clock.
Mr. GILBERT said that the only districts upon which it was necessary the committee should report, were San Joaquin, San Francisco, and Sacramento. In re. gard to all the other districts, he regarded the question as settled by the action of the people themselves, under the recommendation of the Governor's proclamation. From none of those districts did it appear that there were supernumerary delegates claiming seats. He would therefore move that the duties of the Committee be explicitly prescribed with reference to these districts. He believed that two or three supernumeraries had been elected in the District of San Jose ; but he un. derstood there would be no attempt made by them to claim seats. He regarded the representation made by the proclamation as fair and equitable, with regard to every district, except the three named. He, therefore, thought it best that the Committee should be instructed to report the names of the regularly elected dele. gates from these districts, who were entitled to seats in the Convention, without reference to the other districts.
Mr. Gwin said his colleague (Mr. Gilbert) was mistaken in one particular. There were five delegates elected in San Diego, three supernumeraries and two regular delegates. There was no reason why they, as well as the supernumeraries from San Jose, should not apply for their seats. It was not probable they would, but the question ought to be decided in advance. He believed there was also a supernumerary elected in Los Angeles. He thought the resolution as it stood cov. ered the whole ground, and hoped it would be adopted.
Mr. GILBERT observed, that if such was the fact, it altered the case. guided by the Governor's message in making the statement, and presumed a cleri. cal error had been committed. If San Diego claimed additional members, as well as the other districts, the resolution as it stood was correct and proper.
Mr. HALLECK said that the two districts of San Louis Obispo and Santa Barbara had elected the same individual. He would probably be here this afternoon, and would select from which district he would be received. From the other district one of the supernumeraries should be chosen to fill his place. That fact had influ. enced him in offering the resolution in its present form.
After some further discussion, Mr. Halleck's resolution was adopted.
Resolved, That the chair invite Mr. W. E. P. Hartnell to act at present as interpreter to the Convention.
On motion of Mr. SHERWOOD, the reporters present were invited to take seats within the bar.
The Chair then announced the following as the Committee on Privileges and Elections, namely :
San Diego-Henry Hill. Los Angeles~S.C. Foster. Santa Barbara, P. La Guerra. San Luis Obispo-H. A. Tefft. Monterey-H. W. Halleck. San Jose-J. Aram. San Francisco M. Norton. Sonoma-M. G. Vallejo. Sacramento–J. R. Snyder. San Joaquin-J. McH. Hollingsworth.
Whereupon, on motion of Mr. Gwin, the Convention took a recess till 3 o'clock, P. M.