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eighteen hundred and thirty-eight; and so to alter the terms and conditions of the grant made therein, that the odd numbered sections thereby granted and remaining unsold, may be held and disposed of by the state of Wisconsin, as part of the five hundred thousand acres of land to which said state is entitled by the provisions of an act of congress, entitled "an act to appropriate the proceeds of the sales of the public lands, and to grant pre-emption rights," approved the fourth day of September, eighteen hundred and forty-one; and further, that the even numbered sections reserved by congress may be offered for sale by the United States for the same minimum price, and subject to the same rights of pre-emption as other public lands of the United States.
Resolved, That congress be further requested to pass an act whereby the excess price over and above one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, which may have been paid by the purchasers of said even numbered sections which shall have been sold by the United States, be refunded to the present owners thereof, or they be allowed to enter any of the public lands of the United States, to an amount equal in value to the excess so paid.
Resolved, That in case the odd numbered sections shall be ceded to the state as aforesaid, the same shall be sold by the state in the same manner as other school lands: Provided, That the same rights of pre-emption as are now granted by the laws of the United States, shall be secured to persons who may be actually settled upon such lands at the time of the adoption of this constitution : And provided further, That the excess price over and above one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, absolutely or conditionally contracted to be paid by the purchasers of any part of said sections which shall have been sold by the territory of Wisconsin, shall be remitted to such purchasers, their representatives, or assigns.
Resolved, That congress be requested, upon the application of Wisconsin for admission into the Union, to pass an act whereby the grant of five hundred thousand acres of land, to which the state of Wisconsin is entitled by the provisions of an act of congress entitled “ an act to appropriate the proceeds of the sales of the public lands, and to grant pre-emption rights,” approved the fourth day of September, eighteen hundred and forty-one, and also the five per centum of the nett proceeds of the public lands lying within the state, to which it shall become entitled on its admission into the Union, by the provisions of an act of congress, entitled “ an act to enable the people of Wisconsin territory to form a constitution and state government, and for the admission of such state into the Union," approved the sixth day of August, eighteen hundred and forty-six, shall be granted to the state of Wisconsin for the use of schools, instead of the purposes mentioned in said acts of congress respectively.
Resolved, That the congress of the United States be, and hereby is, requested, upon the admission of this state into the Union, so to alter the provisions of the act of congress, entitled "an act to grant a certain quantity of land to aid in the improvement of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, and to connect the same by a canal in the territory of Wisconsin," that the price of the lands reserved to the United States shall be reduced to the mininum price of the public lands.
Resolved, That the legislature of this state shall make provision by law for the sale of the lands granted to the state in aid of said improvements, subject to the same rights of pre-emption to the settlers thereon, as are now allowed by law to settlers on the public lands.
Resolved, That the foregoing resolutions be appended to and signed with the constitution of Wisconsin, and submitted therewith to the people of this territory, and to the congress of the United States. In testimony whereof we have hereunto set our hands, at Madison, the first day of February, A. D. eighteen hundred and forty eight.
MORGAŃ L. MARTIN, President. THOMAS McHugh, Secretary.
This country, during the Spanish rule, constituted a part of the viceroyalty of Mexico, or New Spain. When Mexico became a federal republic, not finding California sufficiently populous to form a state, she established over it a territorial government, of which Los Angeles and Monterey were the seats.
A few years since the country between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific was unknown; except in some parts of Oregon, which had been laid open by the discoveries of Capt. Grey, in 1792, and by the explorations of Lewis and Clarke, in 1803.
The American government, in 1838, sent out a naval Exploring Expedition, under Captain Charles Wilkes, who was directed to make surveys of the coasts of Oregon and California, with special reference to the bay of San Francisco, He pronounced the harbor of San Francisco to be one of the finest, if not the very best in the world.” The town, then called Yerba Buena, “consisted of one large frame building, occupied by the Hudson Bay Company; the store of an American merchant, a billiard-room, and a bar; a cabin of a ship, occupied as a dwelling ;besides out-houses, few and far between."
The most prominent man in the region was Capt. Sutter, a Swiss by birth, but immigrating from Missouri. Having obtained from Mexico a grant of land thirty leagues square, he located his residence within it, and built a fort at the confluence of the American river with the Sacramento, near the place since called Sacramento City. Capt. Wilkes reported well of the soil and productiveness of the country. He related a recent military contest, in which the scale was turned by the valor of twenty-five American hunters.
Mr. Polk came into the presidency with a war upon his hands. He doubtless intended so to conduct it that it should redound to the honor and advantage of his country ; being early determined to obtain California and New Mexico. But a project was on foot to place California beyond the reach of the American government, and under the protection of the British. This was in part to be effected through the agency of Macnamara, an Irish priest, who, before the beginning of the war, visited the city of Mexico, and obtained grants of some of the best ports and most fertile lands of California. Capt. Fremont was sent overland, early in the spring of 1845, to California, ostensibly for scientific exploration, with 63 men,
composed of the famous and noble hunter and guide, Kit Carson, and others like him, ready, with sinews of steel, to do or to dare ;– furnished with artillery, and armed with Colt's revolvers, If Mr. Polk's object was to counterwork the British plot, his measures and agents were well chosen, and his plans completely successful.
The Mexican treaty, signed at Gaudalupe Hidalgo, Feb. 2, 1848, added to the American Republic vast tracts, of which the California portiou had a framework of society adverse to our own, many patriots looked with apprehension for the result, knowing that ordinarily the full river keeps the course tirst taken by the rivulet. Would enough of our citizens go thither to turn this course—to fuse this portion into the common mass? Providence presented a material to draw them so quickly, and in such ample numbers, that they at once constituted the principal stream of Californian society, into which all minor currents, not excepting the original, were merged; and Gold, the curse of other lands, was a blessing to this.
In February, 1818, a private discovery of gold was made on the grounds of Capt. Sutter, by a Mr. Marshall, then in bis employ, twenty-five miles up the American Fork of the Sacramento. It was soon found in other localities. Rumors of California gold reached the Atlantic States, which were converted to certainty by the President's message of December, 1819, accompanied by a letter from Gov. Mason, who had been in person to visit the gold diggings. As he passed along, he found houses deserted, and fields of wheat going to ruin; their owners having left them to dig for gold. Such had been the quantities found, that every convenience of life bore an enormous price. Capt. Sutter paid his blacksmith ten dollars per day; and he received five hundred dollars per month for the rent of a two-story house within his fort. Gov. Dason followed up the American to the sawmill, in whose raceway the golden scales were first discovered. He visited other “ placers," and saw multitudes engaged in the beds of streams, and in dry ravines, where water-courses had once existed. In a little gutter two men bad found the value of seventeen thousand dollars. The ordinary yield for a day's work was two ounces,
Such were the facts reported from unquestionable sources; and California at once became the one luminous point, to which all eyes were directed. There was a rush for the land of gold, not only from the United States, but from Europe, Asia, South America, and the isles of the sea.
From December, 1849, to January, 1850, 99 vessels from the United States. 52 from New York; 29 from New England. From October, 1849, to October, 1850, one year, arrived at San Francisco, 48,615 immigrants by sea, and 33,000 by land.
The 13th of October, 1849, will be memorable in the annals of California. On that day the members of the Convention elected to draft a constitution set their signatnres to this noble instrument. The President of this body was Robert Semple, a native of Kentucky; the Secretary, Wm. G. Marcy, of New York.
The constitution was adopted by the people Nov. 13, 1849. Population, in 1850, 200,000.
ARTICLE I.- Declaration of Rights. Sec. 1. All men are by nature free and independent, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.
2. All political power is inherent in the people. Government is
instituted for the protection, security, and benefit of the people; and they have the right to alter or reform the same whenever the public good may require it.
3. The right of trial by jury shall be secured to all, and remain inviolate forever; but a trial by jury may be waived by the parties in all civil cases, in the manner to be prescribed by law.
4. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed in this State: and no person shall be rendered incompetent to be a witness on account of his opinions on matters of religious belief; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this State.
5. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require its suspension.
6. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor shall cruel or unusual punishments be inflicted, nor shaīl witnesses be unreasonably detained.
7. All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offences, when the proof is evident or the presumption great.
8. No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime (except in cases of impeachment, and in cases of militia when in actual service, and the land and naval forces in time of war, or which this State may keep with the consent of Congress in time of peace, and in cases of petit larceny under the regulation of the Legislature), unless on presentment or indictment of a grand jury ;•and in any trial in any court whatever, the party accused shall be allowed to appear and defend in person and with counsel, as in civil actions. No person shall be subject to be twice put in jeopardy for the same offence; nor shall he be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.
9. Every citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press. In all criminal prosecutions on indictments for libels, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury; and if it shall appear to the jury that the matter charged as libellous is true, and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted ; and the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the fact.
10. The people shall have the right freely to assemble together to consult for the common good, to instruct their representatives, and to petition the Legislature for redress of grievances.
11. All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation. 12. The military shall be subordinate to the civil power. No standing army shall be kept up by this State in time of
and in time of war no appropriation for a standing army shall be for a longer time than two years.
13. No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war, except in the manner to be prescribed by law.
14. Representation shall be apportioned according to population.
15. No person shall be imprisoned for debt in any civil action on mesne or final process, unless in cases of fraud; and no person shall be imprisoned for a militia fine in time of peace.
16. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall ever be passed.
17. Foreigners who are, or who may hereafter become bona fide residents of this State, shall enjoy the same rights in respect to the possession, enjoyment, and inheritance of property, as native born citizens.
18. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, unless for the punishment of crimes, shall ever be tolerated in this State.
19. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable seizures and searches, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue but on probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons and things to be seized.
20. Treason against the State shall consist only in levying war against it, adhering to its enemies, or giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the evidence of two witnesses to the same overt act, or confession in open court.
21. This enumeration of rights shall not be construed to impair or deny others retained by the people.
ARTICLE II.—Right of Suffrage. Sec. 1. Every white male citizen of the United States, and every white 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, of the age
of twenty-one years, who shall have been a resident of the State six months next preceding the election, and the county or district in which he claims his vote thirty days, shall be entitled to vote at all elections which are now or hereafter may be authorized by law: Provided that nothing herein contained shall be construed to prevent the Legislature, by a two-thirds concurrent vote, from admitting to the right of suffrage Indians or the descendants of Indians, in such special cases as such a proportion of the legislative body may deem just and proper.
2. Electors shall, in all cases except treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest on the days of the election, during their attendance at such election, going to and returning therefrom.