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Full text of "Majority report of the Committee on Mines and Mining Interests"

MAJORITY REPORT and YJNORITY 
REPORT of the CQIAMITTEE on 
SiiNES and MINING INTERESTS. 

Sacramento, 1856. 



sku franciscd history centeb 




San Francisco Public Library 

TACKS 



REFERENCE BOOK 

Not to be taken from the Library 




[Document No. — . j 



IN TUE eJJSNATJS.J [SESSION ot isotj. 



MAJOKITY REPORT 



&F THE 



COMMITTEE ON MINES 



AND 



MINING INTERESTS. 



JAMES ALLS::, STATE PBINTE .1. 



E E P E T 



To the Honorable the Legislature of the State of California: 

The Committee on Mines raid Mining Interests to whom was referred Senate 
Bill No. 11, relating to the tax now levied and collected from that portion of 
the residents of this State ineligible by law to become citizens, and is understood 
as repealing the Statute now in force, passed day of 1855, have 

had the same under advisement, and after the best investigation they were able 
to give the subject return the same to the body whence it originated and recom- 
mend its passage. 

Your committee are aware that the objects sought to be accomplished by the 
enactment of this law elicit the utmost diversity of opinion from all who have 
examined the subject, not only in regard to the expediency or propriety of the 
particular law now recommended to the favorable consideration of the Legisla- 
ture, but extending further and embracing the question of the policy of toler- 
ating, under any circumstances, the presence of this 'unfortunate people in our 
midst, as well as the further question of the constitutionality of any law on the 
subject. Deeply impressed with the importance of the matter under investiga- 
tion, and fully aware that the public mind is looking anxiously to the course 
about to be taken by this body, your committee have in deference to these facts 
availed themselves of every accessible means o! information, and arrive at the 
conclusion that the law now in force was passed and became a law without due 
investigation. In other words, we would be understood distinctly as condemning 
it as a hasty, imprudent and mischievous piece of legislation, unauthorized by 
the existeuce of any evil at the time in view, or demanded by any fair expression 
of public opinion. Those who orpose and denounce the propriety of passing 
this bill urge that these people exhaust our mines and subtract from our wealth 
by carrying to their remote homes the gold they produce, and that being an in- 
ferior race, ignorant and bigoted as well as cruel and selfish, that we, as a peo- 
ple, lose something in the way of dignity and personal self-respect by associa- 
tion with them. They further urge that this people, though extracting from our 
mines a vast amount of gold, yet are, to a very limited extent, consumers of the 
agricultural productions of the State, or at any rate that there is the widest 
possible margin between what they receive, and what they disburse. These 
reasons are entitled to great con-ideration, as it is believed that they include the 
main grounds of opposition to this b'.lh 



California possesses illimitable wealth. Between the snowy mountains which 
make her eastern boundary and the wide rolling Pacific are cradled riches sur- 
passing in extent the magnificence of all other lands. Her soil is rich in every 
generous production which the earth ever yielded to her children. Her moun- 
tains and hills reck with a metal which has through all time controlled the 
world. These mighty resources are undeveloped for the want of population, and 
our c uutiy, fnlly aware of these facts, has ever made it her policy, to which so 
much of our national greatness is to be attributed, to invite hitlnr all who had 
the strength and will to labor. This invitation may not have been an express 
one, but it is known to have been our policy, and if it was implied and not ex- 
pressed it is the more cordial because of that fact; and as they are here addi- 
tional argument why we should deal justly with them can be derived from this 
view of the matter. 

The mines of California are neither exhausted of their wealth or crowded by ex- 
cess of pofulaiion ; on the contrary, they are scarcely developed, and there is room 
for all who are willing to work. There is room, yes, a demand in California for » 
million of men. It is in the knowledge of all who are conversant with t!,is branch 
of our subject, that this people labor only in placers abandoned and condemned by 
others whose ideas of the value of money is more liberal than theirs; and that on 
account of their frugal habits, and the cheap character of the food they consume, 
they are able to procure adequate remuneration fur their patient toil in places where 
another would find it difficult, if not impossible to procure a subsistence. It may 
not be our policy to invite them hither; however this may be, it is certainly not 
good policy or sound morals to attempt, Ly the enactment of oppressive sumptuary 
laws, to drive them hence, especially, when they had no notice before coming that 
such would be the line of policy pursued by us towards them. The kw, as it now 
stands, is well calculated to defoat the very object for which it was passed, by re- 
ducing them to a condition of such abject penury that they will never be able to 
leave or do anything else. It is strange that this reflection did cot cross the minds- 
et' the astute gmtlemen concerned in its passage. Most of the gold produced by 
them is left in the State ; yet even if it were not, it is not because of that fact lost 
to us or to mankind, but yet remains as so much of the aggregate wealth of the 
world, in the reach of any one who has an equivalent, to offer therefor. These peo- 
ple do not crowd our pool houses — " they are not found begging on street corners'* — 
they are scarcely ever seen in our Courts — in our prisons, they are scarcely ever 
met. Yet if all this were true, and they were really a bad people, would it be good 
to take their money and effects from them, reduce them to abject poverty, and thus 
incidentally force them into crime ? It may be proper to adopt measures to rid the 
country of them ; if so, scud them out, but do not attempt to do so by legalizing a 
crusade of questionable deceucy against the property they have made here, or brought 
with them to this country. 

Again, they are a weak people, and are at our mercy, and it is certainly not 
the policy of a proud, powerful, and magnanimous nation to oppress auy one, 
least of ail. a class of defenseless strangers. 

Again. For the last one hundred and fifty years, the commerce of the nation 
of which this people are representatives, has been considered, and is now detmtd 
to be one of the richest prizes for which a nation struggles; up to this time, no 
one particularly can be said to have borne off the palm The contest is yet un- 
settled, and the lists are yet open — while from our geographical position we 
possess great advantages, facing them, as we do, across the sea. 

The United States, fully impressed with this important matter, has signalled 
in the most emphatic manner, a desire not only U> continue and perpetuate, but 
to create further friendship with these nations by sending thither, on a very re- 
cent occasion, one of its best appointed fleets. 



In this connection it may not be inappropriate to observe — That the history 
of our country, inculcating as it doe?, the highest political maxims which the 
mind of man is capable of comprehending, also teaches as it were, a political 
morality, and recognizes if it does not directly indoctrinate a belief in the sanc- 
tity of our Christian faith. In ages past and gone, our race separated from this 
people. Their lot lay to the East, and d rkness has covered them with a man- 
tle. Ours lay to the West, and be it said, in no feeling of vanity or gratulation, 
that around our path, and over our destiny has been shed a bright refulgent 
light, by which we ever have, read and taught, as our cardinal maxims, Virtue 
and Morality, Faith, Hope and Charity. 

In this remote land — the westernmost track in the tread of empire, we meet 
ngain. Let us not signalize this meeting by an Act of unprovoked oppression. 
They learn many things by association with us. They perhaps return to their 
own land, to speak of the lessons they have received in this. Would it not be 
wrong — aye, even sinful — to teach them that we, who boast of ourselves as 
being in the van of civilization, and living evidences of the might of faith, of the 
fruition of hope, and of that charity which does to others as it would be done 
by, yet were found deficient in all these generous attributes, and were only bigot- 
ed, proscriptive, and intolerant? 

These questions belong to the casuist, but your committee cannot forbear 
all mention of them. 

In regard to the assertion that society is corrupted by the presence of this 
class, your committee are unable to sanction a proposition so little complimen- 
tary to the intelligence and dignity of the American character. Intelligent 
men do not copy their inferiors, nor is the tendency of human mind downwards. 
Any one who would be corrupted by any association of this sort, is already by 
nature, beyond the reach of redemption, or the power of recall. 

Negatively we think that they have done us no harm, they have certainly 
done us a great deal of positive good, in the way of contributions towards the 
sapport of our government. 

The chairman of your committee addressed a note to onr efficient and polite 
Controller of State, requesting a statement of the amount received into the 
State Treasury from this source — we here beg leave to introduce his kind reply: 

Office of Controller of State, ) 
January 18, 1856. j 

Hon. Chas. Westmoreland, 

Chairman of the Committee, on Mines and Mining Interests ; 

Sir: 

Tour favor requesting " the amount of revenue received into the State Trea- 
sury from the sale of Foreign Miners' Licenses, from the enactment of the law 
relating thereto, up to the present time," was duly received. Below I have the 
houor to submit a statement, which I trust will be satisfactory: 



e 

Receipts, 2nd fiscal year, ..... $29,991 20 

3d do 1,002 53 

4th do - 53,121 01 

5th do 100,557 92 

6th do 123.323 25 

from July 1st, 1855, to Jan. 12, 1356, - • 121,439 00 



Total receipts from Foreign Miners' Licenses, ... $429,434 91 

Respectfully, 

Your ob't servant, 

GEORGE W. WHITMAN, 

Controller of State. 

An araonnt at least equal to this has been paid into the various County Treas- 
uries, and the whole of this revenue is jeopardized by the law now in force. 

El Dorado is believed to be ODe of the most important mining counties in thb 
State. 

The Treasury of that County received from this source, in 

1853 ..... $10,042 62 

1854, ..... 26,649 97 

1855, ..... 57,270 05 
29th Sept., 1855, to Dec. 1855, - - 8,404 00 



Making, - - - - $102,426 64 

While the same amount has gone into the State Treasury from this county. 

This fund so paid into our County and State Treasuries has had a most mark- 
ed and important influence on our financial history and standing. By the action 
of the law now in force, in tbe county referred to, there is a monthly diminution 
of $2,349 78, or annually of $28,197 36, from what has been received infor- 
mer periods. 

Are we in a condition to disregard this important branch of our municipal 
revenue ? It seems to your committee that we are not in any such position. 

These people have always been willing to pay four dollars per month, but 
refuse to pay six, when by the action of the law itself it is to be regularly in- 
creased, thereby driving them to bankruptcy geometrically. They will not pay 
it and are generally too poor to leave the country. This report, already ex- 
tended as it lias unavoidably been to a great length, only embraces a very few 
of the arguments, and those hastily expressed, on this important subject. 

CHAS. WESTMORELAND, 

Chairman. 
JOHN D. COSBY. 



Document No. 



■ i i. maBiammamimammmmmmmmmmimimmmmmmamatm, 

IS TliF. 8ENATB.J PJSS&IOJ <ii Afcrt. 



MINOEITY KEPOKT 



COMMITTEE ON MIKES 



AND 



MINING INTERESTS. 



SUBMITTED MARCH 10, 1856. 



J\MES ALLEV. STATE PRINTER 



REPORT. 



Mr. President: 

The undersigned, a minority of the Committee on Mines and Mining Interests, 
to whom whs referred Senate bill No. 11, which proposes to repeal section 1 of 
an Act passed April 30, 1855, entitled "an Act to amend an Act to provide 
For the Protection of Foreigners, and to define their Liabilities and Privileges,' 7 
pissed Marc!) 30, 1853, respectfully beg leave to report, that they have given 
the whole subject matter a most careful consideration ; and finding it impossi- 
ble to approve the sentiments and recommendations of the report adopted by a 
majority uf this Committee; but believing them to be unwise and impolitic, and 
contrary to the wishes of a large majority of the electors of this Stale, we have 
felt it, to be a duty which we owe to our immediate constituency, to make this 
counter report, and in their name protest against any disturbance of the several 
Acts now in lorce in regard to the liabilities and privileges of foreigners in this 
S ate. To this end, we most earnestly recommend an indefinite postponement 
of the bills under consideration. 

The purpose of Senate bill No. 11, the passage of which is so earnestly recom- 
mended, and ably argued in the majority report, is simply this: The reduction 
of the tax at present imposed, for the privilege of working the mines of Califor- 
nia, upon that portion of our foreign population who are by law ineligible to 
become citizens of the United States, from the sum of si ; dollars to four dollars 
per month. And it is to defeat this purpose, that we recommend the indefinite 
postponement of the bill. 

You will here, however, permit us to remark, that, in making this recommen- 
dation, we have not done so hastily and without due investigation. We are 
profoundly impressed with the momentous importance of a quest on that involves 
the disposition of the forty or fifty thousand Chinese now sojourning on our 
shores. We regard it as of paramount interest to all other questions that are 
now before the Legislature. We look upon it as a ma iter of too much impor- 
tance to be considered alone with reference to its temporary results. Taking- 
hold, as it does, not only of the present, but reaching out into the far distant 
future, its possible and probable results there should also be weighed and pro- 
foundly considered by the legislator. With these assurances, we propose to 
submit, in a very brief and fragmentary manner ;i few remarks in support of the 



position which we occupy in reference to Senate bill No. 11. And first we 
would inquire: 

Is tlie object which the bill proposes to accomplish, viz., a reduction of the 
Chinese tax lull one-third from the sum now fixed by law, recommended by a 
sound State policy ? 

We think not. True, if the Chinese were a desirable population — if their 
labor w.s necessary to the development of the immense riches which California, 
to use ihe beautiful Mid vivid language of the majority report, has " cradled be- 
tween the snowy nountains which mark her eastern boundary, and the wide 
rolling Pacific," then we, too, would urge the removal of all existing restrictions, 
and demand that they be permitted to go into our mines, and enjoy, "without 
money and without price, all immunities and privileges possessed by our own 
citizens. But are they such a population ? and does such necessity for their 
labor exist ? Who will answer these questions in the affirmative ? Who among 
the people will, or have answered thus ? No one, save an occasional trader, or 
packer, or merchant, or, perhaps, some stage or steamboat man, and their imme- 
diate friends, who are directly benefitted by the presence of the Chinamen in 
our midst. But surely no such response will be heard coming from that clas3 
of men who constitute the great majority of the population of this S f ate — we 
mean the laborers, the woikingmen — that class to whose strong arms California 
is indebted for her wondrous rise and unexampled progress, in the short period 
of six years, from almost utter obscurity to a position alongside of the wealthiest 
and most important States of our proud Republic. 

No, Mr. President; the working men of California do not demand the repeal 
of the txisting law in regard to the Chinese Tax. They are satisfied with its 
operation. Tint law was placed upon our statute books in obedience to the al- 
most unanimous voice of the electors ol this State, and especially that portion 
of them more immediately interested — the miners. They believe that such a 
l.i w would encourage the Chinese to gradually leave the Slate; experience has 
proved that such is the effect of the law. Is it then reasonable to suppose that 
they are dissatisfh d with it now, because it is operating precisely as they antici- 
pited and hoped? If so, then we ask those whose sympathies are with the 
Chinamen, where are the evidences of this dissatisfaction? Has any voice ever 
reached this hall, coming from the miner's cabin, in the mountains, or the humble 
cottage of the laboring man, in our cities and villages, that asks for its repeal? 
No. Where then do we find indications of the people's dissatisfaction? Can 
any one, with truthfulness, say that such dissatisfaction does really exist? If 
so, then we frankly, and with a proper degree of humiliation, confess that we 
have utterly failed to discover it, and are totally incompetent to the task of fix- 
ing its ' local habitation." 

True, a few petitions from one or more mountain counties, and one from sundry 
merchants of San Francisco, have been presented to the present Legislature, pray- 
ing for a modification of the existing law so far as it has reference to the Chinese. 
But when it is remembered with what universal satisfaction, in every purtion of the 
country, the passage of the statute now in force was received less thau one year 
since, it will, we duubt not, be thought by you, as it is by ourselves, that these peti- 
tions have already received the only consideration to which they are entitled. 

But, in the absence of any demand on the part of the people for a repeal of the 
law Of. 1855, we are gravely told by the majority report, which urges the. repeal of 
that law, that it, was passed " without clue investigation,'' that it was a ' hasty, im- 
prudent and mischievous piece of legislation, unauthorized by the existence of any 
evil at the time in view, or demanded by any fair expression of public opinion. In 
reply, we have only to state what is well known to every newspaper reader ia the 



State, that the last Legislature was literally flooded with petitions and proceeding 
of miner's meetings, from almost every mining county in the State, praying the Legis- 
lature to enact a law which would more effectually rid the State of the disgusting pres- 
ence of the Chinese, than did the law of 1853. And that it was in obedience to this 
almost unanimous demand of the miners that the Legislature of 1855, after a longer 
and more thorough investigation than they gave to any other question during the 
session, placed upon the statute hook the law now in force. In the face of tliese 
facts, which should be so familiar to every legislator, it is astonishing that the au- 
thors tJ the majority repoit, who '' availed themselves of every accessible means of 
information," should make the extraordidary declaration that " the law uow in force 
was passed and became a law without due investigation." 

Uut it is urged, and this seems to be considered by the friends of reduction as 
the unanswerable argument in its favor, that, unless our laws are so modified as to 
encouiage thc^e fifH thousand Chinamen to remain among us, our State and County 
Treasuries will speedily approach bankruptcy. Were it not for the fact that, this 
argument is u-ed by gentlemen with all the seriousi ess and gravity becoming legis- 
laiois, we would be dis] osed to look upon it as one of the many facetious emana- 
tions of the fertile brain of that incomparable wit " Squibob," which keep the good 
people of California in a state of uninterrupted good humor : but, coining as it 
does from grave legislators, we are forced to treat it with becoming gravity In 
doimx so, however, we confess to a feeling of more than ordinary humiliation. Our 
pride as Americans, and more especially as Califbrnians, is humbled, when we hear 
intelligent citizens, through the columns of the newspapers and orherwise, confess 
the beaef, if the Chinese should some fine day determine lo return to their oriental 
homes, and put that determination into execution, that the groat State of California 
would be financially crippled! reduced almost to the verge of bankrupt cy 1 Can it 
be possible that any facts exist upon which such an extraordinary opinion can be 
justly ba>ed. 

Is it true that the hundred thousand Cakfornians are »o poor that they cannot 
support a government without the aid of the fifty thousand miserable and bestial 
Chinese now in our midst ? We cannot b elieve it. The very idea is an insult 
to every citizen within our borders. It is a reflection upon them as men, as 
Califoruians, as patriots. It is a libel upon :hem as Americans. It armies that 
they are unfit to enjoy, and incapable of supporting a government of their own 
making From such a slander the intelligent people of this State need no vin- 
dication. 

Our Christianity is also appealed to, and we are told by ninny good men who 
have at heart the conversion and enlightenment of the Heathen, that the law of 
1S55 presents a most serious obstacle iu the path of the missionary. If this be 
so, as Christian men we most truly deplore it. Li common with good men of 
every Christian laad, who would see the dark places of the heathen world illu- 
mined by the Gospel of truth, we desire to encourage the Christian missionary 
in the prosecution of his arduous, exalted and most holy work To accomplish 
this we are willing to render every assistance which our duty as men and legis- 
lators demands. But if the Chinese make it a condition precedent to their con- 
version to Christianity, that we take them to our bosoms and permit them to 
work our gold mines, theu we say, with all earnestness, let them continue in the 
darkness of heathenism. 

Again, it is urged that the commerce of eastern Asia is a prize for which, 
during many centuries, the commercial nations of the earth have struggled and 
that tlie nation which carried off that prize las invariably grown wealthy and 
powerful. For this reason, it is argued, our true policy dictates that, in order to se- 
cure this rich prize, we should repeal all laws which restrict the privileges of the 
Chinese iu this State, and thus, as a nation, gain their especial love. We fully 



appreciate tlie importance of monopolizing the rich trade of Eastern Asia ; and 
to accomplish that would hive our commercial intercourse with the people of 
that part of the "lube as liberal and free as possible. We would remove every 
unnecessary restriction upon the tra le between the two countries. We desire 
their trade — we desire to monopolize their ammertp. — but we do not want them. 
We .are utterly opposed to any interchange pf population. 

It cannot fail to occur to the re-flectiug mind that there are several evils con- 
nected with this question, of a character so momentous as to far Outweigh all 
consideration-* of dollars and cents. The presence of this people in our midst 
threatens the entailment upon -us of an anomalous kind of slavery unknown to 
our system of government, and infinitely more obnoxious than the Peon system 
of Mexico. It likewise threatens to degrade labor, at\d depredate its value. 
Indeed it has already had that effect. It is to preserve California as the favor- 
ed and peculiar name of the laboring man, that we urge the exodus of the great 
body of the Chinese population of this State. 

But this report has already swelled to a length much greater th?n we intend- 
ed: therefore, to sum up, in a few words, some of the reasons for advocating 
the continuance of such laws upon our statute books as will tend to encouragj 
the Chinese to leave the State, we believe — 

That their presence here is a great moral and social evil — a disgusting scab 
upon the fair face of society — a putrefying sore upon the body politic — in short, 
a nuisance, that, unless speedily abated, is likely to work tremendous and last- 
ing injury to the State; 

That they threaten the entailment upon us of a strange system of slavery ob- 
noxious to our institutions; 

That they degrade labor, and depreciate the value thereof, to the gre .t det- 
riment of the working men of this State; % 

That they are. by law, incapable of becoming citizens of the Slate. 

That the existing Chinese laws were passed in obedience to the almost unan- 
imous demand of the laboring men of the country; 

That these laws operated and are operating precisely as their authors pre- 
dicted: 

And, in short, we are opposed to a repeal or modification of the existing laws 
relating to the Chinese, for the reason that the People do not demand it. 

S II. POSH. 
JOHN D. SCELLEN, 
J. W. MAN.DE YILLE.