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Proceedings of the California State Convention of the Colored Citizens, Held in Sacramento on the 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th of October, 1865.

1865CA.18.pdf

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185

CALIFORNIA, 1865


The Secretary said that he wished to give a Homographic Chart of this Convention, and he therefore moved that each delegate be requested to furnish the following information: Time and place of birth, when arrived in this country, present place of residence, and occupation, and social or family condition. Carried.

Mr. R. A. Hall, Chairman of the Committee on Elective Franchise, presented the following


Report of Committee on Elective Franchise

TO THE HONORABLE THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

Gentlemen:--The undersigned, citizens of the United States and of the State of California, respectfully present to your honorable bodies, the Senate and House Assembly, this, their petition, and showing for your honorable notice that we are an industrious, moral and law abiding class of citizens, professing an average of education and general intelligence; born upon American soil, and paying taxes yearly upon several MILLION of dollars, and upholding all the institutions of our common country, as recently demonstrated by the employment of two hundred thousand of the negro population in the late great rebellion,--whose courage and loyalty have been testified to by many distinguished commanders, and whose whole record has never been disgraced by a single black traitor. We would most respectfully ask of your honorable bodies, in view of the above multiplied merits, an amendment to the Constitution, so that the same may read as hereinafter set forth, to the end that American citizens of African descent, as may have provided to become citizens, may be admitted to the rights of Suffrage and Citizenship of the State of California.

Respectfully submitted,

R. A. Hall, W. H. Yates, E. P. Duplex, J. R. Starkey, D. W. Ruggles.


CONSTITUTION OF CALIFORNIA

Article II

Section 1:--Every male citizen of the United States, 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.

The report was read, and on motion to adopt, Mr. Wm. H. Hall delivered the following impressive and eloquent speech:

MR. PRESIDENT: --I have refrained from intruding upon the time of the Convention until now, but the importance of the question presented here for consideration, brings us before the American people of California, to-day to ask their decision upon the great subject of Negro suffrage. It is the most momentous issue ever addressed to public opinion, and embraces the political prospects of all parties, as well as the duration and destiny of our Republican institutions,

Fifteen years ageo, when the despotism of slavery was at the height and plenitude of its power, and every interest, social and political, subserved its ends, California, in drafting a Constitution as one of the sovereign States of the Union, decreed that no bondsman ever should be held by legal enactment or constitutional law within her limits. In laying down this

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