Minnesota. Constitutional Convention (1857).

Debates and proceedings of the Constitutional convention for the territory of Minnesota, to form a state constitution preparatory to its admission into the Union as a state online

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Russell, Stannard, Vaughn, Walker, and Wi-
nell.— 20.

So the substitute was laid on the table.

Mr. THOMPSON. I move that the reso-
lution be laid on the table and made the spe-
cial order for to-morrow afternoon.

Mr. COGGSAVELL. It will be recollected
by members of this Convention that we have
voted to adjourn on Saturday next. Some-
thing has been said here in regard to the com-
mittee of Conference which is in anticipation
of being appointed by the Convention which
is now sitting in the other end of the Capitol,
and inasmuch as reference has been made to
that subject I wish to say a few words. Now
if a committee of that character is appointed
and that committee should meet the commit-
tee we are about to appoint, I suppose it is
generally understood that the committee
which is appointed upon our part should have
all the substantial parts and portions of our
Constitution ready to be taken into consider-
ation by that joint committee ; that is to say,
" go-betweens " who have had conversations
with me on the subject, have stated that it
was wisdom that our committee should have,
at the time they meet the other committee to
take into consideration the matters referred
to them, all the parts and portions of our
Constitution. Well then if that is necessary,
I desire that they shall have this particultff
subject matter before them, and that they



448



MINNESOTA CONVENTION DEBATES— Wednesday, August 12.



should have the negro suffrage subject, and
all other subjects which it is proper to submit
to the people in any way shape or manner.
And if a committee of that character is ap-
pointed by that body, in my judgment it will
be appointed to day ; and if it is appointed
to-day, as a matter of course, the two Com-
mittees can meet to-morrow ; and if they are
to meet at all, it does seem exceedingly de-
sirable that they should meet as soon as that
time. Now if we postpone this resolution
until to-morrow, as a matter of course that
committee cannot have it to present to the
other committee. It seems to me that we
can dispose of this matter now just as well as
at at any other time ; and that there are other
matters which should be taken up, and as
soon as they are taken up, that they should
be disposed of. If we are going to adjourn
when we have proposed, we should do some
business before that time. But if we go on
in this way, when Saturday comes around,
we shall have as much business before us as
we have to-day.

Mr. COLBURN. I hope the motion will
not prevail, though not particularly for the
reasons offered by the gentleman from Steele
county.

Mr. MORGAN. I rise to a question of
order. This is a motion to lay upon the table
and is not debatable.

The PRESIDENT. The Chair considers
the point of order well taken, and must rule
that debate is out of order.

Mr. WILSON. Is not a motion to lay
upon the table until a specific time, deba-
table?

Mr. COLBURN. I was about to suggest
that the motion was not a simple motion to
lay upon the table.

The PRESIDENT. In the opinion of the
Chair a motion to lay a resolution on the table
and make it a special order for a particular
time would be debatable ; but a simple mo-
tion to lay upon the table would not be.

Mr. COLBURN. I was about to say that I
did not desire action upon this matter for the
same reason as that suggested by the gentleman
from Steele county, for I am opposed to pre-
dicating any action in this Convention upon
any anticipated action of any committees
whatever. I think the duty of this Conven-
tion is to go on with its work assiduously and



as fast as possible. But I am opposed to
laying this resolution upon the table for the
reason that I believe we are just as well pre-
pared to take action upon it to-day as we
shall be to-morrow. We spent nearly all day
yesterday upon it, and all of this day thus
far ; and I believe we ought to be prepared to
vote upon it now, if we ever are. I see nj)
necessity for delay.

Mr. NORTH. I have been in favor of de-
ferring this matter to a future time, but I see
that the friends of the resolution are anxious
to have it brought to a vote now. If they
do wish to press it to a vote I shall be obliged
to vote against it.

Mr. DAVIS. I rise to deny the assertion
of the gentleman. As one of the friends of
the resolution, I do not wish to press it to a
vote at the present time. I am very anxious
that this resolution should prevail, for the
reason that I believe that the future of our
State depends in a great measure upon the
passage of this resolution. I hope gentlemen
will not get their ire up and vote against it be-
cause their petty motion, to put it off to a
particular day, cannot pass. I am willing,
myself to have it made a special order for to-
morrow. I want gentlemen to understand
the resolution they are called to vote upon it,
because I believe there are some here, who, if
they did understand it as amended this morn-
ing by my friend, Mr. Coggswell, would vote
for it. I am satisfied that the resolution as
amended by myself yesterday, is not exactly
as I intended to have it.

Mr. NORTH. I wish simply to correct
the gentleman. If he has the idea that we
have our ire up he is mistaken. But when I
understand from a reliable source that it is
not expected to carry this resolution, and that
the object is to get it off our hands, I was
disposed to gratify the friends of the resolu-
tion in that manner.

Mr. DAVIS. I must correct the gentleman
again. I deny that my object is to press this
matter to a vote. I hope it will be carried,
and I believe it will be. At any rate I know
that a sufficient number of delegates to this
Convention have ofiered to support the reso-
lution if brought up in a manner and shape
not objectionable, to carry it.

Mr. COLBURN. The position of the gen-
tleman from Rice County (Mr. Nokth) is



MINNESOTA CONVENTION DEBATES— Wedxesdat, August 12.



449



rather an acute one. He says he wiU vote
against it now, but he does not intimate
that he will vote for it to-morrovr. "We can
decide it now as well as we can to-morrow, or
at any other time. Every man is prepared to
vote upon it, and no man will say that the gen-
tleman from Rice Coimty will vote for it, if
it is postponed until to-morrow.

Mr. WILSON. I move the previous ques-
tion.

The previous question was seconded and
the main question ordered to be put.

The question recurring upon the motion to
lay the resolution on the table and make it the
special order for to-morrow.

Mr. WILSON said : I rise to a point of
order. When the main question is ordered
does it not bring us to a vote upon the reso-
lution itself, and can an incidental motion of
that kind come up ?

The PRESIDENT. It is the opinion of the
Chair that the motion to postpone is the main
question. If an amendment were pending
when the previous question was ordered, the
Convention would first be brought to vote
upon the amendment and then upon the res-
olution itself. The motion before the Con-
vention, when the previous question was or-
dered, was the motion to lay upon the table.
And the Convention is brought to a vote upon
that in the first instance, and then upon the
passage of the resolution.

Mr. WILSON. My point was that this
motion to lay upon the table, &c., is an inci-
dental motion which would be cut ofif by the
previous question.

Mr. LOWE. I rise to a point of order.
Unless the gentleman appeals from the de-
cision of the Chair, he is out of order.

Mr. WILSON. I do not wish to appeal
firom the decision of the Chair. The question
is not of sufficient importance.

The PRESIDENT. Questions of order
must be decided without debate.

Mr. BATES called for the yeas and nays
upon the motion to lay the resolution on the
table, and make it the special order.

The yeas and nays were refused.

The question was then taken, and it was de-
cided in the affirmative.

So the resolution was laid upon the table
and made the special order for to-morrow af-
ternoon.
57



Mr. BOBBINS, fi-om the committee on In-
ternal Improvements made the following re-
port, which was read a first and second time
and laid upon the table to be printed, viz :

"Internal improvements shall forever be en-
couraged by the Legislature of this State ; but in
no case shall the credit of the State be pledged fcr
anv object of internal improvements, nor shall the
Legislature in any case create or incur a State
debt for this object, without at the same time pro-
viding means for the payment of the interest and
final liquidation of the same."

The Convention then took a recess until
half past two o'clock.

AFTERNOON SESSION.

The Convention reassembled at half past
two o'clock.

PAYMENT OF MEMBEBS.

Mr. MANTOR offered the foUowing reso-
lution :

" Sesolved, That the certificates of mileage,
signed by the President and attested by the Sec-
retary, be issued to each member of this Consti-
tutional Convention, and that the Territorial Trea-
surer be authorized to pay the same out of the
fund appropriated by law for defraying the expen-
ses of this Convention; and on production of said
certificates by the said Treasurer, the amount of
the same shall be allowed to him as a credit against
any moneys in his hands, appropriated as aforesaid
on the final adjustment of his accounts in relation
to the said fund."

Mr. M. said : Under our rules, if this res-
olution gives rise to debate, it lies over one
day. I really hope the Convention will sus-
pend its rules so far as to allow this resoultion
to be considered and acted upon at this time.
For my own part, I think I am quite modest
in offering a resolution to pay members their
mileage, without the per diem. It seems to
be understood that this Convention is " short"
— short, I mean in pocket. I see, that by a
resolution adopted yesterday, we are to ad-
journ on Saturday next, and I offer this reso-
lution to relieve us from the difficulty under
which we are laboring (laughter.) If we
adopt the resolution it will be expediting so
much of the business of the Convention.

Mr. SECOMBE. I think the resolution is
unnecessary. An act was passed by the
Territorial Legislature, at its last extra ses-
sion, which covers this whole ground fully,
and if we can by any means have the order
of this Convention carried ,out,^at any time



450



MINNESOTA CONVENTION DEBATES— Wednesday, August 12.



between the present and the time when we
shall adjourn, it will be discovered that full
provision has been made for the payment of
the per diem and mUeage of members. It
will be remembered that at an early day of
our session, the Convention ordered the
printing of two hundred copies of that act.
It has not been done.

The PKESIDENT. As the resolution has
given rise to debate, it will lie over, under the
rules one day.

EXPENSES OF THE CONVENTION.

Mr. SECOMBE. As this matter of the ex-
penses of the Convention has come up, I move
that the Secretary be instructed to procure the
execution forthwith of the order of the Conven-
tion, made at an early day of its session, for the
printing of two hundred copies of the act of
the Legislature in regard to the expenses of
the Constitutional Convention.

The PRESIDENT. The Secretary in-
forms the Chair that he has performed his
duty, by furnishing the printer with a copy
of the order, and requesting him to furnish
the printing therein ordered.

Mr. SECOMBE. I would inquire if that
has been done within a short time ?

The PRESIDENT. It was done at the
time of the passage of the order, and the Sec-
retary has spoken to the printer about it
several times since.

The Chair is further informed that it was
partly set up in the printing oflBce, but that
the act was then lost, and the Secretary was
unable to get another copy.

Mr. WILSON. I hope that by some
means another copy may be procured and
printed. I would like to see it myself, and
probably a great many others desire the same
thing.

Mr. SECOMBE. I would inquire what
became of the resolution I offered at an early
part of the sesion to procure a copy of that
act ? It was offered, but not disposed of

Mr. CLEGHORN. I have always under-
stood that this Convention was assembled,
and was acting under the Enabling Act of
Congress, and not under the Territorial act.
I consider that we have repudiated that act.

Mr. FOSTER. In regard to that matter, I
think it is clear that the Territory has the
right to pay us if it chooses. It did appro-



priate money to pay the expenses of this
Convention. If there is anything in it which
contravenes the Enabling Act, it is of no
force. But I am decidedly in favor of getting
a copy of that act, to see if an appropriation
has been made to pay us. I understand
there has been.

The PRESIDENT. The Secretary informs
the Chair that the re^lution offered by the
gentleman from Hennepin (Mr. Secombe),
relative to the appointment of a special com-
mittee, to procure a certified copy of the
the Territorial act, is upon the table.

Mr. HARDING. I move that it be taken
from the table and considered at this time.

The motion was agreed to.

The resolution was then read as follows :

"Mesolved, That a special committee of three
be appointed to procure from the Secretary of this
Territory a certified copy of an act passed at an
extra session of the Legislative Assembly, entitled
an ' Act to provide for the payment of the expen-
ses of the Convention to form a Constitution and
State Government for the State of Minnesota, in
accordance with an Act of Congress, approved
March third, 1857.'"

Mr. MANTOR. Before the vote is taken
upon the passage of that resolution, I would
like to inquire of the gentleman who offered
the resolution, what authority the Legislature
of the Territory had to pass any act in
reference to the government, or the expenses
of this Convention ?

Mr. STANNARD. I think the gentleman
can be [answered very easily. As a general
rule, it is not well for any people to pay them-
selves out of the public crib, and it was
thought best that the Legislature should make
an appropriation to pay the expenses of this
Convention, if Congress should not.

The resolution was adopted.

The PRESIDENT thereupon appointed as
such committee, Messrs. Seco.mbe, Davis and
McKuNE.

Mr. NORTH moved at three o'clock, that
the Convention adjourn.

Mr. WILSON. Is there no business we
can do this afternoon.

Mr. NORTH. If there is,! wiU withdraw
the motion.

Mr. BILIilNGS. There is the report of the
committee upon the State Seal and Coat of
Arms lying on the table ready to be acted on.



MINNESOTA CONVENTION DEBATES— Wedxesdat, August. 12.



451



Mr. "WILSON. If there is any business
we can do, I want to go on with it ; if not, I
am anxious to adjourn. I hope our printer
will get our engrossed reports returned from
the printer as fast as possible. Can the
Clerk inform us how many committees have
yet to report ?

The PRESIDENT. The Chair is informed
that all the committees have reported, except
the committee upon Miscellaneous Provisions,
and the committee on the Schedule.

Mr. WILSON. I would further inquire
whether all the reports have been so fer con-
sidered as to be referred to the committee on
Engrossment ?

The PRESIDENT. Jill except those which
have not been printed, and the report of the
committee upon the Seal and Coat of Arms.

Mr. WILSON. I would inquire if we have
not a committee upon Printing, who should
see to getting those reports from the printer.

Mr. BILLINGS. We have such a com-
mittee, and they have stood long enough.
(Laughter) I move that a committee of
three be appointed to wait upon the gentle-
men who have charge of our printing, and
report as soon as possible what the probabihty
is of our being furnished with the reports
now in their hands.

The motion was not agreed to.

SPECIAL ACT OF THE LEGISLATURE.

Mr. SECOMBE, from the special committee
appointed to procure a copy of the act of the
special session of the Legislature, to provide
for the payment of the expenses of the Con-
stitutional Convention, reported that the
committee had attended to that duty, and
presented the following certified copy of that
act.

" AN ACT to provide for the payment of the Ex-
penses of the Convention to form a Constitution
tor the State of Minnesota, in accordance with
an Act of Congress, approved March 3, 1857.

" JSe it enacted by the Legislative Assembly of the

Territory of Minnesota :

" Sec. 1. That on the first Monday of June
next, the qualified electors of the Territory of
Minnesota, shall assemble at their respective pla-
ces appointed by law for the opening of the polls,
and shall there proceed to elect by ballot certain
delegates for a Convention to form a Constitution
and State Government for this Territory.

" Sec. 2. Every Council District in this Terri-
tory shall elect two delegates for every councillor



it may be entitled to in the Legislative Council,
and every Representative District shall elect two
delegates for every member they may be entitled
to in the House of Representatives: JFravided,
That whenever any district has been subdivided
in order to elect their reprtsentative in the Legis-
lative Assembly, the same subdivision shall govern
in the election of delegates to the Constitutional
Convention.

" Sec. 3. That there shall be appropriated out
of any money in the Territorial Treasury, unap-
propriated, for mileage and per diem of members,
oflBcers, and Secretaries, for printing, and for sta-
tionery, the sum of thirty thousand dollars.

" Sec. 4. That the members, officers, and Sec-
retaries of said Convention, shall be entitled to
the same mileage and per diem, as the members of
the Legislative Assembly: Provided, That fhe
presiding oflBcer shall be entitled to three dollars
per day extra.

"Sec. 5. The compensation herein provided
for the members, oflScers, and Secretaries, shall be
certified by the presiding ofiicer, and attested, by
the Secretary, as well as all claims for stationery,
printing, and all other incidental expenses ; which
said certificates, when so certified, shall be suffi-
cient evidence to the Territorial Treasurer of each
persons claim. •

"Sec. 6. The qualifications of delegates to the
Constitutional Convention shall be the same as the
qualifications for members of the House of Repre-
sentatives of the Legislative Assembly.

" Sec. 7. This Act shall be in force from and
after its passage.

"J. W. FURBER,
"Speaker House of Rep's.
"JoHX B. Brisbix,
" President Council.

"Approved May 22, 1857.

" S. MEDARY, Governor.
" I certify that the foregoing is a correct copy of
the ' Act, to provide for the payment of the ex-
' penses of the Convention to form a Constitution
for the State of Minnesota in accordance with an
Act of Congress approved March 3, 1857.'
"In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my
hand and affixed the Great i^eal of the
[seal.] Territory of Minnesota, this 14th day
of July, A. D. 1857.

" Chas. L. Chase, Sec'y of M. T."
On motion of Mr. BATES, the report was
accepted and the committee discharged.
On motion of Mr. MORGAN—

" Ordered, That the report be laid upon the table
and printed."

And then, on motion of Mr. NORTH, (at
three o'clock and fifteen minutes,) the Con-
vention adjourned.



452



MINNESOTA CONVENTION DEBATES— Thuesday, August 13.



TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY.

Thubsday, August 13th, 1857.
The Convention met at nine o'clock A, M.
In the absence of the President, on motion
of Mr. KING, Mr. McClube was appointed
President pro tempore.
Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Mattocks.
The journal of yesterday was read and ap-
proved.

pebsonal explanation.

Mr. HAYDEN. Mr. Pbesident : I rise to
a question of privilege. I have been absent,
and coming again to my desk, I find myself
reported as follows, in the Daily Minnesotian
of Saturday:

" Mr. Hatden proposed to amend the substitute,
by striking out from the first section, in the first
line, the words, ' white male inhabitant,' and in-
serting these words : ' citizen of the United States.'

" The President considered this amendment out
of order, as embracing the same matter which the
Convention rejected yesterday, but withheld the
decision."

Thus putting me before the public as pre-
senting that motion out of order, and speaking
to it out of order. I wish to correct this —
believing it to be my privilege and duty.

In the first place I refer to our Rules. In
Rule 29, I read : " but a motion to strike out
" being lost, shall neither preclude amend-
" ment, nor a motion to strike out and insert."
It is true, it is also said here, that Jefferson's
Manual shall be our guide where the Rules
do not apply. But if that Rule is not plain
and applicable to the case, I confess I do not
understand language.

In the second place, my motion to amend,
was to amend the substitute which was not
adopted. If it had been the same amend-
ment it would have been in order. To pre-
sent me in that light before the public I feel
is wrong; and if that is the manner of the
decision, or if it was so intended by the Chair,
I consider that it is an outrage upon my
rights; that it is contrary to parliamentary
usage; and I wish to have this matter set
right. 1 am aware that the editors of this
paper have the right to do as they please, in
regard to publishing these matters — and in
regard to withholding the remarks on one
side, and publishing them on the other side ;
yet that also looks to me as a matter of injus-
tice.



BOUNDAEY LINE.

Mr. COGGSWELL. I hold in my hand,
Mr. Pbesident, a communication which is in
the nature of a memorial or petition, which I
received this morning, in reference to the
boundary question ; and also the proceedings
of a public meeting held at St. Peter on the
third instant ; which I desire may be read.

The letter was then read as follows :

" St. Peter, Aug. 8th, 1857.
" To tlie Members of the Constitutional Convention

at St. Paul:

" Gentlemen, — In accordance with the instruc-
tions of a public meeting of the Republicans of this
vicinity, on the evening of the third instant, at
which H. A. Swift, Esq., and myself were ap-
pointed a committee for the purpose, (and Mr.
Swift being absent, and I unable to attend in per-
son,) I herewith transmit to you the resolutions
and proceedings of said meeting, as indicative of
the desire of the citizens in this region upon a
question in which, at this time, the deepest interest
is felt by all. I refer to the Boundary Line.

"And, gentlemen, as one feeling a deep interest
in your proceedings and success, I will, I trust, be
pardoned for accompanying these resolutions with
a few suggestions.

"1st. As all are aware, we have a desperate foe
to contend with. No means will be left untried for
our defeat. Hence that party which shows the
most fairness, who are willing to give the people a
full and fair opportunity to express their wishes,
will stand the best before them.

" 2d. As a body, the Republicans are decidedly
in favor of an Fast and West Line — many prefer-
ing that we remain out of the Union rather than
go in with a difl'erent boundary.

"3d. The Republican party is identified with
the movement in favor of that line — nearly all hav-
ing voted for and sustained the memorial to Con-
gress passed last winter. We were told by our
leaders that it was vital to our interests as a party,
and as a State, that we should have that line.

"4th. We supported them in that position, and
many of them were re-elected as delegates to this
Convention almost solely upon that ground. We
went into our District Convention with that as an*
issue, and no man was permitted to be nominated
who was not known to be sound upon that question.

" 5th. Having thus identified ourselves with
this movement, and that too with the advice and
under the control of our leadmg men, many of
whom arc now in the Convention ; how can we
abandon it, with honor, with consistency, or with
the expectation that the people will support us
in it?

" 6th. What reason can you give for denying
to the people the right of deciding this question
for themsdveif The fact that the bogus body will
adopt the North and South line, and that a Demo-



MINNESOTA CONVENTION DEBATES— Tutbsdat, Acgcst 13.



453



cratic Congress maj favor their position in prefer-
ence to ours, is no reason. The people have aright
to decide this question first; and what men may
think about our chances for admission, will not jus-
tify you in refusing them this right. Because a
Democratic Congress wwy do wrong, is no reason
why you sJioxdd do wrong.



Online LibraryMinnesota. Constitutional Convention (1857)Debates and proceedings of the Constitutional convention for the territory of Minnesota, to form a state constitution preparatory to its admission into the Union as a state → online text (page 88 of 120)