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First Constitutional Convention

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Joined: 27 Nov 2007
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Location: Monterey County, California

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:35 pm    Post subject: First Constitutional Convention Reply with quote

On the 3rd of June, 1849, Governor Bennett Riley issued a "Proclamation recommending the formation of a State, or plan of Territorial Government." In persuance of this proclamation, the convention met in Colton Hall—which had been completed that year—on the first of the following September. Monterey was represented by the following delegates: Henry W. Halleck, who later became a general in the Civil War; Thomas O. Larkin, first and only United States Consul to California; C. T. Botts, Pacificus Ord, and Lewis Dent. The labors of the Convention were successful beyond its most sanguine expectations.

A Constitution, remarkable for the wisdom and liberality of its provisions was adopted, and shortly afterward ratified by the people. Upon adjournment, a salute of thirty-one guns was fired. The personnell of the convention were: Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, Antonio Maria Pico, Jacinto Roderiguez (these three were born in Monterey); Pablo de la Guerra, Jose Antonio Carrillo, Manuel Dominguez, Miguel de Pedrorena, Dr. Robert Semple, president of the convention; Wm. G. Macey, J. Ross Brown, Joseph Aram, J. D. Hoppe, K. H. Dimmick, Julian Hanks, Pedro Sainsevan, Thomas O. Larkin, H. W. Halleck, Lewis Dent, Henry Hill, Chas. T. Botts, Pacificus Ord, John A. Sutter, of Sutter's Fort; Wm. Steuart, Joseph Hobson, Thomas L. Vermeule, O. M. Wurzencraft, B. M. Moore, Wm. E. Shannon, Winfield S. Sherwood, John McDougall, Elisha O. Crosby, M. M. McCarver, Francis Lippett, Rodman M. Price, later Governor of New Jersey; Myron Norton, J. M. Jones, Jose M. Covarrubias, Stephen C Foster, Henri Trefft, J. M. Hollingsworth, Abel Sterns, Hugh Reid, Benjamin S. Lippencott, Joseph P. Walker, Jacob R. Snyder, L. W. Hastings, Edward Gilbert and A. J. Ellis.

The clergymen who officiated at the opening of the sessions were: Padre Antonio Ramirez, Rev. S. H. Wiley and Rev. Mr. Hunt.

The Seal that was affixed to the document was designed by Major Robert Seldon Garnet, presented to the convention by Caleb Lyon, a clerk; and engraved by Albrecht Kuner, a native of Bavaria.

Although the convention accomplished such great results, it temporarily injured the prospects of Monterey by the passage of a resolution removing the State Capitol to San Jose.

From this time on Monterey was never again to be the center of California law-making; and she was to lose much by it. However, she arose in other ways. It was in the same year, 1849, that the Monterey Library Association was organized; and the means of wisdom was put in reach of all. This association was, it is believed, the first Public Library in California, containing about five thousand volumes upon the various subjects of human knowledge, together with a large collection of maps, congressional and legislative documents, and well selected American, English and Spanish books, purchased in New York.
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