The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 30, July 1926 - April, 1927 Page: 39
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The Mineral Land Question in California, 1848-1866 39
refusing to comply with this law should forfeit the permit and
location. Benton and the California Senators opposed the amend-
ment, contending that the government's experience with the lead
mines in Illinois and Missouri were conclusive against any idea
of deriving a revenue from the California mineral lands. The
amendment was rejected.
Felch, on the other hand, opposed Fremont's bill on the ground
that it was a leasing system, which had been found to be imprac-
ticable to be carried out in a decentralized government like the
United States; and in derogation to the rights of the states, for
it withheld from state taxation great quantities of land. I-s sub-
stitute plan provided for the giving of the legislative sanction of
the national government to a policy of the freedom of the mines
unhindered by any agents and permits. This was the policy that
was actually pursued, without legislative provision, up to 1866.
It was, however, believed in the Senate that some machinery was
needeed for the preservation of order in the mines. After being
amended, Fremont's bill passed the Senate, but its friends did
not succeed in getting it taken up in the House, where it was
laid over to the next session.13
In an "Address to the People of California," Fremont defended
his plan, maintaining that, in view of the novelty and difficulty of
the subject, his policy was the most practicable and the most lib-
eral to the miners.4 But the majority of the people of California
were against government regulation of the mineral lands. The
bill is odious and impracticable, said the P'icayune. The Courier
was opposed to rents or fees, except on the quartz mines."l The
Sacramento Transcript held that on account of distance Congress
was not competent to legislate wisely for the gold mines.17 There
is but one method left for the disposal of the California mineral
lands, said the IHerald, and that is the cession of those lands to
"For the bill and debates see Cong. Globe, 31 Cong., 1 Sess., 1815, 1869,
2018, 2029-2030, App., II, 1362 et seq.
'4The "address" was printed in the San Francisco Alta, December 24,
1850, and the San Francisco Pacific News, December 24, 1850. Hereafter
"San Francisco" will be omitted from the San Francisco newspapers.
"Picayune, November 14, 1850; Pacific News, December 6, 1850.
"Courier, November 12, 1850; January 31, 1851.
"1Sacramento Transcript, December 6, 1850.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 30, July 1926 - April, 1927, periodical, 1926; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117142/m1/47/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.