The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 30, July 1926 - April, 1927 Page: 43
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The Mineral Land Question in California, 1848-1866 43
tion, which declares that the treaties made by the United States
"shall be the Supreme Law of the Land."29
In the case of the People v. Naglee,30 the California Supreme
Court upheld the constitutionality of the law. It held that the
state had the power to require the payment by foreigners of a
license fee for the privilege of mining within the state; and that
the act was not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States,
for the power of taxation is one of those powers retained by the
state and it cannot be taken away from it by a treaty between
the United States and a foreign government.
The opposition to the foreign miners' tax, and the difficulties
encountered in collecting the license fee, led to the repeal of the
act in 1851.31 But the American miners held public meetings
protesting against allowing Asiatics and Latin Americans to dig
freely in the mines. They petitioned the legislature to enact a
law prohibiting the importation of Asiatics, and to prevent those
in California from entering the gold fields. The miners threat-
ened to take the law into their own hands.32
In 1852 the legislature passed a new foreign miners' bill.3
Because the license fee was only three dollars a month, there was
less opposition to the new act. Many protest meetings, however,
were held denying the right of the state legislature to pass such
laws. Where and when did the Federal government authorize
California to legislate for the mines? asked the All.34 The
2'Pacifc News, October 10, 1850; Picayune, August 14, 1850. Inflam-
matory bills were posted on the trees in the mines. One of them read:
Note to foreigners: "It is time to unite, Frenchmen, Chileans, Peruvians,
Mexicans, there is the highest necessity for putting an end to the vexations
caused by the Americans in California. . . ." (Cal. Legislature Jours.,
1851, 0060; Pacific News, May 28, 1850.)
"People v. Naglee, 1 Cal., 232-255.
31Cal. Statutes, 1851, 424. Instead of a monthly revenue of several hun-
dred thousand dollars, as it had been estimated by the legislature of 1850,
the total amount received from this source up to December 15, was only
"2Meetings were held at Auburn, Horse Shoe Bar, Michigan Flat, and
various other places. (Alta, July 1, 16, 1852; Sacramento Placer Times
and Transcript, May 9, 1852.)
"Cal. Statutes, 1852, 84-87. The fee was raised to four dollars a month
at the next session, and the act was further amended in 1855. (Ibid.,
1853, 62-65; 1855, 216-217.) The receipts for 1854 were $100,557.92, and
for 1855, $123,323.28. (Fankhauser, Financial History of California, 160.)
"Alta, May 12, 1852; June 24, 1853; Cal. Assembly Jour., 1853, App.
Doec. 28, pp. 1-21; Cal. Sen. Jour., 1855, App. Doec. 19, pp. 1-13.
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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/m1/51/: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.