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In the Assembly, Dower (Democrat) made the same motion to amend which Wright had made in the Senate, that is to say to strike out the expression by which the Assembly maintained the right of the Legislature to legislate on the subject of land ownership within the State.
But Dower had no such effective backing as Wright had had in the Senate. The proposed amendment was rejected without a roll call. The resolution was then adopted by a vote 227 of fifty-nine to eleven.228
227 The Assembly vote on the resolution was:
For the resolution-Ambrose, Benedict, Bloodgood, Bohnett, Bowman, Bush, Byrnes, Canepa, Cary,_ Chandler, Clark, Wm. C.; Clarke, Geo. A.; Collins, Cram, Ellis, Emmons, Ferguson, Finnegan, Fish, Gabbert, Gates, Gelder, Green, Guiberson, Guill, Hayes, Hinkle, Inman, Johnson, Geo. H.; Johnston, T. D.; Johnstone, W. A.; Judson, Kuck, McDonald, Moorhouse, Morgenstern, Mouser, Murray, Nelson, Nolan, Palmer, Peairs, Polsley, Roberts, Ryan, Schmitt, Scott, Shartel, Slater, Smith, Strine, Stuckenbruck, Sutherland, Tulloch, Weisel, White, Woodley, Wyllie, and Young -59.
Against the resolution-Bagby, Beck, Bradford, Brown, Dower, Ford, Griffin, Killingsworth, McCarthy, Simpson, and Weldon-11. Assemblyman Bradford made the following explanation of his
"I introduced an alien land bill (so called) at the very early part of the session of this Legislature, because I deemed the enactment of such legislation very necessary. I believe now, as well as then, that California would be within her constitutional rights in enacting such a law. Under the circumstances, I thought that the proposed visit of the Secretary of State would not help us; on the other hand, I did not wish to put myself in the attitude of rejecting advice. I asked to be excused from voting, but this courtesy was denied me; consequently I was forced to vote 'no' upon this resolution."
228 An attempt was made to have a conference of Western governors at Sacramento on the occasion of Bryan's visit. The resolution to that end was defeated in the Assembly by a vote of twelve to forty-one. The resolution was as follows:
"Whereas, The Secretary of State of the United States, Honorable William Jennings Bryan, has been invited to visit the California Legislature to take part in a conference in regard to the enacting of a suitable anti-alien land bill; and,
"Whereas, Said legislation, whatever it may be, will be of vital importance to all the Pacific Coast states; and,
"Whereas, It is the desire of the Caifornia Legislature to have enacted the very best possible legislation in referennce to said alien ownership of land; therefore, be it
"Resolved, That Honorable Oswald West, the Governor of Oregon, Honorable Ernest Lister, the Governor of Washington,
Thus, Secretary Bryan was, by resolution adopted by both branches of the Legislature, invited to come. to California for the purpose of counseling with the members of the Legislature, and co-operating with them in framing a satisfactory law.229
Honorable Tasker L. Oddie, the Governor of Nevada, and Honorable Geo. W. P. Hunt, the Governor of Arizona, be invited to attend the said conference to be held with the Governor of California. Honorable Hiram W. Johnson, the Secretary of State of the United States, Honorable William Jennings Bryan, and the California State Legislature, in Sacramento, that they may be able to lend their assistance in preparing the proposed legislation in reference to alien ownership of land; be it further
"Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly be instructed to telegraph an invitation to the above named Governors, inviting them to be present and participate in said conference."
The vote by which the resolution was defeated was:
For the resolution. Alexander, Dower, Finnegan, Griffin, Guill, Murray, Polsley, Shannon, Shearer, Stuckenbruck, Wall, and Weldon-12.
Against the resolution-Bloodgood, Bohnett, Bowman, Brown, Byrnes, Cary, Clark, Wm. C.; Clarke, Geo. A.; Collins, Cram, Ellis, Emmons, Farwell, Ferguson, Gelder, Green, Guiberson, Hayes, Johnson, Geo. H.; Johnston, T. D.; Johnstone, W. A.; Judson, McDonald, Moorehouse, Morgenstern, Mouser, Nelson, Nolan, Palmer, Peairs, Richardson, Roberts, Schmitt, Shartel, Simpson, Smith, Sutherland, Weisel, White, Woodley and Young-41.
229 Governor Johnson sent the following message to President Wilson:
"I shall be pleased at all times to consult with the Secretary of State, and it will be entirely agreeable to me to have the Secretary visit Sacramento as suggested in your telegram."
Governor Johnson also wired Secretary Bryan in behalf of Mrs. Johnson and himself, inviting him to be their guest during his stay in Sacramento.
"Your kind invitation," replied Secretary Bryan, "received and appreciated. It will give me pleasure to be your guest. Please convey to the Legislature my thanks for the resolutions adopted." Governor Johnson on April 24, issued the following statement: "The suggestion of the President that the Secretary of State visit California for conference on the pending land bills was at once accepted by both houses of the Legislature and by the Governor, and we shall be glad to welcome Mr. Bryan.
"While the Legislature properly maintained the right of the State to legislate on a matter clearly within its jurisdiction, I am sure there is no disposition to encroach on the international functions of the Federal Government, or justly to wound the sensibilities of any nation. My protest has been against the discrimination to which California has been subjected in the assumption that action which has been accepted without demur when taken by other states and by the nation is offensive if even discussed by California.
"I am not predicting that the California Legislature will take any action on this subject, nor, if it does, forecasting the terms of any law which may be enacted. I am merely defending the
While waiting for Bryan's coming, the proponents of anti-alien legislation continued their study of the complicated situation.
The opponents of such legislation continued their activity. The Board of Directors of the Panama
right of California to consider and, if its Legislators deem advisable, to enact a law which is clearly within both its legal power and its moral right.
"Much has been said of the dignity of Japan. We would not willingly affront the dignity of Japan nor offend its pride. But what shall be said of the proposition that a great State, itself an empire, of possibilities greater than those of most nations, shall be halted from the mere consideration of a legislative act, admittedly within its jurisdiction, by the protest of a foreign power which has itself enacted even more stringent regulations on the same subject? What of the dignity of California?
"Admittedly, California has a right to pass an alien land bill. No one suggests that such a bill should in terms describe the Japanese. It has been suggested that such a law in California shall follow the distinctions which are already an unprotested part of the law and policy of the United States.
"The United States has determined who are eligible to citizenship. The nation has solemnly decreed that certain races, among whom are the Japanese, are not eligible to citizenship. The line has been drawn not by California, but by the United States.
"Discrimination, if it ever occurred, came and went when the nation declared who were and who were not eligible to citizenship. If California continues the line marked out by the Federal Government, the United States and not California should be accused of discrimination.
"The Constitution of California, since 1879, has said that 'the presence of foreigners, ineligible to become citizens, is declared to be dangerous to the well being of the State, and the Legislature shall discourage their immigration by all means within its power.'
"The Alien Land law of the State of Washington provides that 'any alien, except such as by the laws of the United States, are incapable of becoming citizens of the United States, may acquire and hold land, etc.'
"The State of Arizona, in 1912, enacted that 'no person not eligible to become a citizen of the United States shall acquire title to any land or real property, etc.'
"No protest was made against this policy of the laws of the United States, nor against its adoption into the laws of Washington and Arizona.
"If the Legislature of California were to determine on similar action it would be merely following the declaration of our Constitution, the policy of the United States Government and the precedents of at least two States.
"We protest while we are merely debating similar laws, against having trained upon us, not only the verbal batteries of Japan, but those of our own country.
"The position that we occupy at this moment is not pleasant to contemplate. Calmly and dispassionately we are discussing a law admittedly within our province to enact. Objection is made
Pacific Exposition Company, for example, sent formal protest to the Legislature, contending that the good faith and honor of California were at stake, and that no legislation offensive to any foreign people or government should be enacted.230
A day or so before Bryan reached Sacramento, a poll was taken of the Senate, to ascertain just where the several members stood. Then it was that the influence of powerful alien interests entrenched in California was shown. If the poll was to be depended upon, it was found that no general measure applicable to all aliens could pass the Senate.
As to a measure applying to Asiatics only, it was admitted that the Reactionary Republicans would not support it any more than they would support a general alien law. Some of the weaker Progressives were regarded as doubtful. The majority of the San Francisco delegation, intent upon protecting saloon, prizefight and other vice interests, was, of course, undependable. Several Los Angeles members were known to be opposed to all alien land legislation. If the Senate Democratic minority threw its support to the scattered
by Japan and forthwith it is demanded that we cease even discussion, and upon us, if we do not cease calm and dispassionate consideration of that which is desired by a great portion of our people, and which we have the legal and moral right to do, is placed the odium of bringing possible financial disaster and even worse upon our nation.
"What a situation for a great State and a great people! "This question in all its forms is an old and familiar one. only new thing about it is the hysteria which it seems to arouse when California is the place in which it comes up. My protest has been and is against this discrimination. This State will not willingly do anything to which there could be just objections, national or international.
"But it does resist being singled out on matters which pass unprotested when they happen elsewhere."
230 The protest of the Exposition directorate will be found in the appendix.
opposition, there was grave question whether any antialien measure at all could pass the Upper House.
Bryan reached Sacramento on the morning of April 28. He was given quarters at the State Capitol, immediately across the corridor from the Senate chamber. There, for nearly a week, was the extraordinary spectacle of the California State Senate on one side the corridor dealing with the Asiatic problem from the State standpoint, while on the other side of the corridor was a transplanted part of the Federal Government, represented by the Secretary of State, dealing with the problem from the Federal standpoint.
Bryan went into conference with the 120 members of the Legislature on the day he arrived at Sacramento. With them met Governor Johnson and Lieutenant-Governor Wallace. All others were excluded. But the executive feature of the meeting was farcical. In less than two hours after the conference adjourned, the Sacramento Bee, containing a detailed account of all that had happened at the meeting, even to literal quotations from the speeches made, was being sold in the very room in which the conference had been held.23:
Secretary Bryan stated the President's preference to
(1) The postponement of action for a time.
(2) If action were deemed necessary, that the Legislature take such action as has been followed by the State
231 The account was written by John L. Davis of The Bee. No article, more accurate or more complete in detail was printed in any of the morning papers of the day following. Mr. Davis had
to get his data after the meeting had adjourned and write his article in time for the printers to set it in type. All this he did in less than one hour and a half. It was the most remarkable newspaper accomplishment of the 1913 session, and probably of any session of the California Legislature.