The House met pursuant to adjournment.
Mr. Pickett presented the petition of John Bishop, accompanied by the following bill:
A bill to be entitled an act for the relief of John Bishop; which was read a first time. Ordered, that the same be read a second time tomorrow.
Mr. Fleming from the committee on roads, bridges, ferries, &c. to whom was referred the petition of John Rose, reported the following bill.
A bill to be entitled an act to authorize John Rose to cut
out and open a road from the town of Cahawba to Pine Barren creek and receive toll for keeping it in repair: which was read a first time. Ordered, that the same be read a second time tomorrow.
Mr. Williams from the committee of ways and means to whom was referred the petition of the tax collector of Madison county, reported the following bill:
A bill to be entitled an act to extend the time for collecting the tax, and making returns to the persons therein named; which was read a first time. Ordered, that the rule which requires bills to be read on three several days, be dispensed with, and that the same be read a second time forthwith.
Mr. Clay moved to amend the said bill by adding the following section:
Be it further enacted, that the tax collector of Lawrence county shall be allowed until the __________ day of _________ next to make returns, and pay over the revenue into the Treasury, which was adopted. Ordered, that the said bill be engrossed, and made the order of the day for its third reading tomorrow.
Mr. Craig from the select committee to whom was referred the petition of Richard Rapier administrator of Claiborne Mays, reported the following bill:
A bill to be entitled an act authorizing Richard Rapier administrator of Claiborne Mays, deceased, to sell a certain lot of land therein mentioned; which was read a first time, and Ordered, that the same be read a second time tomorrow.
Mr. Perry obtained leave to introduce the following bill: A bill to be entitled an act to incorporate Tuskaloosa Chapter of Royal Arch Masons; which was read a first time, and Ordered, that the same be read a second time tomorrow.
Mr. Graham obtained leave to introduce the following bill: A bill to be entitled an act to extend the duties of Justices of the Peace, which was read a first time; and Ordered, that the same be read a second time tomorrow.
Mr. Graham obtained leave to introduce the following bill: A bill to be entitled an act, amendatory of an act to reduce into one the several acts concerning roads, bridges, ferries, and highways, passed December 21, 1820, which was read a first time; and Ordered, that the same be referred to the committee on roads, bridges, ferries &c.
Mr. Powell obtained leave to introduce the following bill:
A bill to be entitled an act authorizing the Intendant and council of the lower part of Tuskaloosa, to erect a toll bridge across the Black warrior river, which was read a first time; and Ordered, that the same be read a second time tomorrow.
The Speaker laid before the House the accounts of various claimants against the State: Ordered, That the same be referred to the committee on accounts.
Mr. Bagby obtained leave to introduce an account of John Bell against the State. Ordered, That the same be referred to the committee on accounts.
Mr. Bagby obtained leave to introduce the following bill: A bill to be entitled an act to establish certain election precincts therein named, and for other purposes, which was read a first time; and Ordered, That the same be referred to the select committee on election precincts.
The following bills, to wit: A bill to be entitled an act authorizing the administrators of the estate of Robert Morrow, deceased, to sell certain real estate therein mentioned.
And, a bill to be entitled an act to amend an act giving jurisdiction to certain counties therein named, over that part of the Cherokee lands, lying within the limits of the State of Alabama, were severally read a third time and passed; Ordered, That the titles of said bills be amended by the striking out of each, the words "A bill to be entitled." Ordered, That the same be sent to the Senate.
A bill from the Senate, to be entitled an act to appoint commissioners to ascertain correctly the boundary line between the counties of Jefferson and Blount, was again taken up. Ordered, That the said bill be indefinitely postponed.
A bill to be entitled an act for the relief of Josiah D. Lister, Esq. sheriff of Washington county, was read a third time and passed. Ordered, That the words "A bill to be entitled," be stricken out. Ordered, That the same be sent to the Senate.
Mr. Clay obtained leave to introduce the following bill: A bill to be entitled an act to reduce the expenses of the General Assembly. Ordered, That the said bill lie on the table. The Ayes and Nays being called for, those who voted in the affirmative are,
Mr. Speaker, Allen, Ayers, Barclay, Beene, Carr, Dabney, Dale, Davis, Duckworth, Edmondson, Evans, Elmore, Fleming, Greening, Hopkins, Kennedy, Montgomery, Murrell, Miller, Morton, Martin, McHenry, Philpott, Perry, Parham, Skinner, Smith, Tagert, Thompson, Vining, Weedon, Williams, Williamson --- 34.
Those who voted in the negative are,
Messrs. Anderson, Armstrong, Bagby, Brown, Clay, Crenshaw, Craig, Holderness, Jones, King, Leake, Magoflin, Masterson, Moore, Norwood Pickett, Powell --- 17.
A bill to be entitled an act to repeal part of an act therein named, was read a third time and passed. The Ayes and Nays being called for, those who voted in the affirmative are,
Messrs. Allen, Anderson, Bagby, Brown, Craig, Dabney, Davis, Duckworth, Edmondson, Elmore, Fitzpatrick, Greening, Graham, Hardwicke, Holderness, King, Montgomery, Magoflin, Masterson, Miller, Morton, McHenry, Powell, Philpott, Parham, Skinner, Vining, Weedon, Williamson --- 30.
Those who voted in the negative are,
Mr. Speaker, Armstrong, Ayers, Barclay, Carr, Clay, Crenshaw, Dale, Evans, Fleming, Hopkins, Jones, Kennedy, Leake, Murrell, Moore, Martin, Norwood, Pickett, Perry, Smith, Tagert, Thompson, Williams --- 24.
A bill to be entitled an act to authorize the emancipation of certain slaves therein named, was read a second time, and amended. Ordered, That the same be engrossed, and made the order of the day, for its third reading tomorrow.
Message from the Senate by Mr. Lyon their secretary:
Mr. Speaker, I am directed by the Senate to inform your Honourable body, that the Senate have read three several times, and passed the following bills:
A bill to be entitled an act to establish and regulate Justices Courts in this State, except the counties therein excepted.
A bill to be entitled an act to appoint commissioners to lay out a certain road therein named; in which they desire your concurrence. Also,
The bill originating in your Honourable body entitled an act confirming a decree of the Circuit Court of Madison county, exercising chancery jurisdiction, pronounced in September term 1820, divorcing Harriet Dillard from her husband Nicholas Dillard.
Mr. Bagby moved to re-consider the vote on the passage of the bill to be entitled an act to repeal part of an act therein named --- which was carried. The question was again put on the passage of the bill, and decided in the affirmative.
A bill to be entitled an act to alter and extend the boundaries of Limestone county, was read a second time. Ordered, That the said bill lie on the table.
The bill from the Senate entitled an act to establish and regulate Justices Courts in this State, except the counties therein excepted --- was taken up and read a first time. On motion of Mr. Masterson, Ordered, That the said bill be indefinitely postponed.
The Ayes and Nays being called for, those who voted in the affirmative are,
Mr. Speaker, Armstrong, Bagby, Barclay, Carr, Crenshaw, Edmond-
son, Fleming, Greening ,Graham, Holderness, Hopkins, King, Leake, Montgomery, Murrell, Masterson, Moore, Morton, Martin, McHenry, Norwood, Powell, Philpott, Perry, Smith, Tagert, Thompson, Williams --- 29.
Those who voted in the negative are,
Messrs. Allen, Anderson, Ayers, Beene, Brown, Clay, Craig, Dabney, Dale, Davis, Duckworth, Evans, Elmore, Fitzpatrick, Hardwicke, Jones, Kennedy, Magoflin, Miller, Pickett, Parham, Skinner, Vining, Weedon, Williamson --- 25.
Mr. Powell offered the following resolution: Resolved, That the judiciary committee be instructed to inquire into the expediency of regulating and amending the several laws now in force, relating to the manner of holding persons to bail within this State --- which was adopted.
Ordered, That Mr. Powell be added to the committee of propositions and grievances.
A bill from the Senate to be entitled an act to appoint commissioners to lay out a certain road therein named --- was read a first time. Ordered, That the same be read a second time tomorrow.
A bill from the Senate to be entitled an act to prevent sheriffs and other officers levying executions in certain cases --- was read a second time. Mr. Philpott moved to amend the said bill by striking out the words "capias ad satisfaciendum," and inserting in lieu thereof "fieri facias," --- which was carried. Mr. McHenry moved further to amend said bill by striking out the words "fit for gathering," for the purpose of inserting "gathered" --- which was carried. Ordered, That the same be read a second time tomorrow.
On motion of Mr. Williams, Ordered, That the inaugural address of His Excellency be spread on the Journal.
Gentlemen: In approaching the station assigned me by my fellow citizens, it becomes my first obligation of feeling and of duty to acknowledge the grateful sense with which I am impressed, of this valued testimony of their confidence. I am compelled at the same time to own my apprehensions, that owing as well to my own inadequacy, as to the difficulties connected with our present situation, I may not be able to discharge the functions of the dignified office to which I am called, agreeably to the public expectation. I find however a source of animation in that confidence which I feel in the virtuous patriotism of our citizens; and which is peculiar to communities whose systems like our own, are founded on the fair basis of equal liberty; where the interest of the state is identified by that of each individual. This generous principle growing out of the intimate connexion here subsisting between the people and their government, and cherished by
their interests and affections, furnishes the most effectual remedy for the defects incident to all human institutions, and also for the weakness of those who administer them.
Relying therefore on the aid of that public virtue which I believe to characterize this free and enlightened community, no exertion of my feeble powers shall be wanting to promote the order, prosperity and happiness of the State.
If any people have inducements to value these, the citizens of Alabama should feel their fullest force. Although this period is far distant when we shall aspire to a pre-eminence among our sisters, on the political scale of the union, few of them are more enviable for those natural advantages that may render a people prosperous and happy --- few, indeed, afford a more pleasing exhibition of progressive improvement from their primitive state of wilderness. The fairest portion of our territory, and even the spot where we are assembled, was but yesterday unknown as the residence of civilized man. The prospects which nature alone presented have successfully invited a respectable order of emigration, and filled our forests with the improvements of good society. Already do we felicitate ourselves on our political advancement to a full membership in the great family of American States --- encircled by the Federal Union, which presents to other nations, the exterior aspect of a solid and powerful empire --- respected abroad for its resources, and for its moral and physical capacity, while it reflects on the local governments composing it, the blessings of liberty, security & independence: yielding to us the right, as a distinct sovereignty, of securing our happiness, by laws suited to our condition; for maintaining social order, administering justice, and cultivating the natural advantages lying within our reach. In these we have not been treated with an illiberal band. They are every where exhibited in the varieties of soil, of surface and climate, which diversify the several regions, from the sea board to the mountains, and qualify them for various and valuable productions; and in the numerous navigable channels which checker over the whole face of our country.
These like most natural gifts will derive much of their value from a proper cultivation, and none of them are more deserving public attention and improvement, than the streams and land communications: especially in such directions as to facilitate the intercourse between the extremes and draw them closer by a more intimate community of in-
terests. Those points presenting themselves first in order, where the greatest practical benefits can be effected with the smallest means --- a liberal and impartial distribution of the funds applicable to these purposes, being required, by a just regard to the interests of our citizens, in the different sections of the state. This will have a most happy moral effect in maintaining a harmonious and disinterested feeling among us: than which, nothing can contribute more substantially to the prosperity of any community. Here it is worthy of remark that the geography of no state presents a country more happily united in interest so far as this is affected by mutuality of situation, and similarity of pursuits. We may indeed be divided by imaginary land marks formed by evil and designing counsels; but it is hoped, the good sense and liberal sentiments of our citizens are sufficient to resist an influence, so destructive of the public good.
A liberal and disinterested policy will best serve to avoid political schism, and call in requisition the united talents of the country: in which condition only, can the moral power of the state present a solid and imposing form: otherwise all the talents necessary to compose an enlightened and consistent government may be neutralized by division. Measures and men will alike be weighed in the false scales of prejudice and passion. And notwithstanding all that intelligence for which our population has been complimented at home and abroad, our measures may be characterized by weakness and folly. At no period will this subject impress itself upon our attention more properly than at present. Our political association is now forming. The materials which compose it, are promiscuously thrown together from various directions, bringing into contact their respective prepossessions for the doctrines made dear by early education, and hence we must expect some diversity of sentiments and want of mutual confidence; which can only be corrected by a more mature acquaintance, and mutual conciliation.
It is a subject of just concern, that any serious difficulties should have been presented thus early in our political progress, and before our government had assumed its permanent organization, and that our constitution should have been susceptible in one of its important provisions of a difference of construction so irreconcileable as to result in an entire omission to apportion the representation of either member of the legislative branch; one, or both of which
were unquestionably required by the constitution; involving us in a situation to afford grounds of cavil with some, and possibly of honest doubt with others, as to the legitimate existence of the legislative department and virtually of the whole government.
In the slight notice of which this part of the subject is worthy, it is deemed worse than idle to enter on the field of controversy, so often and fruitlessly beaten. The old questions canvassed upon it, are deemed to be now settled and for ever to be at rest. It is but common charity to allow to all parties to the dispute, the credit of sincerity; and to attribute the unfortunate result, to that necessity arising from the varying operations of the human judgment, which may sometimes be as unavoidable as the act of God, or of a public enemy. Is it to be seriously supposed that our constitution, formed as a permanent rule for regulating the several departments of power in the state, as well in periods of commotion, as of tranquillity, is of such brittle texture, as to be broken down, or even interrupted by such casualties; whether produced by imperious necessity, or even by the voluntary default of one or of all the departments combined?
Permanency is one of the professed objects of the state as well as federal constitutions. The preambles of both instruments point expressly to posterity as an object of their concern. The power of self preservation, as it is the first case of every government, is an inherent principle in ours it must be called into action whenever among the vicissitudes of human affairs --- the emergency shall require it, and must be regarded in every construction of the constitution where it shall become necessary. this compact, like all others, can only be dissolved by the assent of all the parties to it --- the people of the state on the one part, and the national government on the other. Forming a member of the confederacy, our co-operation is required as a constituent part of the nation. We have not the power of disqualifying ourselves even temporarily for that function.
It is true that with this special exception, the people of the state have in every difficulty a redeeming control over the government. This may be exercised by acquiescence in the existing state of operation, as the most convenient course, until the more regular organization can be effected: or, if the magnitude of the occasion require it, they may rise in the majesty of their power, and resolve it into its ori-
ginal elements at the same instant re-organizing it under any modification, not inconsistent with their federal obligation.
No resort to this last extremity has been deemed advisable by any portion of our citizens. They have as by unanimous impulse chosen the present representative body to co-operate with the existing Senate, in forming this General Assembly.
Here it may be remarked, that however, exactly our republican systems may be balanced, public sentiment will be found at last to direct them; and that sentiment imbued with public virtue, this direction will be glorious and happy.
While our situation and prospects are passing under review, we are compelled to notice the pecuniary difficulties that have visited us with their enervating influence, and cramped every branch of active industry. To unite in obtaining relief from these evils, we are invited by every consideration of private interest and public duty. Though these have to some extent, the same origin every where in that bad economy which creates an excess of foreign consumption, beyond the amount realized from exported productions. Yet additional causes are found in other circumstances peculiarly affecting us. The most obvious consists in that drain of sound currency which is formed by the extensive sales of public lands; or more correctly speaking by the prevailing spirit of speculation which had appreciated them so far above their value. This has checked the current of emigration which the encouraging prospects of our country had for a season so successfully invited: and has withheld a large portion of our soil from culture. The same infatuating spirit had diverted most of our solid capital from other useful channels, and left the community incumbered with debts without a wholesome currency sufficient to discharge them.
In a most interesting portion of the state, a depreciated medium has filled the general circulation; clogging private engagements with distrust, and infecting with unsoundness the revenue of the state; that necessary support of public faith.
While some other states experiencing similar embarrassments have not the means of relief within their reach, we are without any excuse for this wretched state of insolvency, in a want of productive resources. Our chief staple production will always command its current value, in specie or its equivalent. The crop of a single year thus realized,
which cannot be estimated at less value than two millions, would fill our circulation with a wholesome medium, ample for all our purposes. A reform is demanded, by a regard to our individual interests, as well as to the character of the state --- and this reform to be beneficial, must be radical, extending to the sources of the evil; any thing short of this will only nurse its growth. The community can very soon prepare itself for the exclusion from circulation of a depreciated paper currency, by refusing it in payment for their commodities. If in addition to this, a prudent retrenchment of expenditure on foreign articles, be observed, the desired end, will at once, be accomplished.
I am sensible that in effecting this desirable change, depending so materially on individual economy, some efforts will be required to produce the necessary concert of action. It is however believed, that a prudent course of public measures, furnishing the means and pointing directly to the expediency of such a change as well as the danger of avoiding it --- seconded also by the precept and example of the wise and virtuous, will communicate such a tone to public sentiment, as will go far towards the purpose in view. And so long as the drain of sound currency occasioned by the sale of the National lands shall be kept open, a corresponding exertion of public and private economy will especially be required.
In anticipation of more favourable prospects to our country, we have much ground of felicitation in that relief which has been extended by the General Government, to a class of its debtors, embracing the greatest portion of our state. This will no doubt add an impulse to the spirit of industry; and by the observance of economy, improved by the salutary lessons of experience, we may renew our advances in the road to prosperity.
In this act of national beneficence, (in effecting which our fellow citizens in the opposite extreme of the nation united their liberal and disinterested influence;) we have renewed cause for feeling stronger the affectionate relation in which we stand to the Federal Union, not identified by Geographical boundaries.
In contemplating the recent national transactions peculiarly affecting as we cannot omit to notice, with much interest the accession of Territory to our neighbourhood, which has drawn a strongly defined natural boundary around the Southern frontier of the Union. We view this measure as
tending greatly to our security; and calculated to add to our commercial advantage.
Among the means that may contribute to the improvement of the social state, the education of youth has ever held a conspicuous place in the estimation of the wise and virtuous; and with more eminent propriety should this be the case, in a country whose government and laws are founded on the popular will, and are to be viewed as the reflected image of the wisdom and virtue of the people. On this score we have a valuable charge in trust for the present and for future generations. The endowments in our hands for this purpose are ample, and by being prudently husbanded, will prove a permanent resource for furnishing within ourselves the rudiments of useful learning. .--- It should ever be the policy of those who may administer our affairs, to regard this fund as sacred to its purposes.
In the best improvement of the many advantages which heaven had thrown before us, it is devoutly hoped that providence may so inspire those who shall successively conduct the destinies of our infant state, as that the objects of our constitution may be happily realized, in securing the blessings of liberty and free government, to ourselves and our posterity.
The House adjourned till to-morrow morning 10 o'clock.