The Senate met pursuant to adjournment.
Mr. Davis agreeably to notice, asked for, and obtained leave to introduce a bill to be entitled an act to reduce the compensation of the member of the General Assembly; which was read the first time and on motion, Ordered, to be read a second time on to-morrow.
Mr. Casey from the committee appointed on the part of the Senate, to examine and report the situation of the public arms, Reported, That the committee had performed that duty, and that they found in the arsenal two hundred and fifty eight stand, in very bad order; that the Quarter Master General reported eleven stand in the hands of Mr. Roberts for repair and thirty five delivered by order of the acting Governor to captain White who commands a volunteer company in this town; making in all three hundred and four stand, that your committee would recommend that an appropriation be made at this section of
the Legislature to enable the quarter master General to have them put in good order; which report was concurred in by the Senate.
Agreeably to notice, Mr. McVay asked for and obtained leave to introduce a bill to be entitled, an act to authorize Asahel Akers administrator of William White deceased, to sell and convey certain real estate, which was read the first time; and on motion, ordered to be made the order of the day for a second reading on to-morrow.
Mr. Casey presented the petition of George A. Thrash, relative to a county and State tax, which he had been improperly compelled to pay; which was read and on motion, referred to the committee on claims.
Mr. Chambers, proposed the adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Alabama in General Assembly convened, That the following amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alabama be proposed to the people thereof: amendment proposed as a substitute for the tenth and eleventh sections of the third article of the constitution; each county which now is, or which may hereafter be formed in this State, shall have one Senator and no more.
Amendment proposed as a substitute for the latter clause of the sixteenth section of the sixth article of the constitution: each county which now is, or which may hereafter be formed in this State, shall have at least one Representative, and more according to the ratio which may, from time to time be established by law.
Resolved, that the preceding proposed amendments to the constitution, be published with the laws of the present session; that the State printer publish the same for three successive months, preceding the next general election, and that the sheriffs throughout the State give obedience thereto, agreeably to the provisions of the constitution; which was read the first time, and on motion ordered to be read a second time on to-morrow.
A bill to be entitled, an act to prevent sheriffs, and other officers from levying executions in certain cases, was read a third time and passed. Ordered, that the title of said bill be altered from a bill to that of an act to prevent sheriffs and other officers from levying executions in certain cases. Ordered, that the secretary notify the House of Representatives thereof, and request their concurrence.
A bill to be entitled, an act to appoint commissioners to lay out a road therein named, was read a second time; and on motion ordered to be read third time on to-morrow.
The following written message was received from His Excellency the Governor, by Mr. James J. Pleasants, Secretary of State, to wit:
Gentlemen of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives,
In presenting such view of our affairs as appears to me worthy of Legislative attention, I deem it proper to premise with great deference, that in the present imperfect state of our representation it is not recommended as advisable to extend the labors of the session beyond those measures, the expediency of which is immediate or obvious.
An abstract of the census lately taken, so far as returns have been made, are ready to be laid before any committee you may appoint to act on that subject; any further returns that may be received will be immediately presented, that you may be enabled to proceed to the apportionment of representation in both branches of the legislative department. In the correct and satisfactory discharge of this imperious duty, no difficulty is apprehended. Should there be, eventually a failure in receiving returns from some of the counties I presume that a recourse would be proper in those instances to the latest preceding returns.
In many of the matters to do which your attention has been very properly invited by the communication of the late acting Executive, I take much pleasure in expressing my cordial concurrence of opinion In the few instances wherein I have viewed subjects differently, they are submitted to you with much consideration.
The State University and the disposition of the lands reserved for its endowment, have a just claim upon your most earnest deliberations. This subject has so justly been classed among those of the deepest interest to the State, both as respects the present and future times that I feel it my duty to offer you the result of my best reflections upon it.
I have no hesitation in adding my concurrence in the expediency of a sale of those lands at as early a period as the circumstances of the community will justify a belief that full prices may be obtained. I must also add, that it is both the interest of the State, and the incumbent duty of those who conduct its concerns, to obtain the most from this resource that it can possibly yield. It is not believed that an immediate sale for cash will promise this result. Our daily observation, connected with the present condition of our circulating medium, will induce to the conclusion, that a sale in which the purchase money shall be required in four, five or six annual instalments, the first to be made at the time of sale, will most probably yield one hundred per cent, more than a cash sale. It being in every view of the case requisite, that specie or that which is of equal value, shall be the medium of payment. It may be deemed proper to require ample personal security, in addition to the collateral security of the land itself. This requisite may either be exacted at the time of sale, or by some suitable provisions at the time of the second or any succeeding instalment failing due and not being punctually paid.
As regards those weighty political reasons which induced to the late change in the terms of sale of the national lands, while I concur most cordially in their wisdom and sound public policy, I am unable to see any of these reasons to be applicable to the disposition of this limited quantity of lands two townships dispersed in small tracts over the state, no county including but a few sections. Can the tendency of such a debt as would be contracted by the sale of these seventy two sections of land be considered as at all serious? Add to this that its discharge does not act as that drain upon our currency which it opened by a payment to the United States. The contract of the two cases will appear-
in full glare, when we view the extensive domain of the United States, spreading over many whole states and territories adjoining; the debts contracted in the sale of which would involve the interests of millions of our population & eventually tend to a disaffection towards the Union.
I am aware that an imaginary objection may be thought to exist against a sale on credit. That the legislature may be harrassed by the frequent application of debtors of this class. This objection will at once vanish when it is considered that the legal interest in these debts will have become vested in the corporation, and therefore out of the reach of legislative indulgence. Nor is it believed that any objection can arise from the liability of this mode of sale to combinations. Very few of these tracts lie in the bounds of any neighbourhood or even in the same county. There will not be that general mutuality of interest prevailing among the community which is the greatest cause of combination in general sales. But it occurs, that by requiring the whole to be advanced in cash we destroy competition, by rendering so few in any neighbourhood able to advance the necessary amount in money.
It is believed that it may be prudent to vest a reasonable portion of the fund arising from the sale of these lands, in stock of the State Bank. And for that purpose, it might be proper to make provision in its charter for admitting a subscription in favour of the University at any time, of not exceeding one thousand shares or one hundred dollars each. This amount might be produced from the first instalment, and would in that case be sufficient alone to put the bank in operation. But should the amount of this instalment fall short of this calculation, it would be in all events sufficient with the aid of such individual capital as may be applicable to that purpose, to give full effect to the bank in the ensuing year.
It may become a proper inquiry what disposition may best be made of the residuum of the purchase money, after vesting the limited amount proposed in bank stock and putting the University into operation.
This fund being a sacred trust for the future, as well as present generation, security and permanency, with a regular and certain increase, would be the great desideratum. The funds that appear to me peculiarly suited to such a purpose, are the stocks of the government of the United States, bearing an interest of six per cent. There are as certain as the government itself, and the increase will remain unaffected by the vicissitudes of the times. However favorably I anticipate the advantages which will result from our State bank, both to its stockholders and the public, our late observation on the subject will not justify that full confidence in the stability and regular productiveness of the most promising banking institution, that we are warranted to repose in the national funds.
However, should the plan of allowing credit for a portion of the purchase money be adopted, ample time will be left to consider of the best disposition to be made of the money arising from the deferred payments.
The location of the institution will, for the reason premised, be a proper work for the future session in the mean time an act of incorporation may be proper empowering the trustees to effect sales on such terms as may be prescribed to take measures for preserving the lands that may
not be sold, and to reserve from sale such tracts as may be seemed proper at or near the several places held in view as suitable sites; requiring them to report to the legislature their proceedings, and such information as may affect the interest of the institution, reserving to the legislature a superintending control over the corporation.
In the application of this literary fund to the establishment of an institution, where our sons may be instructed in all the branches of literature, it is believed neither to be inconsistent with the object of the act of national munificence, which has given us these means, nor with the generous and refined sentiments of the age in which we live, to apply a portion of them to female education.
The depreciated state of the medium which composes the greater part of our revenue, requires immediate attention. To enable the state in good faith and without loss, to discharge the demands against it, it will be requisite to exclude from the treasury, all paper that is not equivalent with specie.
This may be a proper period for paying off the loan obtained from the Planters' and Merchants' Bank of Huntsville, in its own paper.
It may be expedient to authorise a loan from one of the specie paying banks, towards any deficiency in our Treasury, which need not exceed $15,000.
Such provision may also be made in regard to any sum that may have been collected and paid into the Treasury, in the paper of a bank not paying specie, that it may be replaced by the bank issuing it, with specie or other sound medium, or with an ample indemnity. In this case the Treasury will cease at once to pay out paper of this description.
In the policy of excluding from future collection of taxes, the paper of the Huntsville Bank during its refusal to pay its notes in specie, a full regard has been given to the situation of the large and interesting portion of the community in which its paper has composed the general circulation. Although such exclusion might have operated at a short period since, with much inconvenience to the people, and have amounted to a denial of the means of payment, it is believed that such a measure at this time will have no such effects; but will, on the contrary induce them to require a sound currency for their valuable produce now generally on hand, and eventually aid in the entire exclusion from circulation of a depreciated currency.
What other provision may be deemed correct towards that Bank and just to the public will depend on your wisdom to devise. How far a tax would be advisable and to what amount might be necessary to induce the institution to comply with its engagements at a period when its capacity seems not to be questioned by those acquainted with its affairs, will be questions for your determination. If such a course, be advisable, the tax ought to be such as will effectually answer the purpose I question the policy and moral propriety of taxing an evil unless with the view of causing it to cease: otherwise it serves to legalize it And in any more definitive course, it will be essential that proper regard be had to the state of the community most concerned. That while
the creditors of the institution shall be secured, its debtors may not be ruined by too rigorous a pressure. Much of the embarrassments of that institution, it is hoped, might be removed by a mutually advantageous connexion between the State Bank and the local ones.
It is not believed, that any addition to the aggregate amount of taxes will be requisite. The necessary amendments in the mode of assessment and collection will be better suggested on a further progress of receiving the returns.
Of the treasury warrants now issued, means of discharging the greater part may be provided, by making a provision in such law as may be deemed proper in relief of purchasers at the first sale of lots in the town of Cahawba, which shall create inducements to prompt payments, by allowing a liberal discount.
It would also add to our facilities in the present state of the currency to provide for a more convenient description of Treasury notes or warrants. It is confidently believed that by adopting the several provision recommended our revenue and treasury paper will be relieved from the evils of depreciation in a very short period, and that a limited amount of these notes or warrants issued in anticipation of certain revenue may be equally current with specie.
So much of the agricultural as well as commercial prosperity and respectability of the state, will depend on a judicious attention to internal improvements in regard to roads and navigation, that a portion of your attention will of necessity be devoted to that subject. Our constitution has in express terms injoined it on the legislature, to provide by law, for obtaining accurate knowledge of such objects a may be proper for improvement and for making a systematic and economical application of the means appropriated to them (Art. 6 Sec. 21.)
At the first session of our State Assembly, a law was passed in obedience to this provision of the constitution, presenting some of the most conspicuous points, and authorized the examination of them by an Engineer under the direction of the Executive. This law has been but very partially carried into effect. It has long appeared to me, that unless a system shall be established, that shall ensure liberality and disinterestedness, as well as method, combined with practical skill, in the design and execution very little efficient progress will be made by the state in public improvement. The fund arising from the net amount of sales of United States lands sold after the first day of September 1819, agreeably to the act of admission, may be very profitably employed, viz: three per cent for improvements in the state; and two per cent. for making roads to the state, under the direction of Congress. The three per cent fund amounted from the date last mentioned till the September 30, 1820, (13 months) to $7,899 07. No later statements have been received. But it is presumable the average annual amount of this fund will be nearly the same for the next eight years; an amount not sufficient to accomplish very expensive objects, but ample enough for the correct examination and survey of all of them with the ascertainment of the most practicable plans and cost of completion, and also for accomplishing many of the less expensive objects, thus opening the way for individual enterprize and capital and aiding these again in their progress.
The plan which appears to me most simple, the best adopted to answer all the desired purposes, would be the establishment of a board of improvement consisting of not exceeding five members, chosen (annually) or biennially by the General Assembly from the several judicial or other divisions of the state. It being the duty of this board in connexion with the executive for the time being to direct the application of the means which the legislature shall from time to time appropriate by law for improvement and for examination: The reasonable expenses of the board when on actual service, to be defrayed from the improvement fund. It being the duty of the board, to make annually of oftener if required, reports of their proceedings & to account for the sums expended.
The advantages of this system, would be, the greater probability of a disinterested exercise of duty: From the known public spirit and intelligence of those who would most probably be selected as members of the board, and owing their appointment to the legislature of the state, they would be relieved from that local obligation which is often so much felt by representatives from counties. Add to this, the facility of deliberation and of visiting personally the points that may be necessary, and of collecting useful information. It is not improper to remark that it is well known that the provision in the constitution before noticed, was adopted with a pointed view to such a system.
Certain leading roads between the extremes of the state may be advantageously laid out.
The several impediments to the navigation of the Alabama and Tombecbe and their tributary waters, from the lowest to the highest practicable points of navigation, will of course be proper objects of examination. Thence across the several points of nearest land communication to the waters of the Tennessee river, the best practicable portages should be ascertained and opened. This part of our Geography together with the shoats on that river has long since engaged the attention of the general government, and has deservedly been viewed as a national object. These are also equally interesting to our sister state of Tennessee. And I have had great pleasure to see a late executive communication to the legislature of that state, calling their attention to the communication between the Hiwassee and one of the heads of Coosa river, in which assurances are given, from personal knowledge of the easy practicability of actually uniting those streams by a canal of eleven miles. This effected and a continued interior water communications is formed form the Mobile bay, through the Tennessee and Holston a considerable distance into the state of Virginia. Thus by a moderate share of capital and enterprize judiciously directed, our country may exhibit advances in improving our channels of intercourse the very idea of which, very lately would have been viewed as romantic.
In the event of an enlargement of our southern boundary, which will be a question of national policy for the determination of the general government, new objects for improvement may be presented.
No object is more desirable in a government of laws than their regular and due administration in the tribunals of justice. In the failure of the sessions of courts which too often happens by reason of indisposition of
judges and omissions of the proper officers to have juries summoned with other occurrences the aggregate loss to the community is considerable.
I am informed that in the county of Henry, two years since, established, no courts have yet been holden. The omission is deserving of inquiry, and the proper remedy should be applied, either that the court should be regularly holden, or in case of omission that the judge should be authorized to hold a special court. Some general provision on this subject may be proper.
I have the honor to lay before you certain resolutions passed by the Legislature of the state of Georgia, communicated by the governor of that state; in which it is represented, that having understood that the Creek and Cherokee nations of Indians are desirous of making certain cessions of their territory, whereby the settlements of Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama may become connected, and desiring the co-operation of this state to induce the Government of the United States to hold a treaty with those nations for procuring that cession. The importance of such a cession to this state is obvious to all, in extending our settlements to our full limits in that direction, inviting emigration, and uniting in social and commercial intercourse with the states adjoining.
A communication has been reserved from the secretary at war, accompanied by an extract of a letter from the agent of the Chickasaws urging the propriety of preventing the sale of spirits to Indians. These are laid before you.
I lay before you the report of the Quarter Master General. It may be proper to appoint a committee of the legislature to visit the Arsenal at this place and inspect the public arms therein, which may and in determining the best disposition to be made of them.
I recommend that a committee be appointed to examine the condition of the Executive records. Owing it is understood to the want of proper books for the department, these records have not been kept up from the commencement. This examination will enable you to make the necessary provisions on the subject.
In the prosperous management of our public affairs, so much depends on a harmonious and liberal concert of exertion in all our departments, that too much care cannot be bestowed on its cultivation. A want of this is never so much owing to the fault of original indisposition in any of us to exercise and promote it, as a reaction, produced by a want of full, confident that the disposition exists in others with whom or for whom we act.
This confidence being mutually obtained, I have the happiness to believe that our community contains a full proportion of all the necessary requisites to produce this desired concert. In forming this new association, we have left behind us most of the objects of our native, partially that could abstract our views from the best public good.
I cannot close this communication, without expressing the gratifying hope that the happy disposition now existing among us may continue to lighten the duties of the session and that our joint labors conceived in that temper of annual conciliation and public spirit which becomes
the representatives of a generous and enlightened people, may result in promoting the best general interests and satisfying the just expectations of our constituents.
The following message was also received from, his Excellency, the Governor by Mr. James J. Pleasants, secretary of state.
To the Senate of the state of Alabama:--- in compliance with your resolution of this day, I lay before the Senate all the information in possession of this department relative to the five per cent allowed by the Congress of the United States on the amount of sales of public lands within this state.
Official information has been received from the treasury department of the United States, that the several receivers of the land offices at Huntsville Cahawba and St. Stephens, had been instructed to purchase at par, any bill which might be drawn by the executive of this state, to the amounts of the three per cent. reserved to this state, by the act of admission out of the monies received by them respectively from sales within the state, subsequent to the first day of September, 1819.
A statement has also been received from the general land office, shewing the amount of monies received for land sold in this state, from the 1st September, 1819, to the 30th September, 1820, being thirteen months) and subject to the two and three per cent. funds a copy of which statement is herewith furnished. From which it will appear that the three per cent. on the net amount of cash received in that period, is $7,899 07. In which account is excluded the amount received in Mississippi stock, the three per cent. on which would have amounted to $1390 49. It may be a matter worthy of enquiry, whether the state is not also fairly entitled to three per cent. on the amount of Mississippi stock, as well as of cash received. Indeed it is possible that this part of the statement may have been made without full consideration.
The only portion of this fund which appears to have been drawn for is the sum of seventeen hundred and fifty dollars which has been paid by the receiver at Cahawba, to John D. Perry, under the approbation made by the act of assembly, passed 13th December, 1819.
I have the honor, &c. ISRAEL PICKENS.
The messages and accompanying documents were read, On motion of Mr. Elliott, ordered that fifty copies of his Excellency, the Governor's message of this day, he printed for the use of the Senate.
On motion of Mr. Casey, ordered, that so much of his Excellency the Governor's message as relates to the apportionment throughout the several counties within this state, be referred to a select committee. Whereupon, Messrs. Casey, Elliott, and Conner, were appointed said committee.
On motion, ordered, that his Excellency, the Governor's message lie on the table.
Mr. McVay presented the claim of Chesley B. Roundtree, sheriff of Lauderdale county against the state for expenses incurred in taking and keeping certain prisoners, which was read and on motion referred to the committee on claims.
A bill to be entitled an act confirming a decree of the circuit court of Madison county, exercising chancery jurisdiction, divorcing Harriet Dillard from her husband Nicholas Dillard, was read a third time; and on the question being put "shall this bill pass?" The ayes and nays being desired, it was determined in the affirmative--- ayes 14, nays 3.
Those who voted in the affirmative, are
Mr. President, Casey, Conner, Davis, Deveraux, Dennis, Elliott, Garth, Gause, Hogg, Lucas, Rose, Ware, Wingate.
Those who voted in the negative are
Messrs. Chambers, Lanier, McVay.
Ordered, that the secretary notify the House of Representatives thereof.
On motion of Mr. Casey, the Senate according to order, resolved itself into a committee of the whole on the bill to be entitled an act for the relief of purchasers of lots in the town of Cahawba, Mr. Chambers in the chair, and after some time spent therein the committee rose.
Mr. President resumed the chair, and Mr. Chambers reported that the committee of the whole had, according to order, had said bill under consideration but not having time to go through with the same, had directed him to report progress and ask leave to sit again; which was granted.
On motion of Mr. Elliott, according to order, the Senate resolved itself into a committee of the whole, on the bill to be entitled, an act to compel plaintiffs to give security for costs, in all suits hereafter to be brought in this state, Mr. Davis in the chair; and after some time spent therein, Mr. President resumed the chair, and Mr. Davis reported that the committee of the whole had, according to order, had said bill under consideration, and had directed him to report progress, and ask leave to sit again; which was refused.
Mr. Casey moved that said bill be referred to the committee on the judiciary; and the question being put, it was resolved in the affirmative.
On motion of Mr. Davis, ordered, that Mr. McVay be added to the committee on the judiciary.
A bill to be entitled, an act to regulate and establish justices courts within this state, was read a third time; and on the question being put shall this bill pass, the yeas and nays being desired, it was determined in the affirmative--- ayes 10, nays 9.
Those who voted in the affirmative, are,
Mr. President, Conner, Chambers, Deveraux, Dennis, Elliott, Hogg, Lucas, Lanier, Rose.
Those who voted in the negative, are
Messrs. Casey, Davis, Garth, Gause, Hanby, McVay, Trotter, Ware, Wingate.
Mr. Elliott moved, to amend the title of said bill, by adding the words "in the counties therein named," and on the question being put, it was resolved in the affirmative.
A message from the House of Representatives by Mr. Weedon.
Mr. President and gentlemen of the Senate:
I am directed to inform your Honourable body, that the House of Representatives have read a third time and passed, the following bills, to wit: a bill to be entitled an act to authorize the administrators of Benjamin C. Benham deceased, late of Limestone county, to sell a tract
of land therein designated and for other purposes: a bill to be entitled, an act to authorize Maria Evans to emancipate a certain negro man slave named Richard Evans: a bill to be entitled an act to authorize the administrator and administratrix of Thomas Talbert deceased, to sell certain real estate, in all of which they desire the concurrence of the Senate.
On motion the senate adjourned till 3 o'clock P.M.
The Senate met pursuant to adjournment.
A bill to be entitled an act to authorize the administrator and administrators of Thomas Talbert deceased, to sell certain real estate a bill to be entitled an act to authorize Maria Evans to emancipate a certain negro man slave named Richard Evans, and a bill to be entitled an act to authorize the administrators of Benjamin C. Benham deceased, late of Limestone county to sell a tract of land therein designated, and for other purposes, were severally read the first time; and on motion, ordered to be made the order of the day for a second reading on to-morrow.
Mr. Lucas moved, that the vote on the amendment on the caption of the bill to be entitled, an act to regulate and establish Justices courts within this state, be reconsidered, and on the question being put it was resolved in the affirmative.
Mr. Lucas then moved, that the Caption of said bill be, a bill to be entitled an act to regulate and establish Justices courts within this state except the counties therein excepted and on the question being put it was resolved in the affirmative.
Ordered, that the title of said bill be altered from a bill, to an act to regulate and establish justices courts within this state, except the counties therein excepted.
Ordered, that the secretary notify the House of Representatives of the passage thereof and request their concurrence.
On motion the Senate adjourned till tomorrow morning 10 o'clock.