The Senate met pursuant to adjournment.
In pursuance of an order of the Senate, Mr. President reported the following standing committees; to wit:
A committee on enrolled bills, to consist of Messrs. Gause, Ware and Wingate.
A committee on privileges and elections, to consist of Messrs. Garth, Hogg, Lanier and Deveraux.
A committee on the judiciary, to consist of Messrs. Elliott, Davis, Lucas, Garth, and Casey.
A committee of revisal and unfinished business, to consist of Messrs Trotter, Deveraux and McVay.
A committee on roads bridges and ferries, to consist of Messrs. Lucas, Garth and Casey.
A committee on School and University lands, to consist of Messrs. Rose, Chambers, Casey, Gause, Wingate.
On motion of Mr. McVay the resolution from the House of Representatives proposing to appoint two members on their part to act with such committees may be appointed on the part of the Senate, to wait on the acting Governor and inform him that the two Houses are now organized and ready to receive any communication he may please to make, was taken up, and on the question being put "shall the Senate concur in said resolution; the ayes and nays being desired, it passed in the affirmative. Ayes 12--- Nays 4.
Those who voted in the affirmative, are Messrs. President Casey, Conner, Chambers, Deveraux, Dennis, Hanby, Lucas, McVay, Trotter, Ware and Wingate.
Those who voted in the negative, are
Messrs. Davis, Garth, Gause, and Hogg.
Ordered, That the Secretary inform the House of Representatives thereof.
Mr. McVay from the committee appointed on the part of the Senate, to wait on the acting Governor and inform him that the two Houses are now organized and ready to receive any communication he may please to make, Reported, That the committee had performed that duty, and received for answer that His Excellency would make a communication in writing this day at the hour of 11 o'clock.
Mr. Garth gave notice, that on Friday next he would ask for leave to introduce a bill, having for its object to prevent from executions crops planted, until, they are matured and fit for gathering.
Mr. Hanby gave notice, that on to-morrow he would ask for leave to introduce a bill, to ascertain the dividing line between Blount and Jefferson counties.
Received a message from His Excellency, the acting Governor, by Mr. James J. Pleasants, Secretary of State; which, with the accompanying documents was read as follows, to wit:
Gentlemen of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives,
The period for the annual meeting of the Legislative department of the government having again arrived, it becomes the duty of the Executive to lay before you such information as is in his possession, relative to the state of our public affairs, and to recommend, for your consideration, such measures as by him may be deemed expedient, tending to promote the general welfare.
In the discharge of this duty, I have first to inform you, that the reservation of two Townships of land in conformity with the 4th section of the act of Congress for the admission of this state into the Union, for the purposes of endowing a State University has been completed, and that patents for the same in favour of the state are daily expected; a schedule of the tracts reserved is herewith transmitted marked A.
It will be unnecessary for me to dilate the very great importance to this state, of this act of munificence on the part of the general government or the immense advantages which the state may derive from a judicious disposition of these lands. The diffusion of knowledge among all classes of our fellow citizens, is so essential to the happiness of the people and the preservation of our republican institutions, that everything connected with it, or in any way calculated to favour it, cannot fail to excite the deepest interest and call forth the most anxious solicitude. For myself, I conceive that there is no subject which will as this session, come under your notice of so much importance and which will require so great a share of your deliberate consideration; I have not failed to give it my most attentive consideration and you will, I trust, permit me to give you the result of my reflections.
It will be admitted by all, that our object should be, so to dispose of the land as to ensure, the greatest annual income at the least expense. To effect this object, two modes of disposition present themselves; first, to reserve the fee simple of the lands in this state, to lease them, and to seek for the income from the rent; second, to sell them at once and convert the proceeds into a cash capital, to be vested in Bank stock, which may be expected to yield an annual profit; of these two modes, I am decidedly in favour of the latter. The disadvantages of renting arise from the waste and destruction of the lands, incident to their cultivation, the frequent negligence and indifference of the lessees to the judicious management of the soil, they not feeling a permanent interest in its preservation, the danger of loss of the rent from their occasional insolvencies and want of responsibility; the additional expense of agents in its
collection, together with the uncertainty of being able to estimate the probable amount of the annual income; a circumstance which cannot fail greatly to affect the permanence and stability of the institution; many other objections might be urged, but these are in my mind sufficient.
The advantages of a sale and conversion into cash, are the greater care and facility with which the capital may be managed; the comparatively less expense attending the collection of its profits, the greater certainty of a state income, and the greater reliance which may be placed upon its duration and continuance as a permanent capital. It is also believed that an additional inducement may be found for a sale of these lands in the fact, that it will have a direct tendency to introduce a much more valuable population than that which may be expected from continuing to rent them, and which cannot fail to add very considerably to the wealth and respectability of the state.
As to the terms upon which the sale should be effected, I have no hesitation in believing that the mode at present pursued, by the United States is decidedly preferable. A sale upon credit has shewn itself from the experience we have had in the sale of lands of the U. S. as well as in some of our sister state, injurious and destructive in its consequences both to the seller and purchaser, and we cannot in my opinion, be too cautious in avoiding those consequences. The relation between creditor and debtor, is always odious and to create so large a debt as would be made by the sale of these lands upon credit, would be creating a monster having a direct tendency in its effects to corrupt the body politic
Admitting that it is good policy to sell these lands for cash, it may still be questioned, whether the present is a favorable time to effect the sales; on the point I am persuaded, that there are no sufficient reasons for delay; it is well known that the selections have been made with the greatest care, and with a view not only to fertility of soil, but to advantages in the locality calculated always to insure a demand for them. The propriety also of taking early measures for establishing the University and the necessity, in order to form a judicious plan, of knowing with tolerable accuracy what will be the amount of the Capital Stock before we commence, are powerful arguments in favor of taking immediate measures for converting the lands into cash; independently of these considerations, I apprehend that another may be found, in the tendency which the creation of a State Bank with the funds arising from the sale will have to give to our fellow citizens a sound circulating medium. By authorizing a sale of these lands at some convenient period not far distant, fixing the minimum at a sum as to ensure a fair price for them (which I should presume might be as high as fifteen dollars per acre) we shall be enabled to create a fund which may be, through the means of a State Bank, made both profitable to the University, and a great benefit to the community.
The propriety of fixing a high minimum I presume will not be questioned, the lands having been selected in different parts of the state, in the generally but small quantities lying in any one neighborhood, but little expectation can be entertained, that much more than the price fixed by the movement will be obtained; it will also prevent opportu-
nity of combinations among the purchasers to procure them at a price less than their value, and should any tracts remain unsold after the sale, they will always be subject to the future disposition of the legislature, and can subsequently be offered for sale at a price correspondent to that which they will command.
I would, therefore, respectfully recommend that an act incorporating a State University be passed, vesting the necessary corporate powers in such cases in a board of trustees, with authority to sell at public auction for cash, on the principles of the sales of lands belonging to the United States, the lands reserved for a State University in this State that provision be made for vesting the funds arising from the sales, in a State Bank, under suitable regulations and provisions, such as the wisdom of the legislature shall devise, that the trustees have authority to locate and commence within a given period, (which I would not have further distant than two years,) the erection of suitable buildings for a University and for that purpose, they be authorized to borrow from the bank a competent sum of money to be reimbursed out of the dividends of the dividends of the stock of the University; I have said that a period of two years ought to intervene before the location be made, presuming that within that period the lands may be sold, the bank be put into successful operation, a sufficient knowledge of the different parts of the state acquired to make a judicious selection and that the work should be commenced by that time in order to enable us to educate the rising generation at home and to carry into effect the objects contemplated by the general government in the donation they have made.
By adopting a plan similar in principle to the one I have here pointed out, I flatter myself that at no distant period our state may boast a literary and scientific institution, possessing advantages but little, if any, inferior to any of our sister states.
Owing to the provision of the fifth section of the act passed at the late called session of the legislature, amendatory of the act of December last, providing for the assessment and collection of the revenue, which provision extends the time for payments into the Treasury by the collectors until the first day of December next, I am unable to inform you what will be the amount of the receipts into the Treasury for this year; a statement of the disbursements for the expenses of the government, together with a statement of the receipts will be, in due time laid before you by the proper officer of the Treasury department.
The depreciated value of a very considerable portion of our circulating medium, owing to the suspension of specie payments by one of the banks in this state, and the additional embarrassment to the Treasury, from the fact that the bills of this bank are receivable therein in payment of all dues to the state, is a subject of the most serious regret and calls for some act of legislative correction.
The injustice of compelling the servants of the government to receive payments for the discharge of their laborious duties in a medium below its nominal value, is apparent, and cannot in good faith, on the pat of the legislature be permitted to continue. The peculiar state of the Treasury required the issuance of warrants in small sums, calculated to
serve as a partial medium of exchange, and the fact that these warrants were to be paid in paper of the Huntsville Bank, which is at a depreciation of from fifteen to twenty-five per cent, has resulted in reducing the value of Treasury warrants in a corresponding proportion, which falls immediately upon the creditors of the state, and is in reality taking from them in that proportion, their just demands for their services: The peculiar situation of a considerable portion of the inhabitants of the state, who could not, without great sacrifice, procure any other medium with which to pay their taxes, together with the expectations which were entertained of a resumption of specie payments on the part of the bank, sufficiently justify and explain the policy pursued by the legislature in including it among the banks, the paper of which was authorized to be received in payment of taxes. A further continuance of this state of things, under the present policy of the bank, cannot, I conceive, be justified. Besides the injustice done to the creditors of the state in sustaining this bank by legislative acts, in its present policy, it is conceived to be impolitic as it regards the community at large; the circulation of a paper currency which no longer commands specie operates as a tax upon the agricultural part of the community, nearly, if not equal, to its depreciation below the sound medium of the country; it therefore, believes a wise legislature to take prompt and effectual measures to eradicate this evil and in the present instance the duty is the more imperative, when we consider there is no doubt of the solvency of the bank, and consequently their ability to redeem their notes. It is to be hoped that a remedy may be found, should the arrangement contemplated by the provision for the appointment of commissioners, to receive propositions from the several banks now in operation in the state, for the purpose of creating a general State Bank, with branches, be carried into effect; should the expectation contemplated from this source fail, I would recommend that the future reception of the bills of this bank be contingent and only in the event of their resumption of specie payments within a given period; and as a further inducement to an early resumption of specie payments, I would also recommend an increase of the tax upon the bank, in the event of a longer continuance of the suspension of special payments calculated to destroy the present inducements on the part of the bank to withhold their space: this course would be in coincidence with the liberality heretofore extended on the part of the legislature towards the bank, and is no more than that justice which is due to the creditors of the state, and the community at large requires.
In connection with this subject and with a further view to the introduction of a sound currency into the state, you will permit me to observe, that it is believed that one of the greatest reasons which is to be found for the failure to obtain subscriptions to the act incorporating a State Bank is to be found in the provision vesting the majority in the direction of the bank, in the legislature; however salutary this provision may be, yet I am persuaded it is so objectionable as to prevent the subscription of the necessary quantity of stock, to carry the bank into operation, I would recommend a modification of that provision of the charter so as to give the state only a power in the direction equal to its in-
terest; should the plan I have suggested for the sale of the University lands be carried into effect, the state will then have a controlling power in the direction; should it not, there are other provisions in the charter which will enable the legislature at all times to exercise a sufficient power in the examination of the proceedings of the bank.
Among the various subjects which will come under your notice, that of the present organization of our Judiciary system cannot fail to attract your attention. The present system of vesting in the Circuit Courts, both chancery and common law jurisdiction, is attended with many and serious objections; and amounts in some counties almost to a denial of justice. The very arduous duties now devolving upon the Judges of the Circuit Courts, together with the great dissimlarity in the mode of proceeding in courts of law and equity, render it impossible for them to render to our citizens that prompt administration of justice for which the courts were created; and in my opinion renders the establishment of a separate chancery court advisable. The additional expense of a chancellor cannot be a serious objection, when the great relief which this court will give to suitors in the speedy decision of courses, which I apprehend will more than counterbalance the additional burthen of the tax, arising from the salary of one Judge.
I am informed that owing to the short period which the Registers of the several land offices in this State, have had to transact the business arising from the act of Congress for the relief of the purchasers of public lands, there are many persons who have not been able to avail themselves of the benefit of that law; as there can be no doubt but the general government will be disposed to give every person interested in the provisions of the law, an opportunity to take the benefit of it, I would recommend that a memorial setting forth the fact, be addressed to Congress and praying a further extension of time to effect the object contemplated by the act.
As connected with the subject of relief above alluded to, you will permit me to call your attention to the situation of the holders of certificates for purchases made at the first sales of lot in the town of Cahawba. It will be recollected that, the sale took place at a time of very general and great prosperity and under circumstances similar to those which induced the general government to extend the relief granted at the last session of Congress to the purchasers of public lands; I would therefore, suggest the propriety of the legislature taking this subject under their consideration and of enacting such a law as shall be both consistent with justice to the state and liberal to the proprietors of lots in the town.
I herewith transmit for your information sundry documents marked B, the correspondence between the executives of this state, and the state of Mississippi, in relationship to accounts between the two states growing out of the division of the late Mississippi Territory; from which you will discover that I have been unable to carry into effect the objects contained in the Resolution of the legislature, under which the correspondence has been carried on. It therefore remains with the legislature to pursue such a course as in its wisdom it shall deem just and proper
I have to inform you, that in conformity with the provisions of an act authorizing the executive to effect a renewal of the loan from the Planters and Merchants Bank of Huntsville, I have effected a continuance of the loan for one year by executing my note to the bank for and in behalf of the state, renewable at the expiration every sixty days, which will expire on the 24th and 27th days of December next.
In conformity with the act authorizing the governor to cause to be surveyed and sold, any number of lots, not exceeding fifty, on the eastside of the Alabama river, and opposite the town of Cahawba, I have made a contract for the survey of twenty lots, which are advertised to be sold on the second Monday in January next.
I herewith transmit marked D, sundry resolutions of the General Assembly of the state of Ohio on the subject of certain proceedings of the Bank of the United States against certain officers of that state, which I am requested by the executive of that state, to lay before you.
I also, herewith transmit marked E and F, sundry resolution of the General Assemblies of the states of Maryland, and New Hampshire, relative to the appropriation of public land for the purposes of education.
I likewise transmit marked G, a memorial of the chiefs of the Chickasaw nation of Indians, praying the passage of laws calculated better to secure their protection against outrages committed upon them by white persons, settled on the borders of their lands in this state.
The vacancy in the office of Secretary of state, occasioned by the death of Thomas A. Rogers, Esq. the late Secretary, has been filled by the appointment of J. J. Pleasants, Esq. The vacancy in the office of Judge of the county court of Mobile county, occasioned by the resignation of H. H. Rolston, Esq. has been filled by the appointment of Thomas Murray, Esq. The vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Jesse Beene, Esq. Judge of the county court of the county of Dallas, has been filled by the appointment of Wm. Aylett, Esq. The vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Edwin D. King, Esq. Judge of the county court of Perry county, has been filled by the appointment of Gabriel Benson, Esq. The vacancy occasioned by the resignation of William B. Wallace, Esq. Judge of the county court of Blount is still vacant. These appointments as made by the executive will expire with the end of the present session of the General Assembly, and it will become your duty to fill the vacancies during the present session.
Returns of the census, as authorized to be taken the present year by existing laws, have not been received but very partially; I am therefore, unable at present to give you such information as will enable you to legislate on the subject: so soon as complete returns are received they will be laid before you.
The time having nearly arrived which will put a period to my further discharge of the executive duties, I cannot close this communication without expressing my anxious solicitude for the future peace, prosperity, and happiness of our political community. In the various conflicting constitutional questions which unfortunately have arisen during the time I have been in the discharge of the executive functions and
on which it has fallen to my lot to act, I have always endeavoured to form my opinion from the best reasons my abilities could afford, and with a solemn deference and regard to the best interest and harmony of the community at large; and in the courts I have thought it my duty to pursue , consequent upon these results, I have been actuated by the same motives, leaving to the proper tribunal to decide upon the correctness of the course I have felt bound to pursue; and in retiring from public life, in addition to the satisfaction which I shall always feel of having discharged my duty with fidelity, it will be a further source of pleasure to see that our government shall proceed with unanimity, harmony and with satisfaction to the people.
On motion of Mr. Davis, Ordered, That fifty copies of the Governors message be printed for the use of the Senate.
On motion of Mr. Rose, the following resolution was adopted: Resolved, That the certificates of election of the senators from Lauderdale, Limestone, Madison and Monroe, be referred to the committee on privileges and elections.
On motion of Mr. Elliott, the following resolution was adopted: Resolved, by the Senate, that the following additional standing committee be appointed, to wit:
1st. A committee on claims--- Messrs. Hanby, Davis and Ware, were appointed said committee.
2nd. A committee on inland navigation--- Messrs. Dennis, Conner and Hogg, were appointed said committee.
3rd. A military committee--- Messrs. Chambers, Hanby and Rose, were appointed said committee.
4th. A committee on accounts--- Messrs. Casey, Elliott and Lanier, were appointed said committee.
A message from the House of Representatives by Messrs. Moore and Williams:
Mr. President, and gentlemen of the Senate:
We are directed to inform your Honourable body, that the House of Representatives have passed the following resolution, to wit: Resolved, That the two branches of the general assembly convene in the Representative hall, this day at the hour of 3 o'clock, P. M. for the purpose of counting the votes for Governor, electing a secretary of state, comptroller and treasurer, and that the Senate be requested to concur in said resolution.
Mr. Casey moved that the question on concurring in said resolution be taken separately; and on the question being put, shall the Senate divide the question on said resolution? It was determined in the affirmative.
On motion of Mr. Chambers, the Senate concurred in said resolution so far as the same relates to counting the votes for Governor.
On motion of Mr. Elliott, the Senate disagreed to said resolution far as the same relates to the election of a secretary of state.
On motion of Mr. Casey, the Senate concurred in said resolution so far as the same relates to the election of a comptroller of public accounts
On motion of Mr. Elliott the Senate disagreed to said resolution so far as the same relates to the election of a state treasurer.
On motion, the Senate adjourned until three o'clock P. M.
The Senate met pursuant to adjournment.
Mr. Elliott presented the petition of sundry citizens of the city of Mobile and members of the catholic congregation of said city, praying the passage of a law, authorizing certain commissioners therein named, to sell at public sale, the lot and old church on Royal street and to apply the proceeds of said sale to the erection of a chapel at the west end of Dauphin street in said city; which said petition was, on motion, referred to a select committee, with leave to report by bill or otherwise.
Whereupon, Messrs. Elliott, Garth, and Davis, were appointed said committee.
Mr. Elliott presented the petition of Thomas G. Newbold, praying the passage of a law granting him the privilege of establishing a ferry for the term of five years, between the city of Mobile and the town of Blakeley; which said petition was, on motion, referred to a select committee, with leave to report by bill or otherwise.
Whereupon, Messrs. Elliott and Casey, were appointed said committee.
Mr. Elliott, also, presented the petition of sundry citizens of Mobile and share holders in the steam boat Cotton Plant, praying the passage of a law incorporating them and their successors with the usual powers and privileges incident to bodies corporate; which said petition was, on motion of Mr. Elliott, referred to a select committee with leave to report by bill or otherwise.
Whereupon, Messrs. Elliott, Casey and Davis, were appointed said committee.
Mr. Rose gave notice, that on Thursday next he would ask for leave to introduce a bill to regulate justice's courts within this state.
Mr. Chambers moved, that the Senate reconsider the vote concerning in the resolution of the House of Representatives in relation to the election of comptroller of public accounts; and on the question being put, it was resolved in the affirmative.
Mr. Chambers then moved, that the Senate disagree to said resolution so far as the same relates to the election of a comptroller; and on the question being put, it was resolved in the affirmative.
Ordered, that the secretary inform the House of Representatives thereof.
Message from the House of Representatives by Messrs. Weedon and Williams.
Mr. President and gentlemen of the Senate:
We are directed to inform your Honourable body that the House of Representatives have disagreed to the amendment made by the Senate in the resolution proposing to go into the election of secretary of state, comptroller and state treasurer.
Mr. Garth moved that the Senate recede from their amendment to the resolution of the House of Representative, proposing to meet the Senate in the Representatives hall, this evening at three o'clock for the purpose of counting the votes for governor, electing a secretary of
state, comptroller and treasurer; and the ayes nays being desired, it was determined in the negative--- ayes 8, nays 10.
Those who voted in the affirmative, are Messrs. Conner, Davis, Devereux, Garth, Lanier, McVay, Rose and Trotter.
Those who voted in the negative are
Mr. President, Casey, Chambers, Dennis, Elliott, Gause, Hanby, Hogg, Lucas, Ware
Ordered , that the secretary inform the House of Representatives thereof.
Mr. Gause gave notice that on Friday next, he would ask for leave to introduce a bill, to be entitled, an act to extend the time of holding the circuit court of Montgomery county.
A message from the House of Representatives, by Messrs. Moore and Greening:
Mr. President, and gentlemen of the Senate:
We are directed by the House of Representatives, to inform your honourable body, that the House of Representatives insist upon their disagreement to the amendment made by the Senate to the resolution, proposing to meet the Senate at the hour of three o'clock this evening, for the purpose of counting the votes for governor, electing a secretary of state, comptroller and treasurer of the state.
On motion, the Senate adjourned till to morrow morning 10 o'clock.