The Senate met pursuant to adjournment.
Mr. Casey from the special committee to whom was referred the memorial of the purchasers of lots in the town of Cahawba, submitted the following report and joint resolutions:
The committee to whom was referred the petition of sundry citizens of Cahawba, praying remuneration for the depreciation of property in the said town of Cahawba, in consequence of the removal of the Seat of Government of said state to Tuscaloosa, respectfully Report, That they have had the same under consideration and present to your honorable body the following expose of facts and laws passed either by the Congress of the United States, or by the Territorial or State Legislatures of Alabama, and which preceded the location of the permanent site for the seat of government of the state of Alabama, and the first sale of said town lots in Cahawba, in the month of May, 1819, to wit: That at the first session of the Legislature of the Territory of Alabama, which was begun and held at the town of St. Stephens, in the month of January in the year 1818, an act was passed appointing commissioners "to examine and report to the Governor the most eligible site, as near the centre of the Territory as might be, having due regard to commercial advantages, and the nature and situation of the country." That at that time it occurred to his Excellency Governor Bibb, that if the attention of Congress were called to the subject they would not hesitate to grant, free of
any charge to the said Territory, 640 acres of land, including whatsoever site might be selected: and accordingly the attention of Congress was, by Governor Bibb, called to the subject: the result was as he had anticipated; and Congress passed an act providing "that there shall be reserved from sale, in the Alabama Territory, any one entire section, to be located under the direction of the Governor of the said Territory of Alabama, for the Seat of Government therein; to establish which facts, nothing more will be necessary than a reference to the severally before recited acts. [see note A] That at the next succeeding Legislature of the Territory of Alabama, which was begun and held at the town of St. Stephens, in Nov., 1818, the Commissioners appointed by the beforementioned act "to examine and report to the then Executive the most eligible site for the seat of the territorial government," made the report a copy whereof is hereunto annexed, recommending Tuscaloosa as the most eligible site for the seat of government; whilst on the other hand, his Excellency Wm. W. Bibb, desirous alike of availing himself of the distinguished spirit of liberality which had characterized the National Councils, and of carrying into full and complete effect the intentions of the Territorial Legislature, in relation to the site for the permanent seat of government of said territory, and which, by the provisions of the act herein before referred to, was to be selected "as near the centre of the Territory as might be, having due regard to the commercial advantages, and to the nature and situation of the country," reported, in his message to the said legislature, that the town of Cahawba "possessed, in his opinion, the advantages the legislature had in view; that it approached certainly nearer the centre of the Territory, and of its future permanent population, than any place equally eligible, and that he had communicated the result of his examination to the President of the United States, with the request that such parts of sections at Cahawba as he thought best calculated for the seat of government, might be reserved from sale, it being at that time selected by the General Government as an eligible site for a town, and the same being then actually by it advertised for sale in town lots; and that the President of the United States had acceded to his request. And his Excellency Gov. Bibb also transmitted with his message to the legislature of the then territory of Alabama a copy of his correspondence, together with a letter from the Commissioner of the General Land Office to the Register and Receiver, and also the report signed by three of the Commissioners, appointed in pursuance of one of the before recited acts, "to examine and report to the Governor the most eligible site for the seat of the territorial government," [see note B,] which said legislature on the 16th Nov. 1818, (Digest p. 814) passed an act in the words and figures following, to wit: "And be it further enacted, that from and after the adjournment of the present session of the legislature, the seat of government for the Alabama territory shall be established permanently at the town of Cahawba"- and also, by an act passed the 21st Nov. 1818, (same page) authorized the Governor to conclude with the Executive of the United States such arrangements respecting the location of the site of the seat of government, at the confluence of the Alabama and Cahawba rivers, as he might deem necessary to carry into effect the act of Congress in that behalf, passed at its previous session. Also appointing the said Governor a commissioner, with full power to lay off, or cause to be laid off, on such plan as
he might deem most suitable, a town at the place called and known as the town of Cahawba. Also, to cause the same to be laid off into lots to give notice of sale, and to sell to the highest bidder, &c. And also, in the 9th section of said act, the said Governor was authorized, out of the proceeds of the sale of the said lots, to contract for, and to cause to be erected, a building suitable for the temporary accommodation of the General Assembly of the territory or state, until permanent buildings might be thereafter provided. And the 10th section of said act provided that the temporary seat of government should be remain at Huntsville until suitable buildings and accommodations could be provided at the town of Cahawba, &c. &c. - all which will more fully appear by reference to the documents herewith subjoined, and to the acts passed by the said legislature for the time being, in relation to that subject. [See note C.] That by an act of the Congress of the United States, passed on the 2d March, 1819, entitled "an act to enable the people of the Alabama territory to form a constitution and state government, and for the admission of such state into the Union, on an equal footing with the original states" and which act was passed previous to the first sale of the town lots in Cahawba; it was amongst other things provided, "that in lieu of a section of land, provided to be reserved for the seat of government of the said territory, by an act entitled "an act respecting the surveying and sale of public lands in the Alabama territory," there be granted to the said State, for the seat of government thereof, a tract of land containing 1620 acres, and consisting of sundry fractions and quarter sections, in sections 31 and 32, in township 16, and range 10; and in sections 29 and 30, in the same township and range, lying on both sides of the Alabama and Cahawba rivers, and including the mouth of the river Cahawba and which theretofore had been reserved from public sale by order of the President of the United States [See note D.] That pursuant to the provisions of the act of the Legislature of the Territory of Alabama, passed on the 21st Nov. 1818, entitled "an act providing for the temporary and permanent seats of government," his Excellency Governor Bibb laid off the said town of Cahawba into lots, caused the same to be surveyed, marked and distinguished and gave public notice by advertisement, pursuant to the provisions of the said act, that the lots in the said town of Cahawba ( the permanent seat of government ) would be offered for sale to the highest bidder, &c. in conformity with the provisions of the said act. That at the first session of the first General Assembly of the State of Alabama, begun and held in the town of Huntsville, on the fourth Monday of October, in the year 1819, his Excellency Gov. Bibb, pursuant to the provisions of the last before recited act, reported to the said legislature, "that he had, pursuant to the provisions of an act of the last General Assembly, appointing the Governor a Commissioner to lay off, or cause to be laid off, on such plan as he should deem most suitable, a town at the junction of the rivers Alabama and Cahawba, and to offer the lots for sale to the highest bidder, one hundred and eighty-two lots were sold, for the sum of one hundred and twenty-three thousand, eight hundred and fifty six dollars; of which $30,964 (being one-fourth part,) was received at the time of sale, together with fifty one dollars and twenty-five cents, being the second instalment on lot No. 53- amounting in the whole to $31,015 25," [ see note E] which said sum last mentioned, after deducing therefrom the sum
of $9,600, or thereabouts, which was by the legislature appropriated to the building of the state house at Cahawba, and applied to that use by the said Bibb, Governor as aforesaid, was by him carried or transmitted to Huntsville, and was subsequently applied by the people of the Alabama Territory, in Convention assembled, to cover all and singular the expenses incident to holding the said Convention at Huntsville.
Your Committee beg leave further to report, that it appears to them that the several purchasers at the first sales of lots at Cahawba have paid into the State Treasury, for about 50 lots in the said town of Cahawba, the sum $50,751, which will more fully appear by referring to the statement heretofore presented by the Comptroller of Public Accounts for this State, and that of the Secretary of State to the General Assembly thereof. [See Note F.]
From all which premises your Committee are irresistibly led to the following conclusions: - That the purchasers of lots at the first sale at Cahawba purchased the same under the conviction and belief that they were purchasing lots at the permanent seat of government for the state of Alabama; that this convention was produced by the written and verbal declarations of the then Executive; that such were the facts; that if your honorable body will advert to the several acts of legislation on this subject emanating either from the Congress of the United States, or from the local Territorial Legislatures, it will readily be perceived that no other language was addressed to the public, and consequently to purchasers, than that "the seat of government" was permanently established at Cahawba, and that they purchased under the faith of the public, both express and implied, that they had become owners of lots at the permanent seat of government for the state of Alabama. Instead of which, and after many of the purchasers, at the first sales, have exhausted all their means and resources, to make good their pledges to this state in becoming purchasers, they at this late period discover that all their hopes and anticipations in reference to the permanent seat of government have been disappointed; the faith with the public had pledged to them, if not intentionally violated, at least disregarded, and many of them exposed to penury, injury and distress, by the great sacrifices they were compelled to make, to meet engagements to the same public; engagements from which they had sanguinely anticipated to be fully reimbursed at some short and future period. Your committee are therefore impressed with the serious and solemn conviction that the same rule of action which would legally apply between individuals, ought to apply where the state is a party; that if the constituted authorities of the state have held out a delusive phantom to purchasers from the operation of which they have been seriously injured and aggrieved, the same state ought, by the rule of honesty and right, which should invariably characterize our civil polity, extend relief to those purchasers at the first sale of lots in Cahawba; and they therefore recommend to your honorable body the passed of the following resolutions:-
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Alabama, in General Assembly convened, That the Seat of Government Fund he set apart to remunerate the holders of lots brought at the first sale of lots in said town, under a contract with the Territory.
Resolved, further, That be appointed Commissioners to view and report to the next General As-
sembly the damages which the lot holders, bought at the first sale, have sustained in the diminished value of their property by the removal of the Seat of Government from said town.
The resolution reported by the committee was read the first time- Ordered, that it lie on the table, and that one hundred copies of the report and resolution be printed for the use of the Senate.
Mr. Jackson introduced a bill to be entitled an act to repeal an act therein named, and for other purposes; which was read, and ordered to a second reading to-morrow.
A message from the House of Representatives by Mr. Vandyke:
Mr. President: The House of Representatives have adopted the following resolution, in which they desire your concurrence: Resolved, That a committee be appointed on the part of this House, to act with such committee as may be appointed on the part of the Senate, to take into consideration so much of the Governor's message as relates to the decease of the Ex-Presidents of the United States, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and that the said committee be authorized to make such arrangements as will enable the General Assembly of Alabama to express fully their sense of the distinguished services of the late Ex-Presidents. They have appointed a committee on their part, consisting of Messrs. Greening, Moore of Jack. Smith of Laud. Duke, Ellis and Rhodes. They have read three times and passed a bill which originated in your honorable body entitled an act to provide for an extra term of the Circuit Court in Mobile and Baldwin counties. They have also read three times and passed bills which originated in their House, entitled an act to amend an act, entitled an act to amend the act, entitled an act concerning wills and testaments, the settlement of intestate estates, and the duties of executors, administrators and guardians; an act to change the name of and render legitimate certain persons therein named; an act to provide for taking the census of this state; and, an act to repeal in part an act entitled an act authorizing William Blake to emancipate a negro man slave named Jacob, passed Dec. 31st, 1823: In all of which they desire your concurrence.
On motion of Mr. Bagby, Ordered, that the resolution from the House of Representatives, proposing the appointment of a joint committee to take into consideration so much of the Governor's message as relates to the decease of the Ex-Presidents of the United States, lie on the table
Mr. President laid before the Senate the following communication from the President of the State Bank:
To the President of the Senate:
SIR- Having long since determined to withdraw at a suitable time from the station which I now occupy, I beg leave, through you, to make known to the House, over which you preside, that I do not with any longer to be considered a candidate for the office of President of this Bank. For reasons very obvious, I think it my duty now to make known this my determination.
I will take this opportunity of expressing the deep sense of obligation which I feel for the repeated manifestations of partially and confidence, at first without my knowledge, and always without my solicitation, which have been exhibited towards me by the General Assembly. It is my most anxious wish, that a successor may be selected more competent, and equally desirous, to discharge the important trusts confided to him, with fidelity and impartiality.
Accept, Sir, assurances of respectful consideration,
Ordered, That the communication lie on the table.
Mr. Abercrombie, from the special committee to whom was referred the bill to be entitled an act to secure to the counties of Conecuh and Butler the right of electing assessors and tax collectors by the legal suffrage of the electors of said counties, reported the same as amended; which was concurred in.
Mr. Irwin moved further to amend the bill by adding the counties of "Henry, Pike and Covington;" which was carried.
Ordered, That the bill be engrossed and made the order of the day for a third reading to-morrow.
Bills from the House of Representatives, entitled an act to repeal in part an act entitled an act to authorized William Blake to emancipate a negro man slave named Jacob, passed De. 31, 1823; an act to amend an act, entitled an act to amend an act, entitled an act concerning wills and testaments, the settlement of intestate estates, and the duties of executors, administrators and guardians; an act to change the names and render legitimate certain persons therein named; and, an act to provide for taking the census of this state; were severally read the first time, and ordered to a second reading to-morrow.
Mr. Barton presented the accounts of John Duncan and Richard Corre &c. against the state, for articles furnished the LaFayette committee in Mobile; which were referred to the committee on accounts and claims.
Mr. Jones offered the following resolution: Resolved, that the judiciary committee be instructed to inquire into the expediency of passing a law to prevent the legal transfer of the right of property from the legitimate female heir, by the ceremony of marriage, and into the expediency of exempting by law such property as legally descends from parents to females, from the payment of any debts, bonds or obligations, which may be contracted, in future, by any man uniting himself to a woman in the bonds of matrimony, with leave to report by bill or otherwise; which was adopted.
Mr. Skinner presented the petition of sundry persons praying the passage of a law associating the Commissioners of roads and revenues with the Judge of the County Court, in making all appointments authorized to be made by the county judges, and in approving all bonds authorized to be taken by the County Court; and praying further, that no Judge of the County Court shall be authorized to practice law in partnership with any other attorney: which was read, and referred to a special committee. Whereupon Messrs. Skinner, Clay and Barton were appointed the committee.
A bill to be entitled an act to declare certain parts of the Choctawhatchee and Pea rivers public highways, was read the second time.- Ordered, that the bill be made the order of the day for a third reading to-morrow.
A bill to be entitled an act providing for the erection of the State Capitol, was read the second time. Ordered, that the bill be referred to a special committee. Whereupon, Messrs. Powell, Jackson and Brown were appointed the committee.
A bill to be entitled an act to amend the laws now in force for the punishment of malicious mischief, was read the second time, and ordered to lie on the table.
A bill to be entitled an act for the relief of Zephaniah Hicks was read the second time, and ordered to be read the third time to-morrow.
Mr. Brown presented the account of Daniel Ayres, of Jefferson county; which was referred to the committee on propositions and grievances.
Mr. Powell introduced a bill to be entitled an act to repeal in part an act to establish the town of Carthage, in Tuscaloosa county; which was read, and ordered to a second reading to-morrow.
And then the Senate adjourned till to-morrow morning at 10 o'clock.