The Senate met pursuant to adjournment.
A message was received from the House of Representatives by Mr. Tunstall informing the Senate that the Representative branch of the Legislature had convened and elected the Hon. Samuel W. Oliver their Speaker, Thomas B. Tunstall, principal clerk; James Brown, door-keeper; Aron Ready, assist't clerk; Wm. B. McClellan, engrossing clerk, and were ready to proceed to business.
On motion of Mr. Crabb, Resolved, That a committee be appointed on the part of the Senate to act with such committee as may be appointed on the part of House of Representatives to wait on the Governor and inform him that the two Houses of the General Assembly are organized and ready to received any communication he may think proper to make: Whereupon, Messrs Crabb and Casey were appointed the committee on the part of the Senate.
Ordered, that the House of Representatives be informed thereof.
On motion of Mr. Powell, Resolved, That the following standing committees be appointed.
A committee of propositions and grievances;
A joint committee on enrolled Bills;
A judiciary committee;
A committee on privileges and elections;
A committee on Inland Navigation;
A committee on Roads, Bridges and Ferries;
A committee on county boundaries;
A committee on accounts and claims;
A committee on schools and colleges and school and college lands;
A committee on the State Bank;
A Military committee; - and
A committee on Divorce and Alimony;
Mr. Sullivan offered the following Resolution: Resolved, That a special committee be appointed to draw resolutions to instruct our Senators and request our Representatives in the Congress of the United States to use their best endeavors to procrastinate the sales of the public Lands in the Tuskaloosa and Cahawba Districts now advertised to be sold in February next, till the expiration of the ensuing year.
Ordered, that the resolution lie on the table till Wednesday next.
Mr. Casey offered the following Resolution: Resolved, That a select committee be appointed on the apportionment and that the census be referred to said committee which was adopted: Whereupon Messrs. Casey, Jackson, Powell, Sullivan, and Hubbard, were appointed said committee.
Mr. President laid before the Senate a communication in writing signed by George F. Salle and addressed to the President of the Senate, complaining of certain official acts of the Hon. Abner S. Lipscomb, Judge of
the first Judicial Circuit, and demanding of the Senate an investigation of the conduct of Judge Lipscomb; which was read.
On motion of Mr. Jackson ordered, that the communication from Mr. Salle, lie on the table, till Monday next.
Mr. Jackson presented the petition of William W. Garrard clerk of the County Court of Lauderdale County praying to be exempted from the operation of a law declaring the office of a clerk vacated, by four months absence of the incumbent; which was read and referred to the judiciary committee.
Mr. Jackson also presented the petition of sundry citizens of Florence praying an amendment of the act incorporating the Town of Florence, which was read and referred to a special committee consisting of Messrs. Jackson, Hubbard and Skinner, to consider and report thereon.
Mr. Jackson also presented the petition of Henry Donahoo, Mahala Farrar and others, praying the passage of a law authorising the emancipation of a negro woman named Patience, which was read and referred to special committee consisting of Messrs. Jackson, Hubbard and Moore-- to consider and report thereon.
Mr. Crabb from the joint committee appointed to wait on the Governor and inform him of the organization of the two Houses and of their readiness to receive any communication he might think proper to make reported that the committee had performed the duty assigned them and received for answer from the Governor, that he would make a communication in writing to the two Houses this day at the hour of 11 o'clock.
A communication in writing was then received from the Governor by James I. Thornton, Esq. Secretary of State; which was read and is as follows:-
TUSKALOOSA, Nov. 20th, 1827.
FELLOW CITIZENS: - It is not idle ceremony, or an expression of mere formal usage, to congratulate you on your arrival at the theatre of your public labors. Should such an assemblage be regarded without solemn and patriotic emotions, it would afford evidence that the blessings of the government which we enjoy were but imperfectly apprehended, and that there had been but little reflection, on the numerous and essential interests, which are entrusted to the management of the Representatives of a Free People. Filling a co-ordinate branch of the same high and responsible service, and pursuing alike the dictates of sensibility and duty, I tender to you my sincere and hearty congratulations. The diversified concerns of civil society, extending into numerous ramifications and dependencies some needing the cherishing hand of sound policy, and others, requiring to be brought forth, and sustained to vigorous maturity, call for the exercise of more than common powers, and need the efforts of the most sedulous diligence. With these labors in view, it is most reasonable as well as most natural to look up with humility to the Great Source of light and wisdom for the necessary aid. From thence may be obtained the knowledge to devise, and the Providence to conduct to an happy issue. And here let us cherish the feelings of a duty no less incumbent than pleasing and join our devout aspirations of gratitude, to the Great Author of all Good, for past favors for present circumstances, and for future prospects.
It may long continue doubtful to what degree of perfection the affairs of human society may possibly attain, and upon this subject we can have
no satisfactory data but those which result from experience. It is however, very clearly our duty, to provide by all possible means for the happiness of our own community, to receive and to communicate to others, a portion of light on the science of free government. Man is by nature destined for action and for enjoyment- He has powers to employ, and passions to restrain. Progression enters into the constitution of his nature, and is essential to his happiness. The principles of a good and wise policy would therefore seem to be these; that his energies should be properly directed to wise and useful objects; that the injurious impulses of passion should be restrained by moral dissuasives and more positive sanctions, and that continual prospects might be opened to him, of greater progress in virtue, respectability and happiness.- Although much of all this must be done by every individual for himself, yet the influence of government, upon the pursuits and moral energy of men is great, and undeniable Government is the great law, if I may so speak, to which all look up with reverence and submission. It regulates the great outlines of our course, and frequently descends into the minutia of our character. The object of these remarks, necessarily brief and imperfect, is simply this; that whatever concerns man, in the entire range of his pursuits, and the whole circle of his enjoyments, whatever properly restrains him or beneficially excites him, is the legitimate subject of a liberal and enlightened legislation. Legislation should not be confined alone to the repressing of crimes, the adjustment of rights, the security of property from the violence and injustice of selfish feelings, and the regulation of things necessary for the establishment of government itself, but should take in also the whole scope of human interests, and should be a pillar of cloud and of fire to conduct to the maximum of individual and social happiness. In despotic governments less than this will necessarily be sought, because the attainment of the whole world subvert the principles upon which they are founded; but in free institutions, this universal concern, composes their highest honor and recommendation.
In the existing condition of our own government, we have to regret the occasional commission of insulated outrage, which the administration of the laws will punish and restrain; but are consoled by many unerring indications that our civil and moral condition is greatly improving. The laws are obeyed and respected; a very large majority of the population give their weight and influence to support them. In common with the other happy states to which we are united, we have no popular commotions, nor the distraction of conflicting interests and designs, as the law which governs the whole has a sanction equal to that of the universal will.
But in the midst of these blessings, it is believed, that there is, from various causes, and that there is impending, an unusual pressure of pecuniary distress. Coming from the bosom of the people, and charged with their wants and their wishes, you will have more certain and extensive information on this subject, than this Department has had an opportunity to obtain. The present remarks, however, will proceed upon the supposition, that there is and will be, pecuniary difficulty of a temporary duration; and it will be a source of much happiness, if the impression should prove to be erroneous. Human society, in all ages of the world, and in all countries, has been subjected to unexpected reverses and difficulties, which the ordinary exercise of prudence was not able to avert. In addition to the common mutability of human things, there is something in the nature, incidents, or use of money, as being the medium through which
all the necessary exchanges of society are effected, that independently of the real condition of any community, frequently occasions peculiar embarrassment. It is one of the most humane and endearing operations of Government, to afford remedy for these evils whenever they unfortunately arise. In our own community, they threaten us, not from luxury and extravagance long and gradually induced, not from slothfulness in business, or remissness in devising the ordinary means by which competence, comfort and wealth are secured. But they have originated in general from the reverse of all these- from the excess of enterprise and industry, balked and borne down by unforeseen contingencies, and disappointed, if not misguided calculations. Those who were led by their ardent devotion to the interest of their families, to anticipate their future labors, in order to obtain more ample means for the present prosecution of that sacred object, find themselves subject to ruin, and to great loss, by events which no ordinary prudence could foresee, and which did not enter into calculations which were deemed temperate and judicious- The most arduous labor, aided by the most exact and rigid economy; has not proved sufficient to afford a remedy. A fond, a lingering hope of better times, has only rendered the crisis more difficult. The case would not seem to be much variant from the following simple statement; a laborious, enterprising, economical, and judicious community, have become embarrassed by the sudden and continued fall in the price of the staple productions of the country. The times which immediately proceeded were prosperous in the extreme. They allured the better passions to aim at meas more speedily to acquire competence and comfort for our families. This illusive but endearing phantom was cherished in the imagination, and assumed to itself the high attributes of sober reason, and accurate judgment. The anxious enquiry remains, what remedy can be applied to the present state of things? If by any safe means, the present pressure might be mitigated, the extraordinary industry and resources of the country would speedily redeem all past errors. If time could be given, much distress might be alleviated, but many valuable citizens saved, not perhaps, from loss or sacrifice, but from absolute ruin. If any of the causes of distress be within the control of the Public Authorities they should be diligently removed. Our circulating medium is deficient, and the annual drain from the purchase of Public Land, will cause it to continue so for some time to come. The money goes into the public coffers, and very slowly returns. It operates as if the balance of trade were against us, to its entire amount. The country does not become poorer by the purchase of Public Land, but the greater the quantity of land, which is purchased, the more deficient the circulating medium becomes, and the more distressed in the country therefore appears. We have not money left sufficient for our home, or internal trade. It is evident, that while we continue to be purchasers of land from the United States, the quantity of circulating medium ought to be greater than would be necessary under other circumstances; that is, if we purchase land from another. When it is found that money is scarce, or, in other words, that there is not a sufficient quantity for the transactions of the country, on a fair and equitable scale, and that therefore it has acquired an adventitious value, the fears of some are alarmed; the capacity of others excited - the consternation spreads- and in a short time, a small sum of it is sufficient to purchase property far exceeding its permanent value. The deficiency of our circulation is already felt, and may be much more so, if a remedy is not provided. And here the difficult
question naturally arises, what remedy shall be restored to? The increases of the capital of the State Bank, if found convenient and practicable, would seem to be the most obvious and effectual remedy, and that best suited to the present circumstances of the community. The increase of the circulating medium thus occasioned, would pass into the hands of the debtor part of the population, and enable them to keep up their property at something like a fair price, property pledged for the payment of their debts, or pay the creditor off without ultimate sale or sacrifice. It would prove, in many cases, beneficial to the creditors also. When the property of the debtor is said at a very inadequate price, a few of the most pressing creditors are paid, and the means of paying the rest consumed, when there was enough to pay all at a fair price, and perhaps a residuum left for the debtor. Should the General Assembly find occasion seriously to contemplate this subject, their wisdom will suggest the safest and most adequate expedients. The people might thus be accommodated, requiring of them the most undoubted security. It is not supposed that a large and dangerous sum would be necessary, to afford a very extensive and essential relief- The pressing debts of individuals are probably not so great, but they compose a sum unknown. The impression gets abroad that there is a large amount of money which must be raised in the country; the capitalist holds back and increases the apprehension of the scarcity of money; the debtor becomes alarmed and submits, to ruinous sacrifices, or is forced to make them under the Sheriff's hammer- The ruin of the debtor involves nothing more immoral or corrupt than the usual operations of self interest. The man who would cheerfully become his security, to save him from ruin, or even great loss, would perhaps be content to buy his property at a very inadequate price, when offered at public Auction. It satisfies the sensibility of ordinary friendship to be the last bidder, and to give more than others were inclined to do. Any accommodating which could be safely extended, would not, and perhaps ought not to prevent the sale of much property, and some sacrifice on the sale, but it would make the sale better, and the sacrifice less. It would operate as so much direct completion to save the debtor from ruin. The dispensation of Divine Providence, which has lessened the annual means of the State, but to which a cheerful and humble submission should be given, renders it the more necessary to interpose relief, if relief indeed can be afforded. The subject is submitted to your wise and patriotic consideration.
In May last the Tombeckbe Bank failed to make payment of its notes in Specie. This was attended by a speedy depreciation of its paper. By this unfortunate failure, the circulating currency of the State, at all times insufficient, was greatly reduced. The tax collectors received the earliest notification. Many persons who had prepared money in those Bills, in order to avail themselves of the benefit of the Act of Congress in regard to the public lands, were ultimately disappointed in their views, as the money would not be received at the land offices, after the failure to pay specie. This forms a just and necessary ground, upon which an application should be made to the Congress of the United States for a revival of the Act, or the passage of one with simular provisions. In pursuance of the Act of the General Assembly of the State passed in the year 1821, I directed the solicitor of the first judicial circuit to institute proceedings in the nature of a Quo Warranto against the Tombeckbe Bank, and associated with him assistant council. The recent session of the court of Washington county has prevented a report from being yet received. I have the honor to for-
ward herewith a statement of the affairs of the Bank, which was forwarded to this Department by order of the President and Board of Directors. Any expedient which the wisdom of the General Assembly may devise to secure the rights of those who hold the paper of the Bank, will receive a most ready co-operation.
I beg leave to recommend such revision of the criminal law, a will, more effectually ensure the proper application to it. The principal inconvenience seems to result from the manner in which the jury to try criminals is obtained. The employment of talisman would also seem to be too frequent in civil cases. The purity, as well as the sound intelligence of the jury is obviously essential and the greatest caution should be used to ensure these necessary qualifications. Any error or defect here, will tend to affect justice in one of its principal sources. I would also recommend that some proper mode may be devised for the trial of slaves with the least necessary delay. This may be done, it is presumed, in perfect consistence with the rights and justice, which are secured to them under the humanity of the laws. There may be perhaps a saving of expense to the community, and of loss to the owner, without any disadvantage to the accused.
The administration of justice both civil and criminal, in the purest and ablest manner is essential to the best interests of the country. Our growing population, and consequent increase of business, devolve heavy duties on those who are entrusted to administer it. The Judges of the circuit courts are exclusively engaged in the duties of their offices. The expense attending their itineration in their several circuits is very considerable, leaving a reduced amount of net compensation. I beg leave to recommend that their several salaries be raised to two thousand dollars per annum. The solicitors also do not appear to receive adequate compensation. They claim justice on the part of the State, against every class of public offenders. They are excluded by their office from a very lucrative branch of their profession. In a single criminal case, fees are not unfrequently obtained by other lawyers, which exceed the amount of their annual compensation. The fees which they are allowed by law for the conviction of criminals, are in general badly paid. Those who trespass upon the good order of society, are seldom provident in their own affairs, and want ability, as well as inclination to pay. Those officers should have high talents to gain respect, and elevation of character to inspire awe. I beg leave to recommend that their salary be increased to five hundred dollars or that the fees allowed them on convictions which cannot be recovered from the parties, be paid out of some public fund, provided for that purpose. The design is, some suitable way, to increase their compensation and should the General Assembly be inclined to do so, they will judge of the best means.
Connected with these is another subject which I deem of great importance. We have no adequate and permanent report of Cases adjudicated in the Supreme Court of the State-- The decisions of the Supreme Court become the law of the land, and are most important to be known. They include, as a matter of course, those doubtful cases upon which men may be expected to differ in opinion. They involve the more intricate arrangements of business, and the more doubtful principles of right and obligation. Hence they become, if possible, more necessary to be known than any other law. But as it is now, they can only be known to professional then, and very imperfectly, or with much difficulty, even to them.
I beg leave, therefore, to recommend the creation of the office of a State Reporter of legal cases adjudicated in the last resort. To this office might be connected the periodical Digest of the laws, and perhaps other duties which might there be safely committed, will from time to time present themselves. In order to command sufficient talents, there should be attached to the office a suitable compensation, which the sale of the reports, and other services, will in part repay.
In any communication like the present, it would be highly improper to omit the subject of Education. In our recent establishment, much must be left for the present to the wisdom and good sense of the individuals composing the community; still the public authorities ought to be engaged in devising and maturing the plans which will hereafter be carried into effect: The whole body of the people must be educated. This is alike the dictate of humanity morals and sound policy. For this purpose, no doubt different systems will be adopted, accommodated to the difference of local circumstances. In dense settlements schools may be obtained for all, and afford them the advantage of going from their homes. In other places, schools must be provided upon the most improved plans, and the students boarded at the places of their instruction. We have many examples before us and an opportunity of ascertaining their respective results. It is incumbent on us also, to devise new systems to obviate, if possible the imperfection of those in actual operation. There should be great freedom of thought, and enlargement of design, in the accomplishment of beneficial purposes. I do not believe that the present situation of the country is favorable to the immediate adoption of general systems. Individuals must, perhaps, be left for a short time, to act without any very efficient public aid. But every indication ought to be given, that at the shortest possible period, this aid will be afforded with all practicable effect. The University must be considered of primary importance n any general system. It will furnish instructors and disseminate the love of literature. From various causes, the location of this Institution has been delayed. It is not doubted that this delay will contribute to its ultimate effect and prosperity. A much longer procrastination however would be unnecessary and injurious. The principal difficulty now seems to be, to select the most favorable position. It must be confessed, that much of the prosperity of the Institution, will depend on a judicious location of it. Should the general Assembly from any cause, postpone the location beyond the period of their present session, I beg leave to recommend, that suitable persons be appointed to examine and report the best situations. Such an appointment may afford valuable information derived, as it must be from actual inspection with reference to a special object, and given under the highest sanctions of honor and patriotism. One Commissioner from each Judicial Circuit, would, perhaps, be a sufficient number. The examination should be made in conjunction, but each individual commissioner report his own separate views.
I cannot but again bring to your view the interests of agriculture, and recommend that they be brought, in every practicable degree within the range of your public deliberations. I have the honor to transmit you, a letter from Gen. Lafayettee, and a letter from a Swiss gentlemen who wishes to settle, with a small colony, in some part of the Southern States. To these letters immediate attention was given. Some such opportunity as this might be improved, and means perhaps might be devised, to obtain skilful cultivators of staples almost unknown to us, or at least very imperfectly cultivated. It must contribute to the comfort, independence
and wealth of our citizens to multiply productions, and raise their own supplies as much as possible.
Great attention to internal improvement marks the genius and progress of the present age. Canals and rail roads have become the objects of very general interest. It will be worthy of enquiry and observation whether this state does not afford peculiar facilities for the last mentioned kind of improvement. The vallies which traverse the elevated parts of the country, in the direction of the sea coast from the Tennessee River, and the valley of the Tennessee river itself, may be found to afford very great convenience and facility. Rail Roads are supposed not to yield the palm of utility even to artificial water communication. They are comparatively cheap, safe and expeditious- We shall have it in our power aided by the light derived from the experience of others, to select in every case the kind of improvement which may seem most advisable. Means which the wisdom of the General Assembly will suggest might be usefully employed to obtain information on these interesting subjects.
The Solicitor of the First Judicial Circuit, instituted proceedings against the St. Stephens' Steam Boat Company, to determine the question of their Banking privileges. The case remains undecided in the Supreme Court of the State. At the next session, in all probability the question will be determined.
The boundary line between this State and the State of Georgia, remains unadjusted. Some more effectual measures for the settlement of the controversy, and the establishment of the line, would no doubt or desirable to both states; and the sooner it is done the less difficulty will probably attend it.
I received a communication from the Ordnance Department of the United States, that one thousand one hundred and thirteen muskets or arms of an equal estimated value, were due to this State, as the quota of the public arms for the years 1823, 4, 5, and 6. and that they were ready for delivery according to order. I thought proper to direct, that two six pound pieces of artillery should be furnished, on hundred and twenty artillery swords, one hundred and twenty rifles with accoutrements complete, five hundred cavalry sabers, and the residue, in muskets without accoutrements. The cannon were ordered to encourage the formation of artillery companies, for rifles for flank companies of that description, the sabers for the equipment of cavalry. It was thought inexpedient to order pistols for the present, as the State was entitled but to a small quantity of arms, and that they were not absolutely necessary to the discipline of cavalry. They are besides, a species of private arms very common in the country, and therefore not so necessary as the sabers, when a sufficient quantity of both could not be procured. There is a company of artillery at Claiborne. The formation of them should be encouraged at the Seat of Government, and at our principal towns-- The General Assembly will direct the distribution which will be made of these arms.
The report of the Directors, and the annual examination of the affairs of the State Bank, will give to the General Assembly, and to the public, ample information in regard to that Institution. In this communication, I deem it wholly unnecessary to anticipate in any degree, the information which will be fully obtained from these sources.
The system of protecting duties which occupied the attention of Congress at the last, and which will probably be urged upon their consideration at the present session, may well deserve your serious reflection.
is the duty of every member of the confederation, to have their full weight of counsel and advisement in all great measures of national policy. There is too much reason to believe that the proposed Tariff will prove to be highly impolitic unequal and oppressive. It is not the intention to enter into the argument which has been so ably managed by others, but to suggest the subject to your careful and impartial consideration.
The following persons have been appointed to fill vacancies which occured during the recess of the General Assembly, viz:
Benjamin Wilkinson, Judge of the County Court of Clarke County, vice Edward Kennedy, resigned; Nimrod E. Benson, Judge of the county Court of Montgomery county, vice Benajah S. Bibb resigned: Thomas Owen, Judge of the county court of Tuscaloosa county, vice Hume R. Field, resigned; John M. Coil, Judge of the county court of Pike county, vice _______ Sikes resigned; J. M. M. White, Solicitor of the 5th Judicial Circuit, vice James G. Birney resigned James Davis, Solicitor of the 4th Judicial Circuit, vice David Hubbard resigned John B. Hogan, Adjutant General, vice Isaac Welborne, resigned; The Judges of the county Courts of St. Clair. Fayette and Dale, have recently resigned, their commissions and no appointment has been made.
I have the honor herewith to transmit the Resolutions of several States, to be submitted to your consideration.
In the labors of the present session, the greatest possible unanimity consistent with unbiased thinking and free discussion, should distinguish as heretofore the Representatives of the people. In the public service, there cannot be ground upon which serious or permanent dissensions can rest. it being the end, and aim and duty of all to promote the common interest, and strengthen the ties of the common connection which bind us together. A generous pride in the several parts which compose our civil association, will lead to acts of mutual conciliation and esteem. The bond cemented by affection will increase in strength and continue for ever. I invoke the blessing of Heaven on your public labors.
Mr. Casey moved that the communication lie on the table and that one thousand copies thereof be printed for the use of the Senate, which was lost
The yeas and nays being desired those who voted in the affirmative are Messrs Abercrombie, Ash, Casey, Crabb, Hubbard, Irwin, Moore and Sullivan--Those who voted in the negative are Mr. President, Brown, Earle, Jackson, Jones, McCamy, Merriwether, Powell and Skinner.
On motion of Mr. Casey ordered that the said communication lie on the table and that eight hundred copies thereof be printed for the use of the Senate and then the Senate adjourned till tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock.