RESOLUTIONS instructing our Senators and requesting our Representatives in Congress, to use their best efforts to procure for this state the immediate right to the lands acquired by the recent treaty at the Indian Springs, &c.
The select committee to whom was referred His Excellencys communication, concerning the interest which this state has in the lands acquired by the recent treaty with the Creek Indians at the Indian Springs; and concerning the provision that ought to be made for, and the disposition that ought to be made of, the Indians residing thereon, beg leave to report, That they fully accord in the views of his excellency, as expressed in the enlightened and humane communication aforesaid; believing, as this committee does, that a due and proper attention to our interest in relation to that subject, is not inconsistent with a humane and liberal policy towards the native Indians; and that they recommend to Congress and adoption of such measures in providing for said Indians, not adverse to the interest of this state, as may conduce to their comfort, and their moral and social condition. In relation to the other object referred to in said communication, the committee recommend the adoption of the following resolution: Resolved, be the Senate and House of Representatives of the state of Alabama, in general assembly convened, That our Senators in Congress be instructed and our Representatives requested to use their best effort to procure for this state the immediate right to that part of the land acquired by said treaty, lying within the chartered limits of this state.
2. Resolved further, That His Excellency be requested to transmit to our Senators and Representatives in Congress one copy of the Executive communication and the foregoing resolutions.
RESOLUTIONS instructing our Senators and requesting our Representatives in Congress to use their best endeavors to procure the passage of a law to reduce the price of the public lands.
The legislature of the state of Alabama, would respectfully represent to the Congress of the United States, that the present mode of selling the public land to the highest bidder, though free from most of the objections attending the former system, is liable to some abusers in practice, that it would be very desirable to correct or obviate. Every public sale is attended by a host of speculators, who really do not wish to own the soil, but to extort a premium from the occupants for the privilege of purchasing the cabin they have built, and the field they have cleared. To effect that object, they enter into a combination, and act in concert. They threaten the occupant, to run his land to a higher price, than his means will enable him to give, unless he will pay them not to bid against hem, or buy the land from them at a considerable profit. Thus combined, they levy a contribution on the honest and industrious part of the community, and divert considerable sums from the treasury. A single individual has no chance to compete with such a formidable combination. The fear of being driven from his home compels him to yield to such terms as may be prescribed. Competition is stifled, and the land bid off at the minimum price, in may instanced, when a fair competition, would enhance the price considerably. The Legislature can see no remedy for this evil, but in change of the mode of selling the public land, and would there-fore, suggest, with great respect and deference, the propriety of dividing the unsold land into three or more classes, and fixing a price on each class, at which it might be entered. A much better price would be obtained by the government
and the citizen perhaps, give less for his land. A price sufficiently high, might be fixed in the first instance, to guard against loss to the treasury, That price might be reduced at suitable intervals, if not entered at the former price, until all the land, in any manner fit for cultivation, would be entered. The legislature is aware, that dividing the lands in classes according to quality, where the surveys are completed, would be attended with some little expense, but feel very confident, that the increased price would greatly exceed the additional expense. The offering of great bodies of land for sale at the same time, is calculated to drain the country of money, by inducing all who are able, to purchase at the same time. By this means great embarrassment is felt in the traffic and commerce on the country. This exhaustion of the circulating medium, would, in a great measure, be avoided by the proposed system. Entries would be made from time to time, and the money thereby withdrawn from the common course of business, less sensibly felt. There would be great propriety in ultimately reducing the quantity to be entered to forty acres, and the price to twenty-five cents an acre. Should this system be adopted, there can be no doubt, that the United States would receive a great deal more money for their land, and the citizen obtain a home for less, than he will inevitably have to give, if the speculators can force him to buy from them, the privilege of buying from the government, as they certainly will do, if the auction system is continued. The gradual reduction of the price, from time to time, at such intervals, as will allow time for a fair experiment, will sell the food lands for their value more nearly, that they bring at auction; and ultimately sell a vast quantity of poor land, that can never be sold under the present system. It is highly important to every government, that the soil should be taxable. Under the system of cash sales, it cannot be important to continue the prohibition of the power of the state, to tax the land for five years from the date of the purchase. That restriction, it is believed, was a part of the old credit system, and should have been abolished with it. Many citizens of this state are living on public land. They have improved it by their labor; and if the system of offering the land for a fixed price shall be adopted, the actual settler might be allowed a preference in the right to purchase for a reasonable period, through all the graduations of price, without the least prejudice to the treasury. The land should be subject to entry by the actual settler, at the price fixed, for a limited time; and if he failed to do so, it should be subject to entry by any other person, for another space; and if not then entered, the price should be reduced, and the preference at the reduced price again allowed to the settler. Should this be done, many poor men will procure land on which they can raise their families. The country at large will be greatly improved, its industry increased and its morals cherished.
1. Resolved therefore, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Alabama, in General Assembly convened, that our Senators be, and they are hereby, instructed, and our Representatives requested, to use their best endeavors to procure the passage of a law to dispose of the public lands, in the manner recommended in the foregoing memorial.
2. Resolved, also, that our Senators be instructed, and our Representatives requested to use their best endeavors, to procure for this State the land lying within its limits, to which the Indian title was extinguished by the treaty made at the Indian Springs; and particularly, that they use their best endeavors to prevent the settlement of the Creek Indians, residing in the State of Georgia, within the limits of this state.
3. And be it further resolved, That the Governor, be, and he is hereby, requested to forward one copy of the foregoing memorial and resolutions, to each of our Senators and Representatives in Congress.
A JOINT RESOLUTION memorializing Congress in relation to certain public works therein named.
Whereas, it is highly important to the interests of this state, that the assailable points on our sea board should be placed in a proper state of defence, to resist the aggressions of an invading foe, and believing that this subject can be best effected in time of peace; and, whereas, considerable expense has been already incurred, by the government of the United States, in the commencement of a public work, on Dauphin Island, at the mouth of Mobile Bay, the completion of which, whilst it would add much to the protection of the Bay and the city of Mobile, would be, also, an important link in the chain of defence for the sea board at large:
Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the state of Alabama, in general assembly convened, That our Senator in Congress be instructed, and our Representatives requested, to use their best efforts to obtain an appropriation for prosecuting the work at Dauphin Island. And, whereas, also, much inconvenience and delay would, in the event of hostilities, attend the present mode by which this state is furnished with munitions of war, in consequence of the circuitous rout by which they are transported; and believing there are may points on the Tennessee river, within the limits of this state, eminently calculated for the establishment of a public arsenal and armory, and from which our wants in time of war would be more readily supplied than by the present mode:
Be it further resolved, That our Senators and Representatives aforesaid, be requested to use their best exertions to obtain an appropriation for the erection and establishment of an arsenal and armory, on some point of the Tennessee river, within the limits of this state.
Be it resolved, That his excellency the Governor, be requested to cause to be sent to each of our Senators and Representatives in Congress, one copy of the above resolutions.
JOINT RESOLUTION in relation to a grant of land by Congress to the Corporation of the city of Mobile.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Alabama in General Assembly convened, That our Senators in Congress be instructed, and our Representatives requested, to use their best exertions to obtain, for the corporation of the city of Mobile, a grant of the privilege or purchasing, from the United States, four contiguous sections of public land, on Spring Hill, near said city, or the quantity contained in four entire sections; as a place of retreat for health to the inhabitants of said city.
And be it further resolved, That his excellency the Governor, be requested to transmit a copy of the foregoing resolution, together with a copy of the executive communication, and the accompanying document on the same subject, to each of our Senators and Representatives, to be laid before Congress.
A JOINT RESOLUTION authoring his excellency the Governor to order the Quarter Master-General of this State to deliver sixty stand of arms, of those belonging to the State, to the Independent Blues of Mooresville, Limestone County.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Alabama in General Assembly convened, That his excellency the Governor be, and he is hereby, required to order the quarter-master-general of this state to deliver sixty stand of arms, of those belonging to the state, to the Independent Blues of Mooresville, Limestone county, upon the officer, commanding said company, entering into bond, with good and sufficient security, to the Governor of the state
of Alabama and his successors in office, for the safe keeping or return in good order of the said arms, whenever he shall think it expedient Provided, That the arms now in boxes in the arsenal shall not be subject to delivery under this resolution.
A JOINT RESOLUTION relating to the boundary line between the State of Alabama and the State of Georgia.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the state of Alabama in General Assembly convened, That the Governor be, and he is hereby, authorized and required to appoint two fit persons, as commissioners, to co-operate with such commissioners as may be appointed on the part of the state of Georgia, to ascertain the boundary line between that state and the state of Alabama, according to the terms of the compact made between the United States and the state of Georgia, in the year eighteen hundred and two; and the commissioners, so appointed, shall perform said duty, whenever required by the Governor.
JOINT RESOLUTION authorizing the Governor to procure certain Maps and Books for the use of the Executive Office of this State.
Resolved, with the concurrence of the Senate, That the Governor be, and he is hereby, authorized to procure, for the use of the executive office, one complete copy of the laws of the United States, including Ingersolls digest, and one map of the World, one map of North and South America, and one map of the United States.
RESOLUTION, instructing our Senators and requesting our Representatives in Congress, to use their exertions to procure the passage of an act of Congress, to alter the times of holding the District court at Mobile.
Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Alabama, in General Assembly convened, That our Senators in Congress be instructed, and our Representatives requested, to use their exertions to procure the passage of an act f Congress, to authorize the holding of the district court of Mobile, in lieu of the times now directed by law, on the first Monday in May, and on the second Monday in December, in each and every year.
A RESOLUTION authorizing the Governor to appoint commissioners to adjust the unsettled accounts between this state and the state of Mississippi.
Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the state of Alabama in general assembly convened, That the Governor be and he is hereby authorized to appoint two commissioners, to adjust the unsettled accounts between this state and the state of Mississippi. And full power is hereby given to said commissioners to adjust and finally settle the accounts aforesaid, according to the provisions of the ninth section of an act of Congress entitled an act to establish a separate territorial government for the eastern part of the Mississippi territory.
MEMORIAL to the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled.
The Memorial of the Senate and House of Representatives of the state of Alabama in General Assembly convened, respectfully represents, That a considerable portion of the debt contracted by citizens of the state of Alabama for lands of the United States, sold prior to the first day of
July, in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty, remains unpaid. The act of Congress heretofore passes for the relief of purchasers of the public lands, while they extended relief to the unfortunate debtor, contributed to the increase of the public revenue, and tended to destroy the odious relation of debtor and creditor which existed between the government and its citizens. Those acts, wish and beneficent as they were, have not however, carried relief into the bosom of may meritorious families who are dependent for their support upon the sweat of their own brow and for salvation from utter ruin, upon the justice and liberality of the general government. Many persons not then recovered from the infatuation produced by a period of unexampled but deceitful prosperity, failed to accept the boon which had been proffered by the general government, and only postponed the time of their suffering by claiming a further credit upon the lands which they had purchased. It is known to the Congress of the United States what untoward circumstances combined, prior to the first of July, eighteen hundred and twenty, to give a fictitious value to every article of merchandize; and to wild and unsettled lands in the Mississippi territory, a supposed value beyond that of the best improved lands in the most populous parts of the United States. More than four millions of dollars of Mississippi stock, issued while three-fourths of the Mississippi territory were covered with Indian titles, were to be redeemed at the treasury of the United States after paying to the state of Georgia one million two hundred thousand dollars, and defraying the expenses of surveying and selling the public lands lying in that territory. This stock was, however, receivable in payment of the public lands lying in that territory, purchased after the date of the said stock. Much of this stock was purchased by persons desirous to lay it our in lands in the Mississippi territory, at from forty to fifty dollars for the hundred. The depreciation of this stock induced purchasers of the public lands to give more than double the amount they would have otherwise given for the same land, to be paid for in money. The high price of the staple product of the soil in the states of Alabama and Mississippi, which continued only a sufficient time to make the ruin of the citizens the more complete, added to the high prices of the public lands, and increases the calamity which finally overwhelmed the purchasers. At that time too, the paper issuing from a multitude of banks without capital, and procured easily, increased the facilities of paying the first instalment upon lands, purchases at prices varying from twenty to one hundred dollars per acre. It is known that the Mississippi stock, from the enormous prices of the lands purchased with it, was very soon almost withdrawn from the market, or attained a value a little less than its nominal amount. Lands purchased with a medium thus depreciated, with the paper of banks which soon ceases to exist, and when cotton commanded thirty to less than ten cents per pound. A just regard to the rights and interests of the citizens required of the government, at this crisis, a manifestation of its paternal regard, and a modification of the contracts which were ruinous to the citizens and not beneficial to the government. Relief was extended to the purchasers of the public lands by several acts of
Congress. From unavoidable accident, from want of information, or from a vain hope of complying with a contract, the ruinous nature of which was not yet discovered, many of the purchasers of lands in the state of Alabama, failed to relinquish their purchases in conformity to the acts of Congress passes for their relief. The wealth of a nation is founded on the prosperity of its citizens, and the strength of the government is bases on the affections of the people. To strengthen the southern frontier has heretofore been the laudable object of the government. With this view they have laid the foundation of a fortification in the state of Alabama, which will be viewed by future generations as a monument of the wisdom and magnanimity of the age in which it was founded. It would not consist with this wise policy of the government, nor with its magnanimity, to turn from his home, which has been reclaimed from the wilderness by hard and scanty means, the yeoman who is ever ready to defend the soil at the bidding of his country. The interest of the government, it is conceived, even if it were to regard its revenue alone, would be promoted by granting relief to its citizens. At the end of six and eight years for which credit has been claimed, the husbandman will find himself still unable to pay for his land. No payment will be made in the meantime, because he cannot hope to obtain a title for the land which he had purchases. At the expiration of the time for which credit has been claimed, the lands will revert to the United States after eight years of ruinous cultivation. The Legislature of the state of Alabama cannot forbear respectfully to suggest a wish, in behalf of its citizens, that the Congress of the United States will take into its consideration the situation of the purchasers of public lands, and extend for their benefit the time for relinqushing lands in conformity t the acts heretofore passed, and will allow such discounts upon cash payments as may be deemed just.- Here they think justice requires that they should represent, that the lands which were purchased at prices near their real value have been generally paid for, either by lands relinquished, or in cash; and that the lands yet unpaid for are those purchased at prices more above their value than those paid for, and are generally in the hands of persons least able to pay for them. This circumstance, it is conceived, ought to induce the representatives of the nation to allow a larger discount upon such cash payments as may hereafter be made.
It is respectfully represented that the last law for the relief of the purchasers of the public lands, did not afford any relief to a large and meritorious class of citizens, who had not taken the benefit of the first law. Relief in behalf of this class of purchasers is respectfully prayed. The Legislature would also respectfully represent that many good and worthy citizens who are settled upon public lands are, as the law now stands, in the power of the merciless speculator, and that his hard earnings may either be taken from him, or may be used as a means of extorting from him his last dollar. It is therefore respectfully prayed that a law may be passed protecting the settler in the enjoyment of his crop, and saving him from the "tender mercies" of the unfeeling speculator. It is respectfully prayed that when the public lands shall be sold after the season of preparing for a crop, the planter may be permitted to continue in possession of the land until he shall have gathered the fruits of his labour.
The Legislature of the state of Alabama cannot forbear the expression of an opinion, that it would best comport with the wise policy which has heretofore governed the councils of the nation, to permit the purchasers of public lands not yet paid for, to surrender them to the United States, and to receive certificates for the amount of the purchase money, receivable in payment of the same lands when resold, or in payment of other lands of the United States.
Resolved, that the Governor be requested to forward a copy of this memorial to each of our senators and representatives in Congress: and that our senators be instructed and our representatives be requested to use their exertions to obtain the objects contemplated by the said memorial.
ERRATA.- Page 21, in the 26th line from top, for security read securities. Page 22, 16th line from bottom, for sheriff read sheriffs. In the caption of the act locating the seat of justice for Walker county, for permanent read temporaryt. Page 76, 11th line from top, insert, at the beginning of the line, the word which.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Cahawba, March 1, 1826.
I have carefully examined the foregoing Acts and Resolutions, and find them to be true copies of the original rolls deposited in this office.
JAMES I. THORNTON,