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Friday, December 16, 1825.

Mr. Hallett from the joint committee appointed by both Houses of the General Assembly to inspect the general accounts in the books of the State Bank, with full powers to send for persons and papers, reported that,

They have required of the Cashier to exhibit to them a list of the debtors of the Bank, and the evidence of debt; the ledger, termed by the cashier, the individual ledger; the discount book; and the offering book:   all of  which he has refused to exhibit, as will appear by a memorandum in writing, hereto annexed,- marked A.

The ground of refusal is stated to be, that provision in the charter, which takes away from the General Assembly the right of "inspecting the account of any private individual or individuals, or any body politic or corporate, with the bank."

By the 12th section of the law establishing the Bank it is made "the duty of the President and Directors to furnish to the General Assembly, within the first week of every session, statements of the amount of capital stock of said corporation, and of the debts due to the same; of the monies deposited therein; of the notes in circulation, and of the cash on hand; together with all other property of said Bank, both real and personal." And it is provided "that the General Assembly shall have a right to inspect such general accounts as shall relate to the said statement."

If the General Assembly have no more power over the affairs of the Bank than is now admitted by its officers, it must be evident, that they have no control over the institution, except such as arises from the election of its directors; and that even here they must proceed without sufficient light to direct their choice. If the power given to the General Assembly to inspect the general accounts of the bank, extends no further than to see that the statement furnished by the president and directors, is a true copy from the books as kept by the officers of the Bank, then is this power useless.

It is believed by the joint committee, that the power reserved to the General Assembly was designed to enable the two Houses to ascertain whether the provisions of the charter have been observed; whether individuals have, or have not, had greater discounts than are allowed by the charter; whether the several counties have, or have not, and their proper proportion of discounts; whether the Directors who are chosen by the General Assembly, and are amenable to it, have or have not, honestly and faithfully discharged the trust reposed in them; and finally, whether the funds which have been invested in the State Bank, are or are not, secure.

The ascertainment of these things is a matter of much interest to the State and materially concerns the general welfare. But if the construction given by the Directors and Cashier to the charter, be correct, the General Assembly is debarred of all this information. - They cannot ascertain, that any debts are due to the State, except from the statements of its agents and the acts of those agents are placed beyond scrutiny.  By this construction too, the funds of the state are placed beyond the inspection or control of the representatives of the people.

These are the results from the construction given by the officers of the Bank to its charter. They shew the fallacy of the reasoning which leads to such conclusions.

But it is not necessary to resort to any thing but the charter itself to shew that this construction is full of error. In the 16th section of the act establishing the Bank, a right is given to the comptroller to inspect "all the accounts and books of the Bank- provided, that this act shall not be construed to imply a right of inspecting the accounts of any private individual or individuals with the Bank." By this section the same restriction is placed upon the comptroller, in relation to private accounts, as in another part of the same act, imposed upon the General Assembly. Yet in the same section, the power is given to him to inspect all the books of the Bank. If the comptroller be not prohibited by the above mentioned restrictive words, from an inspection of the books of the Bank, it follows irresistably, that the general assembly, whose powers over the Bank are limited on-


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ly by the same restrictive words, is not restrained from an examination of its books.

The people of the state are the stockholders in this institution. In every bank, of which the committee have any knowledge the right of examining all the books, accounts and debts, due to the bank, is reserved to the stockholders. They beg leave to refer to the charters of the several banks established in this state, to shew that such a power is reserved to the stockholders. Any construction of the charter of the state bank, which denies to the representatives of the people who are the stockholders in this bank, the power of examining the transactions of the bank, takes from them a right which it has been deemed important to secure by charter to the stockholders in every other bank. To require of the president and directors to make a statement of the situation of the bank to the general assembly and yet to deny the general assembly the power to ascertain the truth of such statement, is an inconsistency, of which the framers of the charter cannot have been guilty.

The joint committee were the less prepared to hear from the officers of the bank, a denial of their right to inspect the books of the bank; inasmuch as that right had been distinctly admitted, and the scrutiny invited by the president and directors in their annual statement. The president and directors say, that "the general assembly has very properly reserved to itself the right of examining, by a joint committee, the general accounts and books of the bank relating to such statement, whenever it may be deemed necessary. If such committee should now be appointed it would be a matter of gratification to the directors; and they would very respectfully suggest the propriety & policy of making it an established custom to appoint, at each session of the general assembly, a joint committee, to inspect the books & examine the operations of the bank. This might be very efficacious in preventing or detecting at an early period, any mismanagement in its affairs.

By the individual accounts, the joint committee understand the cash accounts of individuals. Many individuals have accounts with banks, who have had no discounts. In these accounts the bank can have no interest; and therefore the directors and stockholders have no right to examine them. In all banks, so far as the committee are informed, a rule exists similar to that contained in the charter of the state bank. But this rule has never been construed to prohibit the directors from examining the discount book. Without a frequent recurrence to the credit book, which shews the amount discounted for each individual, the affairs of no bank can be conducted with safety. Without it, the directors could not ascertain whether any individual had been accommodated as far as his credit would justify. In the case of the state bank, it cannot be perceived how it would be possible to ascertain whether any individual had received more than the sum allowed by the charter to be discounted; or whether any county has received its due proportion of discounts, without a resort to this book.

The joint committee are very clear in the opinion, that they have not exceeded the authority vested in them by the law creating the state bank, in requiring of the cashier an exhibit of the books of the bank and the debts due to that institution. And for the purpose of ascertaining the sense of the two houses in relation to their powers over the state bank, they submit to them the following resolution, the adoption of which they recommend:   Resolved that the general assembly have the right to inspect, by a joint committee, all the books of the bank, and all the evidences of debt due to that institution.

The statement referred to in the foregoing report marked

[A]       The cashier refuses to submit to the committee, the individual ledger, the discount book, the offering book, and note book- because either of these books cannot be shewn without divulging the private accounts. He also objects to exhibiting the notes discounted, for the same reasons; they being, as the board conceives, the basis of the principal part of all the accounts of that kind in bank.

(Signed)                                                                       J. B. COOK

Which said report was ordered to lie on the table.

Ordered, that 100 copies thereof be printed for the use of this House.


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Mr. Tate, from the committee on inland navigation, to whom was referred the several resolutions instructing them to inquire into the expediency of providing by law for obtaining a correct knowledge of the several objects proper for improvement in relation to the navigable waters in this state, and for making a systematic and economical application of the means provided and to be provided, for those objects, reported a bill to be entitled, an act for procuring the necessary surveys, plans, and estimates upon the subject of canals, and for improving the navigable waters of this state, which was read a first time and ordered to be read a second time.

Mr. Dellett from the judiciary committee to whom was referred the petition of A. Alston and others, praying for leave to sell certain real estate, belonging to the heirs of G. W. Morton, dec'd, reported that the prayer of the petitioners ought not to be granted; in which report the House concurred.

Mr. Dellett, from the judiciary committee, to whom was referred a resolution of the House instructing them to inquire into the expediency of passing a law authorizing Justices of the Peace to issue executions against plaintiffs for costs, where the defendant is unable to pay the same, reported a bill to be entitled an act to authorize clerks and magistrates to collect costs in certain cases;  which was read a first time and ordered to be read a second time.

Mr. Dellett, from the judiciary committee, to whom was referred a resolution directing them to inquire into the expediency of abolishing the office of county treasurer, and to require the duties of that office to be performed, by the clerks of the county courts of the several counties, reported that it is inexpedient to make the change contemplated by the resolution; in which report the House concurred.

Mr. Dellett, from the judiciary committee, to whom was referred sundry petitions signed by many citizens of the city and county of Mobile, praying for certain amendments and alterations in the circuit and county court system of said county, reported a bill to be entitled an act respecting the courts in Mobile county, which was read a first time and ordered to be read a second time.

Mr. Dellett, from the judiciary committee, to whom was referred a resolution directing them to inquire into the expediency of passing  a law to prevent sheriffs, coroners and constables purchasing property directly or indirectly sold by them, respectively reported a bill to be entitled, an act to prevent sheriffs, coroners and constables purchasing property at their own sales, and for other purposes; which was read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time.

Mr. Dellett, from the judiciary committee, to whom was referred a bill to be entitled, an act giving further time to persons holding claims against the respective counties of this state to file the same reported a bill in lieu thereof, to be entitled, an act to repeal an act entitled an act restricting the recovery of claims against the counties respectively in certain cases, passed December 9, 1823; in which report the House concurred.

Mr. Dellett from the judiciary committee, to whom was referred a resolution directing them to inquire into the expediency of repealing the 21st section of an act regulating judicial proceedings in certain cases, and for other purposes, passed Dec. 18, 1811,  which enacts that


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no executor or administrator shall be liable out of their individual estate for not pleading, and mispleading, or false pleading in or to any action whatever which may be brought against them as such:   Reported, that it would be inexpedient to pass the law contemplated by the resolution; in which report the House concurred.

Mr. Davis from the select committee, to whom was referred the petition of sundry inhabitants of Franklin county, reported a bill to be entitled an act to incorporate the trustees of the La Fayette academy in the village of La Grange; which was read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time.

Mr. Barton of Mob. from the select committee, to whom was referred engrossed joint resolutions, memorializing the Congress of the U. S. Reported in lieu thereof joint resolution in relation to a grant of land by Congress to the corporation of the city of Mobile; which was read a third time and passed. Ordered,  That the title be as aforesaid. Ordered, That the same be sent to the Senate for their concurrence.

Mr. Lyon obtained leave to introduce a bill, to be entitled an act to repeal in part and amend an act fixing the seat of justice of Washington county, and for other purposes; which was read a first time and ordered to be read a second time.

Mr. Watson obtained leave to introduce a bill, to be entitled an act further to suppress immorality; which was read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time.

Mr. Bridges obtained leave to introduce a bill, to be entitled an act to abolish county courts, and to establish courts of ordinary in each county in this state; which was read a first time and ordered to be read a second time.

Mr. Hickman presented the petition of Wm. Bryant, of the county of Davidson, in the state of Tennessee; which was read & laid on the table.

On motion of Mr. Hickman, Resolved, that a committee of five members be appointed to examine Mr. Bryant's machine now in operation in Cahawba, and that they be instructed to report to this House whether it be expedient to purchase of him his patent for the use of this State. Ordered, that said resolution lie on the table.

Mr. Peyton obtained leave to introduce a bill, to be entitled an act to fix the compensation of the judges of the circuit courts; which was read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time.

Engrossed bills of the following titles, to wit:   An act to compensate county court clerks for paying printer's fees for publishing the appraisement of certain strays, and for other purposes.

An act to provide for an extra term of the circuit court in Mobile and Baldwin counties; An act to provide for the appointment of an overseer in the town of St. Stephens, Rodney and Franklin; An act for the relief of Wm. McDonald; An act to establish a permanent seat of justice in the county of Jackson, and for other purposes, were severally read a third time and passed. Ordered, that the titles be as aforesaid.  Ordered, that the titles be changed from that of bills to that of acts.  Ordered, that the same be sent to the Senate for their concurrence. Mr. Lyon obtained leave to introduce a bill to be entitled an act to authorize the judge of the county court of Washington county and commissioners of revenue and roads, to levy a special tax for the purpose therein mentioned, and for other purposes; which was read and ordered to be read a second time.


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A bill, to be entitled an act to alter the mode of appointing assessors, and tax collectors, was taken up and read a second time.        Mr. Dellett moved that the same be indefinitely postponed, which was determined in the affirmative.  Yeas 31, nays 30.

The yeas and nays being called for, those who voted in the affirmative, are

Mr. Speaker

Conner

Hickman

Martin of La.

Thornton

      Armbrister

Creagh

Inge

Mead

Tindall

      Barton of Mo.

Crenshaw

Lambert

Moore

Williams- 31.

      Barton of Tus

Dellett

Lewis

Morton

      Baylor

Edmondson

Lyon

Oliver

      Coalter

Fluker

Mardis

Pickens

      Coe

Hallett

Martin of Li.

Tate

Those who voted in the negative, are

Mr. Bailey of Mt.

Cook

Greening

McNeill

Vining

       Baxter

Coopwood

Heard

Neill

Walthall

       Benson

Coleman

Jones

Peyton

Warren

       Brandon

Davis

King

Saffold

Watson

       Bridges

Dupuy

Martin of Fr.

Sims

Weissinger

       Brown

Fitzpatrick

McLemore

Vaughan

White-30

Mr. Coalter moved that the committee of the whole House be discharged from the consideration of a bill from the Senate to be entitled an act to amend the act entitled an act, for the limitation of actions, and for avoiding vexatious law suits, passed Feb. 2, 1802; which was carried.  The said bill was then read a second time, and laid on the table.  The House adjourned till 3 o'clock this evening.

Evening Session, 3 o'clock - The House proceeded to the orders of the day. Bills of the following titles, to wit:   An act to emancipate certain persons therein mentioned, An act to divorce Nancy Gillespie from Andrew S. Gillespie, were severally read a second time, and ordered to be engrossed for a third reading.

A report from the judiciary committee, to whom was referred the petition of Egbert Harris, John Brahan and Simon Turner, was taken up.

Mr. Kelly moved that said petition be recommitted to same committee to prepare a bill; which was determined in the negative. Yeas 4, nays 54.

The yeas and nays being called for, those who voted in the affirmative, are

Mr. Armbrister

Baylor

Heard

Watson- 4.

Those who voted in the negative, are

Mr. Bailey of Mt.

Cook Creagh

Greening

Martin of La.

Sims

       Barton of Mo.

Conner

Hallett

Mead

Thornton

       Barton of Tus

Coopwood

Hickman

McLemore

Tindall

       Baxter

Crenshaw

Inge   Jones

McNEill

Vaughan

       Benson

Davis

King

Moore Neill

Vining

       Brandon

Dellett

Lambert

Morton

Walthall

       Bridges

Dupuy

Lewis Lyon

Oliver

Warren

       Brown

Edmondson

Mardis

Peyton

Weissinger

       Coalter   Coe

Fitzpatrick

Martin of Fr.

Pickens

White

       Coleman

Fluker

Martin of Li.

Saffold

Williams, 54

Mr. Dellett moved that the House concur in the report of the judiciary committee, which was carried.

 Ordered, that Mr. Morton be added to the committee on propositions and grievances.

On motion of Mr. Weissinger, Resolved,  that a message be sent to the Senate, informing that body that this House will be prepared to proceed to the election of judges of the circuit courts for the several


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judicial circuits in this state on Monday next, and requesting their concurrence, and that they be invited to assemble in the hall of the House of Representatives on that day; which was laid on the table.

The House then adjourned till half past nine o'clock.