Mr. Barton of Tusk. presented the petition of Wm. M. Marr, praying to be reimbursed for losses sustained, which was read and referred to the committee on propositions and grievances.
Mr. Crenshaw presented the petition of George Phillips, praying the passage of a law granting him the privilege of a landing on the public lands, which was read and referred to a select committee, consisting of Messrs. Crenshaw, Broadnax and Lyon, to consider and report thereon.
Mr. Coe presented the petition of Samuel Gaughy, praying to be relieved from the operations of a judgment against him, which was read and laid on the table.
Mr. Barton, of Tus. from the committee on ways and means, to whom was referred the petition of the President and Directors of the Bank of Mobile, reported a bill to be entitled, an act for the relief of the Mobile and Tombeckbe Banks against certain penalties heretofore incurred, which was read a first time and ordered to be read a 2d time.
Mr. Barton of Tusk. from the committee on ways and means, to whom was referred a resolution instructing them to inquire into the expediency of appropriating so much money as will be sufficient to open the state road from Belleville, in the county of Conecuh to the Florida line, reported that it is inexpedient to make any appropriation for the purposes contemplated by said resolution; in which report the house concurred.
Mr. Mead, from the committee on divorce and alimony, to whom was referred the record and proceedings of the circuit court of Mobile county, exercising chancery jurisdiction in the case of Louisa M. Trouellett versus Pierre Truellett for divorce, reported a bill to be entitled, an act to divorce Louisa M. Trouellett from her husband Pierre Trouellett; which was read a first time, and ordered to be read a 2d time.
Mr. Baylor, from the committee on roads, bridges and ferries, to whom was referred a resolution with accompanying documents, with instructions to inquire into the expediency of opening a public road from the bridge on Sturdevant's creek, in Butler county, to Black's Bluff, reported that the opening of said road is inexpedient; which was ordered to lie on the table.
Mr. Baylor, from the committee on roads, bridges, and ferries, to whom was referred the petition of sundry inhabitants of Covington county, requiring the Legislative interference to prevent Samuel Gates from erecting a toll-bridge across Conecuh river, at the falls thereof, reported that the prayer of the petitioner is unreasonable, and ought not to be granted; in which report the House concurred.
Mr. Dellett from the judiciary committee, to whom was referred a resolution of this House, instructing them to inquire into the expediency of prescribing some method by law whereby free negroes under the age of twenty years may be bound out, reported a bill to
be entitled, an act for the settlement and relief of free negro children; which was read a first time, and ordered to be read a 2d time.
Mr. Dellett, from the judiciary committee, to whom was referred the petition of Richmond Richardson, reported a bill to be entitled an act, to emancipate Mary, the wife of Richmond Richardson; 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 of this House, instructing them to inquire into the expediency of giving parties appealing from justices courts, liberty to execute an appeal bond in court when the bond by which the suit is brought up, is decided to be insufficient, reported a bill to be entitled an act, to provide for and remedy defaults in proceedings before justices of the peace, which was read a first time, and ordered to be read a 2d time.
Mr. Dellett, from the judiciary committee, to whom was referred a resolution of this House, instructing them to inquire into the expediency of passing a law authorizing the defendants in all criminal cases, to take a writ of error to the supreme court of this state, on an appeal in the nature of a writ of error from any final judgment rendered by the circuit courts against such defendant or defendants, reported a bill to be entitled an act, the better to secure the rights of the citizens of this state; which was read a 1st time, & ordered to be read a 2d time.
Mr. Dellet, from the judiciary committee, to whom was referred an engrossed bill from the Senate, to be entitled an act to repeal an act, entitled an act respecting bail tin civil cases, reported the same without amendment; in which report the House concurred.
Mr. Dellett, from the judiciary committee, to whom was referred a bill to be entitled an act to repeal the act abolishing the June term of the supreme court, reported the same without amendment; in which report the House concurred.
Mr. Davis, from the select committee, to whom was referred an engrossed memorial [from the Senate] of the Senate and House of Representatives of the state of Alabama, in General Assembly convened, to the Congress of the United States, reported the following amendments, in lieu of an amendment adopted on yesterday by this House, which is in the following words: "The Legislature would further represent that the present mode of selling the public land to the highest bidder, though free from most of the obstructions, attending the former system, is liable to some abuses 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 with to own the soil, but to extort a premium from the occupants, for the privilege of purchasing the cabbins 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 him, 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 many instances, where a fair competition would enhance the price considerably. The Legislature can see no remedy for this evil, but in a change in the mode of selling the public land, and would therefore 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 sufficient 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 of 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 to ultimately reducing the quantity to be entered to forty acres, and the price of 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 would 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 good land; for their value more nearly than 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 power, 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 land for a fixed price should be adopted, the actual settler might be allowed preference in the right to purchase for a reasonable period, through all the gradations 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 family. The country at large will be greatly improved, its industry increased, and its morals cherished. Which was adopted; which said memorial was read a second time and ordered to be read a third time.
Mr. Benson from the select committee to whom was referred the petition of sundry inhabitants of the town and country of Montgomery, reported a bill to be entitled an act to incorporate Milton academy in the town of Montgomery and to empower the trustees thereof to raise a sum of money by lottery, which was read a first time and ordered to be read a 2d time.
Engrossed bill to be entitled an act for the registration of deeds, grants, &c. was read a third time, and passed. Ordered that the title be changed from that of a bill to that of an act. Ordered that the same be sent to the Senate for their concurrence.
Mr. Bridges obtained leave to introduce a bill to be entitled an act to amend an act entitled an act to appoint commissioners to lay out two roads leading from the ford of Line creek the one to Coffeeville the
other to Tuscaloosa, passed Dec. 31, 1822, which was read a first time and ordered to be read a 2d time.
Mr. Coalter obtained leave to introduce a bill to be entitled an act supplementary to the several acts regulating taverns and to restrain tippling houses, which was read a first time and ordered to be read a 2d time.
On motion of Mr. Dellett, Ordered that the judiciary committee be discharged from the further consideration of that part of the Governor's message, which relates to the judiciary of this state.
Mr. Bridges obtained leave to introduce a bill to be entitled an act declaring Pine Barren creek in Wilcox county a public highway, which was read a first time and ordered to be read a second time.
A bill to be entitled an act to provide for the payment of petit jurors in the counties of Blount and Montgomery and for other purposes, was taken up. Mr. Lambert moved to amend the same by adding Baldwin, which was carried. Mr. Hallett moved to amend the same by adding Mobile, which was carried. Ordered that said bill lie on the table.
A bill to be entitled an act to incorporate the town of Florence-Mr. Bailey of Laud. substituted a bill in lieu thereof, to be entitled an act to incorporate the town of Florence in the state of Alabama, which was read a 2d time and ordered to be engrossed for a 3d reading.
The House resolved itself into a committee of the whole on the report of the joint committee on the state bank, Mr. Vining in the chair, and after some time spent therein Mr. Watson moved that the committee now rise and ask leave to sit again, which was carried and leave granted.
A message from the Senate by Mr. Lyon, their secretary: Mr. Speaker, in the Senate have read three times and passed bills which originated in their House, entitled an act to incorporate the trustees of Concord Academy, in Greene county, in which they desire your concurrence. They have also read three times and passed a bill which originated in your honorable body, entitled an act authorizing the county court of Morgan county to make a certain allowance therein mentioned. I am also instructed to inform your honorable body, that they have adopted the resolution, reported by the joint committee appointed to examine into the affairs of the Bank of the State of Alabama,--which is as follows: Resolved, that the general assembly have the right to inspect, by joint committee, all the books of the Bank, and all the evidences of debts due to that institution.- And then he withdrew.
The House adjourned till 3 o'clock this evening.
Evening Session, 3 o'clock- The House again resolved itself into a committee of the whole, on the report of the joint committee on the State Bank, Mr. Vining, in the chair, and after some time spent therein, the committee rose, Mr. Speaker resumed the chair, and Mr. Vining, reported the resolution, (as reported by said committee,) without amendment. The House adjourned till to-morrow morning 10 o'clock.