The Senate met pursuant to adjournment.
Mr. Hodges presented the petition of sundry inhabitants of the county of Lawrence, to view and report as to the navigation of a certain stream of water, called Flint, running through that county, and the western part of Cotaco.
Ordered that it be referred to a select committee.
Whereupon Messrs. Hodges, Garth and Metcalf, were appointed.
Mr. Gause presented the petition of sundry inhabitants of Montgomery county, praying that said county, may not be divided into two counties, or
altered otherwise except by separating from if certain southern and western parts.
On motion, ordered that it be referred to the committee on the boundaries of counties.
Mr. Chambers from the committee appointed on the part of the Senate to act jointly with the committee on the part of the house of representatives to contract for the public printing, made the following report:
That there shall be a State printer elected annually, by joint vote of both branches of the General Assembly, who shall receive a salary of dollars for his services; and before he enters on the duties of his office, shall give bond with security to the Governor, in the sum of dollars, for the faithful performance of his duty.
On motion, ordered to lie on the table.
The engrossed bill to be entitled an act, to amend an act, passed at Huntsville by the General Assembly of the State of Alabama, 17th December 1819, prescribing the manner of electing certain militia officers, and deciding contested elections was according to the order of the day read the third time and passed.
Ordered that the title of said bill be "an act, to amend an act, passed at Huntsville by the General Assembly of the State of Alabama 17th December, 1819, prescribing the manner of electing certain militia officers and deciding contested elections."
Ordered that the Secretary acquaint the house of representatives thereof.
Mr. Casey agreeably to notice asked and obtained leave to bring in a bill authorising the Governor of the State of Alabama, to transmit the acts of the General Assembly of this State to the executives of the several states in the United States, which was read the first time.
On motion ordered that said bill be read a second time on to-morrow.
Mr. Davis agreeably to notice, asked and obtained leave to bring in a bill to be entitled an act, to amend an act, entitled an act, to provide for leasing for a limited time the lands reserved by the Congress of the United States, for the support of schools within each township in this State.
On motion ordered to lie on the table.
According to the order of the day, the bill to be entitled an act, to divorce Polydore Naylor and Elizabeth Naylor, was read the second time.
And on motion, ordered that said bill be committed to a committee of the whole, and made the order of the day on to-morrow.
According to the order of the day , the Senate resolved itself into committee of the whole, on a bill to establish a public road from the southern boundary line of township eight, in range four or five, to the Falls of Tuskaloosa, Mr. Farmer in the chair, and after sometime spent therein, the committee rose, Mr. President resumed the chair, and Mr. Farmer reported that the committee of the whole had according to order, had said bill under consideration, but not having time to go through with the same, had directed him to report progress and ask leave to sit again, which was granted.
A bill to incorporate the Steam Boat Company of Alabama, was read the second time.
And on motion of Mr. Seabury, ordered, that said bill be committed to a committee of the whole, and made the order of the day on to-morrow.
On motion by Mr. Seabury, the Senate resolved itself into a committee of the whole, on a bill to extend the limits of the town of Blakeley and to
provide for its government, Mr. Terrel in the chair, and after some time spent therein, the committee rose. Mr. President resumed the chair and Mr. Terrel reported that the committee of the whole had according to order, had said bill under consideration, and had made some progress therein, but not having time to go through with the same, had directed him to report progress and ask leave to sit again, which was granted.
Mr. Ringold moved the following resolution:
Resolved, that the judiciary committee be instructed to inquire into the expediency of taking from the county courts the jurisdiction of the trial of causes by jury, and that they have leave to report by bill or otherwise.
Mr. Ringold moved an amendment to said resolution by striking out from the word expediency to the end thereof, the words of taking from the county courts the jurisdiction of the trial of causes by jury; and that they have leave to report by bill or otherwise," and insert in lieu thereof the following words "of continuing or taking from the county courts concurrent jurisdiction of matters of debt & assumpsit" which amendment was agreed to
Mr. Casey moved an amendment to the amendment by adding thereto the following clause, "and into the expediency of abolishing the county court and establishing a court ordinary in its place and a board of commissioners of the poor and of roads; which was rejected.
Mr. Gause gave notice, that on to-morrow he would ask for leave to bring in a bill to compel the Governor to reside at or near the seat of government.
According to the order of the day the Senate resolved itself into a committee of the whole on the bill to be entitled an act authorising and requiring the keepers of the several jails in this State, to receive and keep persons committed under the authority of the United States, Mr. Chambers in the chair, and after sometime spent therein the committee rose, Mr. President resumed the chair and Mr. Chambers reported that the committee had according to order had said bill under consideration, and made an amendment thereto; which was concurred in. And on motion said bill was read as amended, and ordered to be engrossed for a third reading on to-morrow.
Mr. Rose gave notice that on to-morrow he would ask leave to bring in a bill having for its object an amendment to the law respecting trespasses.
The Senate proceeded to the consideration of the following memorial and resolution sent from the house of representatives, to wit:
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States,
The Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Alabama, respectfully represent that upon the petition of their constituents they are induced to address this memorial to your honourable body under the fullest confidence that the strong reasons here detailed will not fail to produce their just influence in your deliberation upon a subject of such vital importance to a large portion of the citizens of the United States. Circumstances beyond the controul of human wisdom, have changed the fair face of our national prosperity, and from the highest elevation we are suddenly depressed to a point of stagnant uncertainty; where we remain in doubt whether we shall again ascend to our former rank, or descend to a still lower stage of declension. At the close of the late war with Great Britain, the establishment of a general peace and the consequent revival of Commerce throughout the world, cotton the staple article of this State rose to a very high price and obtained ready sale in European markets.
Shortly after this period this country was inundated with the notes of various State Banks, and a very large amount of Mississippi Stock was also in
circulation and obtained upon easy and accommodating terms to purchasers: which stock by law had been made receivable in payment for public land in the state of Mississippi and the then territory of Alabama.
Amidst circumstances so propitious for the United States and unfortunate for the citizens of this infant State was a portion of the public land within our limits offered for sale by the government of the United States. Attracted by the fertility of our soil and stimulated by the desire of participating in the great profits which the growing of cotton promised to the planters, people from every quarter thronged the public sales loaded with Bank notes and Mississippi stock. The consequences were such as the circumstances were naturally calculated to produce. The land sold for prices unparalleled in the annals of public sales and an immense debt is now owing by the citizens to the government. The untried results of a general peace have baffled the calculations of the most prudent and sagacious merchants in the world: a general derangement of the money system has taken place; commerce has languished our staple commodity has fallen, to less than the price it maintained at the time of those sales. Most of the State Banks then in high credit have been compelled to curtail their discounts and call in their notes from circulation: Even the Bank of the United States which promised in its commencement a sound and safe circulation and an equality of exchange has also been constrained to diminish the circulation of its notes until they are as scarce as gold and silver, which we rarely see. The metallic currency of the country is locked up in the vaults of the Banks, and the community is left without a currency for the ordinary purposes of trade. In addition to all these adverse circumstances a law was passed by your honourable body at your last session, changing the mode of selling the public land, reducing the minimum price to one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre and requiring the whole purchase money to be paid in advance.
Although this law may be wise and politic its operation upon those who purchased before its passage is peculiarly hard; and when added to the other circumstances enumerated becomes oppressive. Land under the late law sells for less than former purchasers paid for the first instalment of land, only equal in quality and situation. By examining the surveyors notes and the Registers and Receivers returns it will be seen, that land in Colbert's reserve equal in quality and situation sold in October last for less than one fourth of the price given of March 1818, for the adjacent land. This prevents former purchasers from partially relieving themselves by selling a part of the land purchased even at a loss of half the instalment paid for none will purchase land at a high price when it can be had so cheap. Your memorialists therefore believe that a great portion of their petitioners never can pay for their land at the prices they have agreed to give. And unless your honorable body will pass a law granting them competent relief they must fall victims to the change of times and the change of policy adopted by the General Government. They have penetrated the forests but to make plantations and dwellings for their more fortunate fellow citizens who have remained in the enjoyment of social comforts until this epoch so disastrous to our fellow citizens shall arrive. Many of them ventured into this new country and purchased land for the permanent settlement of themselves and their children; hoping that while they remained on this side of time they might pay for the land and secure to their wives and children the fruits of their labor when the great author of their being should call them hence. All these pleasing hopes are now dashed to the ground, and nothing can revive them but a generous interference on the
part of your honorable body. Your memorialists therefore respectfully pray that a law may be passed by your honorable body, granting such relief as may be best suited to the circumstances of our petitioners and the policy of the General Government. And we would further represent that there is another class of citizens among us who have greatly promoted the interest of the General Government by improving lands unsold, and for the want of capital are unable to purchase lands at such prices as the lands have heretofore sold and now continue to sell for. We would therefore humbly represent the propriety of granting that relief to those who have improved public lands as may be deemed expedient.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Alabama in General Assembly convened, That a copy of this memorial be forwarded to each of our Senators, and one to our representative in Congress and they are hereby requested to use their best exertions to obtain for our fellow citizens the relief prayed for.
Which memorial and resolution were read first time
On motion of Mr. Watkins, ordered that the rule which requires all memorials and joint resolutions to be read on three several days be dispensed with, and that the said memorial and resolution be read the second time forthwith.
The same was accordingly read the second time.
On motion of Mr. Chambers committed to a committee of the whole and made the order of the day on to-morrow.
The Senate adjourned until to-morrow morning ten o'clock.