The Senate met pursuant to adjournment.
A message from the House of Representatives, by Mr. Dodson, their clerk: Mr. President, the House of Representatives have read three times and passed, bills originating in their House entitled, an act for the relief of Joseph Burleson; An act to establish a state road leading from the city of Mobile to the Mississippi state line, in which they desire your concurrence.
Mr. Casey presented the petition of Messrs. Gary and Norris, lessees of the public ferry at Cahawba, praying relief in consequence of the county court having reduced the rate of ferriage, which was read and ordered to be referred to the committee on propositions & grievances.
Mr. Casey from the committee on roads, bridges & ferries, to which was referred the bill entitled an act to repeal part of an act declaring the old road from Warren Stones, to the town of Montgomery, the state road, and for other purposes, reported that it is inexpedient to pass the bill; which was concurred in.
Mr. Casey from the same committee to which was referred a resolution, directing them to inquire into the expediency of so amending the laws as to compel owners of ferries and toll bridges over water courses to keep in repair at their own expense the banks of such water courses, &c. reported, that the law now in force is deemed sufficient for the purpose required; which was concurred in.
Mr. Casey from the same committee, to which was referred a resolution instructing them to inquire into the propriety of reducing into one act the several acts of the General Assembly in force on the subject of roads, bridges, and ferries with such amendments thereto, as
said committee may deem necessary, reported that in the opinion of your committee, it is unnecessary at this time to reduce into one the several acts above referred to, which was concurred in.
Mr. Hopkins from the judiciary committee, to which was referred a resolution instructing them to inquire into the constitutionality of extending the counties of Jackson and Decatur into the Indian lands, for the purpose of giving the said counties their constitutional limits, and all other counties similarly situated, reported that said committee have considered the same, and had instructed him to report that the seventeenth section of the sixth article of the constitution, which prohibits the formation of a county of less extent than nine hundred square miles, authorises land only to which the Indian title shall have been extinguished, to be included in a county. Your committee are therefore of opinion, that the constitution does not authorise the extension of the boundaries of a county, so as to include land to which the Indians have title, which was concurred in.
Mr. Wood from the military committee, to which was referred a bill to be entitled an act to incorporate a volunteer infantry corps in the city of Mobile, to be styled The Mobile Republican Greens, reported the same as amended, which was concurred in. Ordered, that said bill be made the order of the day for a 3d reading on tomorrow.
Mr. Sullivan from the committee on divorce and alimony to which was referred a bill to be entitled an act, divorcing William Roundtree from Sally Roundtree, made a report against the passage of said bill, which together with the bill, was ordered to lie upon the table.
Mr. Hopkins presented the report of a majority of the commissioners appointed by an act of the last session of the General Assembly, for the purpose of procuring surveys and estimates, of the expense of improving the navigation of the Tennessee river, which was read and is as follows:
To the Honorable the General Assembly of the State of Alabama.
The undersigned, being a majority of the commissioners appointed by an act passed at your last session for the purpose of procuring surveys and estimates of the expense of improving the navigation through the muscle shoals and Colbert's shoals in the Tennessee river, and to ascertain the practicability and best mode of effecting the same, whether for batteaux or large boats, and whether by sluicing, cannalling or otherwise; beg leave to lay before you a report of the steps they have taken, and of the efforts they have made to execute the commission confided to them. A contract was entered into with Mr. John Martineau, an engineer of some experience from the state of New York, who had come to this part of the country the preceding fall with the high recommendation of Benjamin Wright, esq. the distinguished engineer, and superintendant of the grand Erie, canal. Mr. Martineau had lately been employed in surveying and laying out a route for the Indian creek canal, in which he had given entire satisfaction to the company. The commissioners bound themselves in their individual and private capacities to pay Mr. Martineau at the rate of ten dollars per day for the time he might be engaged, and to allow him the further sum of two dollars per day for an assistant engineer should he deem one necessary, and to pay all necessary expenses for board, assistance &c. By the conditions of the contract, the engineer was bound
to commence on the discharge of his duties on or before the first day of June last, and to proceed in the execution thereof with all due diligence, so as to have the same completed before the 29th of September ensuing, and in all respects relating thereto, to be governed by the instructions of the commissioners. The necessity of previously visiting New York on the part of the engineer and the probability that the state of the river would not admit of an examination to advantage earlier than June, induced the commissioners to fix on that period for the commencement of operations. It is much to be regretted, that unavoidable circumstances, produced a failure on the part of the engineer to comply with his engagement, unfortunate events growing out of his domestic relations, occasioned his detention until too late to effect any thing during the past season, he has however, now arrived among us, and expressed great willingness to afford his services should they be required, and his employment again authorised by your honorable body. The commissioners have not had it in their power from a want of the necessary data, to lay before you an estimate of the amount of produce at present transported on this river; much less have they been able to estimate the probable amount that will be transported on it, when improved so as to admit of uninterrupted up stream navigation: a very superficial view however, of the vast extent of country watered by the Tennessee and its tributary streams, must satisfy the most sceptical, that the abundance, value and variety of its products, must at no very distant day, give existence to an extensive commerce up its waters. Taking its rise in the salt, iron lead and plaster districts of Western Virginia, the noble stream traverses the fine grain and grazing country of East Tennessee, and tending to the south through a more genial climate and soil, waters the fertile cotton plains of northern Alabama, and finally, again traversing the state of Tennessee, after a course of near a thousand miles, unites its waters with those of the Ohio in the state of Kentucky, offering throughout its whole course, with the exception of the muscle shoals, the suck and a few other obstructions of trifling character a stream equal if not superior for the purposes of navigation to any of the tributary branches of the Mississippi. It is deemed unnecessary to advert to its present state, the fact is too notorious to require to be stated, that from the steam boat landing below the muscle shoals, nothing passes upwards, not even the smallest batteaux, (if are excepted a few that have been carried up as an experiment) and that the navigation downwards can only be effected at a time of, very high water, and is always exceedingly hazardous; articles of foreign production required for the use of the country above are transported in waggons, from Nashville, Augusta, Lynchburg and even Baltimore, over mountains and along roads which necessity alone, could render passable. The river itself is the natural channel for the trade of the country through which it passes, and requires only such improvements as are practicable, and in all probability at this time expedient to divert it from the course which it takes at present to the great disadvantage and almost incalculable expense of those concerned. Until a survey and estimates by some competent engineer are obtained, it will be almost impossible to approximate to a correct opinion on the subject; your commissioners however entertain but little doubt.
that a moderate toll on articles passing will afford an adequate and ample remuneration for the capital that will be required to make the necessary improvements in the most permanent and durable manner; and they do not despair of seeing, at a period not very remote, this useful and desirable object accomplished. The neighboring state of Tennessee and a portion of Virginia are as much or more deeply interested than Alabama, and may be confidently relied on to contribute their aid to the undertaking. In a national point of view its importance is so obvious, as affording facilities in supplying our weak maritime frontier, in time of war; the iron, lead, saltpetre, and other valuable munitions, which are furnished in abundance by the up country, that it cannot fail to attract the attention and receive the efficient aid of the general government. Your commissioners would respectfully suggest the propriety of memorializing the Congress of the U. States; representing in a fair and candid manner the claims of this state to early attention, for the purpose of engaging the co-operation of the board of engineers with such person as may be employed by the state to make examinations and surveys of the Tennessee river. They do not, however, conceive that it would be prudent on the part of the General Assembly to rely exclusively on the United States' engineers; for although composed as the corps is, of men of unquestionable ability as military engineers, and well versed in the theory of civil engineering, it is presumed they have not had that experience in the latter branch which would qualify them fully to plan improvements and to estimate, accurately, the expense of execution. It is therefore, submitted to your honorable body whether it would not be most proper to renew the act of your last session, authorising the employment of an engineer; should this course be adopted it is recommended to increase the amount of the appropriation, so as to render it fully adequate to the object; and your commissioners are of opinion that less than fifteen hundred dollars would be found insufficient With the hope that your honorable body will receive with indulgence and give to the few remarks submitted, that consideration which the importance of the subject merits, your commissioners beg leave to assure you of their profound respect.
(Signed) TH. FEARN,
C. C. CLAY,
Ordered, that said report be referred to the committee on inland navigation to consider and report thereon.
Mr. Bibb, from the committee on propositions and grievances to which was referred a resolution on the subject, reported a bill to be entitled, an act concerning county tax; which was read the first time, and ordered to be read the second time tomorrow.
Mr. Hopkins obtained leave to introduce a bill to be entitled, an act for the relief of George A. Glover, assessor and tax collector of Lawrence county for the year 1823; which was read the first time and ordered to be read the second time on tomorrow.
Mr. Powell obtained leave to introduce a bill to be entitled, an act to alter the time of holding the county court of Tuscaloosa county; which was read the 1st time & ordered to be read the 2d time tomorrow.
Mr. Conner obtained leave to introduce a bill to be entitled, an act to authorise the judges of the county courts to practice law out of the
county in which they may reside; which was read the first time, and ordered to be read the second time on tomorrow.
A bill from the house of representatives entitled, an act to establish a public road from the city of Mobile to the Mississippi state line, and an act for the relief of Joseph Burleson; were severally read the first time, and ordered to be read the second time on tomorrow.
Mr. Sullivan offered the following resolution: Resolved, that the committee on propositions and grievances inquire into the expediency of altering the law concerning public weighers in the city of Mobile and whether the operations of said law are not in some instances oppressive; with leave to report by bill or otherwise.
Mr. Casey moved to amend said resolution, by striking out the word altering, and inserting in lieu thereof the word repealing; which was lost. The resolution was then adopted.
Mr. Crabb called up the bill entitled, an act to divide the thirty-second regiment of the militia of this state. Ordered, that said bill be engrossed, and made the order of the day for a 3d reading on tomorrow.
Bills of the following titles, to wit; An act to authorise Mary Ann Kennedy to emancipate a certain slave therein named; An act to repeal in part an act therein mentioned, and requiring the plea of set-off or notice thereof in certain cases; and, An act regulating escheats and to appoint escheators, and for other purposes, were severally read the 3d time and passed. Ordered that the secretary acquaint the House therewith.
A bill to be entitled an act to provide for the punishment of escapes was read the 2d time, and ordered to be referred to the committee on the judiciary to consider and report thereon.
An engrossed bill, to be entitled, an act to provide for the payment of jurors in Blount and St. Clair counties; and An act requiring plaintiffs to give security for costs of suit in all actions sounding in damages, which may be hereafter commenced, were severally read the third time and passed. Ordered that the titles of said bills be as aforesaid and that they be sent to the House of Representatives for their concurrence.
A bill to be entitled, an act to repeal so much of the law relating to usury as makes the party forfeit and lose the whole value or amount of money loaned, was read the 2d time: Mr. Moore moved that the further consideration of said bill be indefinitely postponed, which was carried- Yeas 13- Nays 6.
The yeas and nays being desired, those who voted in the affirmative, are, Mr. President, Casey, Coats, Crabb, Hopkins, Moore, Murphy, Powell, Shackleford, Smith, Sullivan, Taggert, Wood- 13.
Those who voted in negative, are, Messrs. Bibb, Conner, Devereux, McCamy, Metcalfe, McVay- 6. So the bill was indefinitely postponed.
A message from the House of Representatives by Mr. Dodson their clerk: Mr. President, the House of Representatives have adopted the following resolution, Resolved that a message be sent to the Senate requesting them to return to this House at a convenient time, the communication of the Governor of Ohio, to his excellency the Governor of this state, which accompanied the message of his excellency to this House, on the subject of emancipating and colonizing the slaves in the United States. They concur in the amendments made by your hon-
orable body to the resolution in relation to certain objects of Internal improvement within the state of Alabama.
A bill to be entitled an act for the emancipation of slaves George and Sarah, was read the 2d time: Mr. Casey moved that the further consideration of said bill be indefinitely postponed, which was lost-Yeas 8- Nays 10.
The yeas and nays being desired, those who voted in the affirmative, are,
Messrs. Bibb, Casey, Coats, Crabb, Devereux, Metcalfe, McVay, Sullivan- 8.
Those who voted in the negative are, Mr. President, Conner, Hopkins, McCamy, Moore, Murphy, Powell, Shackleford, Smith, Taggert- 10.
So the motion to postpone was rejected. Ordered that said bill be engrossed and made the order of the day for a 3d reading on tomorrow.
A resolution providing for the further distribution of the statute laws of the state of Alabama, was read the 2d time. Ordered that said resolution be engrossed and made the order of the day for a 3d reading on tomorrow.
And then the Senate adjourned till tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock.