Monday, Nov. 28, 1825. The Senate met pursuant to adjournment.
Mr. Ash presented the petition of sundry inhabitants of St. Clair county relating to the militia of said county, which was read and referred to the military committee.
Mr. Clay presented the petition of Joseph Burelson, praying authority to change his turnpike road, which was read and referred to the committee on roads, bridges and ferries.
Mr. Clay also presented the petition of sundry inhabitants of Lawrence county, respecting the 16th sections for the use of schools, which was read and referred to a special committee, consisting of Messrs. Clay, Jackson of L. and Crawford.
Mr. Powell presented the petition of Humphrey Buck, praying authority to emancipate two slaves, which was read and referred to a special committee, whereupon Messrs. Powell, Sullivan and Vanhoose were appointed said committee.
Mr. Vanhoose presented the petition of John Bacly & others, praying for authority to sell certain real estate, which was read and referred to the committee on the judiciary.
Mr. Skinner presented the petition of Sarah Malone, praying the passage of a law authorizing her to emancipate a certain slave, which was read and referred to a special committee, consisting of Messrs. Skinner, Powell and Jones.
Mr. Abercrombie from the committee on county boundaries, to which was referred the petition of certain citizens of Decatur county, reported a bill to be entitled, an act to alter the lien of Jackson and Madison counties, which was read the first time. Ordered that the said bill be made the order of the day for a 2d reading tomorrow.
Mr. Jackson of A. from the committee on privileges and elections, to which was referred the memorial of John Wood, contesting the seat of John Brown, returned a member from Jefferson county, made a report adverse to the claims of Mr. Wood, and in favor of the right to a seat of the said John Brown; which was read and on motion, Ordered to lie on the table.
Mr. Crabb from the special committee to which was referred the petition of sundry inhabitants of Morgan county, reported a bill to be entitled, an act to repeal in part an act approved Dec. 15, 1824, declaring Flint river in Morgan county a public highway, which was read the first time, and ordered to be read the second time tomorrow.
Mr. Skinner presented the account of Wm. Murrah of Franklin co. which was referred to the committee on accounts and claims.
Mr. Casey from the committee appointed to wait on his excellency
John Murphy and request a copy of his inaugural address, for the purpose of having it spread on the journals of the Senate, reported that they have performed that duty, and received for answer that he would with pleasure furnish the copy desired.
Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives,
It will not be matter of surprise that I appear before you on the present occasion, affected with various and deep emotions. I present myself before the representatives of the people, who are here clothed with a large portion of their power, entrusted with the support and manifestation of their dignity, and justly entitled to sentiments of respect and reverence. But other considerations contribute still more deeply to impress me. I have come to pledge my devotion to my country under the highest solemnities; and to assume the discharge of a great and important trust to which I have been called by the suffrages of the people. I am about to engage to represent their power in the execution of justice; to shew their clemency in the exercise of mercy; to regard their general interests with active and patriotic solicitude; and, in some degree, to sustain the reputation of their wisdom, patriotism and moral character, by the ability and rectitude with which I ought to discharge my official duties. These and other reflections, which might easily be added. are more than sufficient to call for a strict scrutiny of power and qualification; and to cause an anxious, though liberal inquietude lest they should be found to be greatly inadequate. For in truth nothing can be more afflicting than to disappoint the liberality of confidence, to fail in the execution of important concerns, or to tarnish the reputation of our country by imbecility or misconduct in its affairs. I should hope that I were incapable on this and every other occasion of speaking with affected modesty of any incompetency which I do not feel; but I should do great injustice to myself were I to conceal the anxieties, which with me, most remain inseparable from the office which I am about to fill I cannot hopefully to accomplish the dearest wishes of my heart. I cannot expect to rise to that eminence of public service, and weight of public character, which I would gladly claim for every Executive of the State of Alabama. It will be readily allowed to be proper exercise of public virtue, to fix a high standard of political character, and to infuse into every department of civil administration, a generous ambition to attain to the excellency of that standards, or at least, to make an honorable approach to it. It is the correctness of these sentiments which I might plead as the justification of my fears; for as to the minor executive duties, the ordinary routine of public service, connected with the department, they require only a good hears and a sound understanding. But to dismiss this subject, it will be sufficient to observe, that fidelity, zeal, and devotion to our common interests, I dare to promise; and whatever I am, or whatever I can become, although very limited, shall be devoted to the public service.
When we take a view of our situation as a community, it is pleasant to observe that nature itself has given us many important advantages: a fertile soil, a genial climate, extensive navigation, and a local position, which ensures our improvement in the future development of the great confederacy to which we are united. Our staple productions are also of the most convenient and valuable kinds. The points assailable by a public enemy, few, and easily defended; a population possessing the virtues and intelligence which characterize the several states from which they have emigrated; and very ample means of improvement in all kinds of useful learning. With these advantages, little seems to be necessary to advance the community to an honorable and prosperous standing, but the cultivation of private virtue and political integrity. Where these cardinal blessings are found, the proper improvement of all public resources may be expected as a necessary consequence; and in the possession of these redeeming
circumstances, I know not whether it be possible that a community should not be prosperous and happy. A strong impulse should therefore be given, in the commencement of our institutions, in favour of private and public morals. Our policy should be established on the foundation of those virtues by which prosperity can alone be obtained or preserved. And permit me here to remark, that much of this great duty necessarily devolves on those who manage public affairs in the early stages of our progress; and thus a field is opened to them of most virtuous emulation and very exalted ambition.
It is elegantly expressed by one of the poets, that it is sweet and glorious to die for our country:--- May we not be permitted with equal justice to say, that it is also most honorable to live for our country, when in the faithful management of its public concerns, we may be justly allowed to associate with our own actions, its present prosperity and future prospects of greatness and of glory. This is, indeed, the highest meed of patriotism; this the dearest and most heartfelt reward of the immortal Washington, and of the illustrious benefactors of mankind from the beginning of the world. It is difficult to conceive of a situation in life more enviable than this; nor do I suppose that it ought to be deemed arrogant or assuming, to propose to ourselves such an aim, or chimerical to imagine that such views could be accomplished. It is true, our success may only be partial; the highest success requires uncommon talents and extraordinary conjunctures; still we may taste of the nectar, although we may not be admitted to the full feast of the gods. It is ill to make low and unaspiring calculations in the transactions of public business; for patriotism seems to connect with itself a generous ardour which cannot remain in the middle region; and no doubt it were better to fail of complete success in the prosecution of great designs, than to carry into the fullest effect a system degraded by littleness in the object and in the means. More good will unquestionably be done, although the whole plan, in consequence of human imperfection, must be suffered to remain incomplete. I am led to make these observations, not in the least degree to affect your vies, but to express my own. for I repose the proudest confidence in the exalted objects, patriotic feelings, and high intelligence of both branches of the General Assembly; and shall always be gratified, in my proper department, to co-operate and pursue, should it never be my felicity to lead in any measure contributing to the public interest. In this co-ordinate branch of the government, I have the best hope for support in the discharge of my official duties; and in a firm dependence on your liberal aid, and the direction of that Power who condescends to superintend the affairs of men, I shall cheerfully enter upon them. The Executive communication, which you have received, distinguished for a masterly union of particular and general views, will render unnecessary, at the present session, much of my constitutional duty. I will, however, should occasion require it, communicate freely; and submit to your enlightened deliberation any measures which I may deem useful or expedient. I feel a strong interest in the important and arduous business which will engage you during your present session; and most devoutly wish, as I confidently expect, that your labours will be attended with every thing dignified in deliberation, and fortunate in the result; with every think grateful to yourselves and satisfactory to the people. Permit me, honorable gentlemen, to express to you as their Representatives, the profound gratitude with which their confidence has inspired me. I cannot want incentives to faithfulness in their cause; and such manifestation of kindness, leads me to view the charge which I am about to undertake, as more solemn and important. Permit me also to express my profound respect and esteem for both House of the General Assembly.
And then the Senate adjourned til 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.