CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901
Monday, June 17, 1901.
The Convention met pursuant to adjournment, was called to order by the President, and the proceedings were opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Murphy, as follows :
Most gracious and Almighty Father, we humbly beseech Thee as for the people of this State in general, so especially for their representatives in Convention assembled that Thou wouldst be pleased to prosper all their consultations to the advancement of Thy glory, the good of our land, the safety, honor and welfare of this people, that all things be so ordered and settled by their endeavors upon the best and surest foundations that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety may be established among us for all generations. Bless especially, we beseech Thee, the labors of this day, that the membership of this Convention may become in Thy hands an instrument of order and of equity. Allay in this hour the distempers of faction and the bitterness of discord; confirm in our hearts, O Father, the wisdom of the unselfish; and renew irn simplicity and in truth the spirit of the patriot, that the weakest and the lowliest of our whole people may not be found in harder case than the shorn lambs of the fold to whom Thou wouldst temper the winds of Heaven that the lovers and makers of iniquity may be disposed of power and the that righteous only may be promoted to honor. Be among us, O Lord, our God, evil sustaining and prospering the good, that Thy will may be done here upon the earth, and that those who do it may find a blessing at Thy hands. If any man among us be found in sickness or in trouble, vouch-safe the healing and the comfort of Thy spirit. Within the homes of all who serve Thee in this House, whether they be near or far, bring the assurance of Thy love and the knowledge of Thy care. These and all other necessaries for them, for us, and for Thy whole people we humbly ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
The roll was called and showed the presence of 114 members.
LEAVES OF ABSENCE.
For to-day--Messrs, Hood, Moody, Cardin, Davis (Etowah), Searcy, Morgan M. Smith, Hodges, Boone, Whiteside, Greer (Calhoun), Henderson, Greer (Ferry), White; Waddell.
To-day, Tuesday and Wednesday--Mr. Pitts, Mr. Eyster.
Saturday and to-day--Mr. Coleman (Walker.)
To-day and to-morrow--The Secretary, Mr. Julian, Mr. Sollie (Dale), Mr. Jackson.
MR. BEDDOW--I ask unanimous consent for the introduction of a short but important resolution.
The consent was given, and Resolution No.153 was read :
Relating to the per diem of members.
Whereas, This Convention has now been in session twenty-one working days, and,
Whereas, Not a single article of the proposed new Constitution has yet been adopted; and,
Whereas, At the present rate of progress it will take some months to revise the Constitution, and
Whereas, This body will thereby subject itself to the unjust criticism that members are causing delay at the expense of the taxpayers of this State. Therefore be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of this Convention that notwithstanding the length of time consumed by this Convention in so revising the said Constitution, no per diem be allowed any member in excess of fifty days.
MR. BEDDOW--I move suspension of the rules and that we pass this resolution.
A vote being taken the Convention refused to suspend the rules. The resolution was then referred to the Committee on Rules.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale)--I ask leave to introduce an ordinance.
There being no objection, the ordinance was read as follows :
Ordinance No. 377, by Mr. O'Neal (Lauderdale)
To amend Section 21, Article IV. of the Constitution of Alabama.
Be it ordained by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled, That Section 21 of Article IV. of the Constitution of Alabama be amended so as to read as follows :
Sec. 21. Every bill shall be read on three different days in each House; and no bill shall become a law unless, on its final passage, it be read at length, and the vote be taken by yeas and nays, the names of the members voting for and against the same entered on the journals. No bill shall be passed unless by the
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consent of a majority of all the members elected to such House and the question upon the final passage shall be taken immediately upon the last reading.
Referred to Committee on Legislative Department.
MR. LONG (Walker)--The Advertiser of yesterday has a head-line which reads as follows: "Long Shoots at The Advetiser; the Walker Delegate Opposed to Free Speech." Now as a question of personal privilege, Mr. President, that is caused by the resolution introduced by myself on Saturday condemning The Advertiser for an editorial in that paper on the 15th headed "A Discouraging Vote," and which I considered then and which I still consider was an insult to a two-thirds majority of this Convention. I want to state I am not, and never have been opposed to free speech, but I am opposed to free slander, let it come from the press, or wherever it comes from, and from that comes this attack upon myself, which I think is unjust and unwarranted by the facts.
THE PRESIDENT--The regular order will be the consideration of the report of the Committee on the Journal.
The report was read, stating that the journal for the twenty-first day was correct, and upon motion the report was adopted.
MR. OATES--As there will be no call for the introduction of ordinances, I ask unanimous consent to introduce one.
MR. LONG (Walker)--Mr. President I would like to introduce a resolution.
THE PRESIDENT--The Chair will recognize the gentleman just so soon as the ordinance by the gentleman from Montgomery is read.
The ordinance was read as follows :
Ordinance 378, by Mr. Oates :
Prescribing the number of Grand Jurors and for the supression of crime.
Whereas, in many of the counties of the State, the practice of bribing or unduly influencing Grand Juries to prevent them from finding bills of indictment in particular cases is no longer unknown, and
Whereas, such things have been done and tend to prostitute that body to the shielding of murderers and criminals instead of bringing them to justice, and whereas, the best interests of the State require the suppression of such conduct and the preservation of the Grand jury as a pure fountain of justice, whose action should ever be in the direction of suppressing crime, preserving life
and property against the lawless, and protecting the innocent and helpless, by bringing the guilty to coding punishment thus commending to all law-abiding and just people the judicial system of the State.
Therefore be it ordained by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled.
Section 1--That after the ratification of this Constitution, a Grand jury authorized by law in any of the courts of the State, shall consist of not less than eighteen qualified persons, ten of whom shall be required to concur in order to find a bill of indictment.
Sec. 2--That whenever a felony has been committed within the jurisdiction of any Grand jury thereafter legally organized, and the same shall fail to find and return into court a bill of indictment against the perpetrators of such felony at the first term of the court thereafter, the presiding judge shall have the power and authority to enter upon the docket an order directing the solicitor of such court to proceed by information against any person or persons who are reasonably suspected of having committed such felony.
Referred to the Committee on judiciary.
MR. LONG (Walker)--I ask permission to introduce a resolution.
The leave was granted, and the resolution read as follows :
Resolution 154, by Mr. Long of Walker.
Whereas, there appears in The Montgomery Advertiser of the 15th inst. an "editorial" under the caption of "A Discouraging Vote," reflecting seriously upon the honesty of a two-thirds majority of this convention.
Therefore be it resolved that the said editorial is hereby condemned as unwise and unwarranted.
MR. LONG (Walker)--I move a suspension of the rules and that that resolution be put upon its passage.
Upon a vote the Convention refused to suspend the rules, and the resolution was referred to the Committee on Rules.
MR. deGRAFFENREID--I ask unanimous consent to be allowed to introduce an ordinance.
Ordinance 379, by Mr. deGraffenreid :
An ordinance to be entitled an ordinance to amend Section 7 of Article 1 of the Constitution of the State of Alabama.
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Be it ordained by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled, that Section Seven of Article One of the Constitution of the State of Alabama be amended so as to read as follows:
That in all criminal prosecutions the accused has a right to be heard by himself and counsel or either; to amend the nature and cause of the accusation; to have a copy thereof; to be confronted by the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; to testify, in all cases, in his own behalf, if he elects to do so, and in all prosecutions by indictment a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offense was committed; that he shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor be deprived of life. liberty or property but by due process of law; and in all prosecutions by indictment the place in the county or district in which the crime was committed shall be stated with such particularity as to enable the defendant to know specifically the particular criminal act in which he is charged.
Referred to Committee on Preamble and Declaration of Rights.
MR. MORRISETTE--I move that the privileges of the floor be extended to the ministers of the gospel who open the Convention with prayer.
MR. PETTUS--I should like to amend that by adding the name of a distinguished ex-member of the Legislature, who is present in the city, judge J. J. Arnold of Calhoun.
THE PRESIDENT--The question is first on the motion to suspend.
A vote being taken, the rules were suspended.
THE PRESIDENT--The question is on the motion of the gentleman from Monroe, that the ministers of the gospel, who have generously served the Convention in opening the proceedings with prayer, be accorded the privileges of the floor, and the gentleman from Limestone moves to amend by adding thereto the name of judge J. J. Arnold.
Upon a vote, the amendment was adopted, and upon a further vote the resolution, as amended, prevailed.
MR. KYLE--I ask unanimous consent to introduce an ordinance.
Ordinance No. 380, by Mr. Kyle
Be it ordained by the people of Alabama, in convention assembled, That Article XIV, on banks and banking, be so amended as to require the General Assembly, at its first session after the adoption of the amended Constitution, to enact such laws as
will require all State or private banks doing business in this State or that may be hereafter organized under the Constitution and laws of the State, and engage in the business of banking, and the first of October each year thereafter, a report of their standing, showing:
Amount of capital stock actually paid in.
Amount of deposits held by the bank.
Amount of loans and discounts, as well as amounts of all liabilities and assets at the dates of such reports.
And to require that such reports be published for thirty days after the first of April and the first of October of each year in a newspaper published in the county in which the bank is located. Such reports to be certified to by the President or Cashier of the bank making the report, before a notary or any other officer authorized to administer an oath.
And to further provide that any President or Cashier of any private or State bank who makes a fraudulent report of the standing of any bank, or who converts to his own use any of the assets of any State or private bank in this State, without authority of law, shall be guilty of a felony, and on conviction, shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary not less than three nor more then ten years, at the discretion of the court trying the case.
Referred to Committee on Banks and Banking.
MR. BLACKWELL--I desire to introduce a petition.
The petition was read as follows:
State of Alabama, Morgan County.--Court of County Commissioners.
Decatur, Ala., June 15, 1901.
To the Honorable Constitutional Convention, Montgomery, Ala.:
The undersigned, Commissioners' Court of Morgan County, Alabama, respectfully ask and request your honorable body not to reduce the present rate of one-half of one per cent. allowed for special taxes, and we respectfully ask that the Commissioners' Courts be allowed this special tax for the building and repairing the court houses, jails and public bridges and public roads of the several counties in this State.
The people of our county are not asking any reduction in this special rate of taxation, but, on the contrary are clamoring for the privilege of paying a special tax for the improvement of our public roads.
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Our county is traversed by many streams which require bridges to accommodate the traveling public. One-fourth of one per cent will now permit us to keep these bridges and our court house and jail in proper repair.
We, therefore, ask and urge that you allow the present rate of one-half of one per cent of taxation for these special purposes to remain as it is, with the words "public roads" added thereto.
Wm. E. Skeggs,
A. F. Murray,
S. P. Lovelady,
M. W. Ratliff,
S. R. Garrison.
Referred to Committee on Taxation.
MR. SMITH (Mobile)--On behalf of the Rules Committee, I desire to report favorably resolution No. 150, and move its adoption.
Resolution 150 was read as follows :
Resolved that the report of the Committee on Taxation be set for a continuing special order of the Convention to be taken up and considered by sections immediately after the conclusion of the existing special order.
On motion the resolution was adopted.
MR. SMITH (Mobile)--On behalf of the Rules Committee I desire to offer a resolution amending Rule Eleven so as to enable members of committees, while their reports are under discussion, to sit together.
The resolution was read as follows: No. 155, with favorable report from the Rules Committee: Resolved that Rule Eleven be amended so as to read as follows:
Rule 11--When any delegate is about to speak or deliver any matter to the Convention he shall rise from his seat and respectfully address himself to the President; provided that while the report of any committee is under consideration the members of the committee may exchange seats with other members of the Convention.
MR. SMITH (Mobile)--I move the adoption of the resoluiton.
The resolution was upon a vote of the Convention adopted.
MR. SMITH (Mobile)--On behalf of the Rules Committee I desire to report a substitute for resolution No. 146, and move its adoption, and in this connection I desire to say that the condition of the several committees is such as to make it almost absolutely necessary.
THE PRESIDENT -- Will the gentleman wait until the resolution is read and the Convention will be better able to understand the explanation.
Resolution 146, with substitute: Resolved that after next Monday this convention shall meet regularly at 10 o'clock in the morning and shall remain in session from that time until 1 o'clock p. m. when a recess shall be taken at 3 p. m. and the Convention shall remain in session until 5 p. m. when the Convention shall stand adjourned until 10 a. m. of the succeeding day.
Substitute for the resolution, reported by the Committee on Rules:
Resolved that after the passage of this resolution this Convention shall meet regularly each day at 10 o'clock in the morning and shall remain in session from that time until 1 o'clock p.m. when a recess shall be taken until 3 p.m. and the Convention shall remain in session until 5 p.m. when the Convention shall stand adjourned until 10 a.m. of the succeeding day.
MR. SMITH (Mobile)--I move that the resolution be laid on the table until Thursday next, and from day to day thereafter, until taken up for consideration by the Convention, and the reason for that is the fact that the Suffrage Committee, and several of the other committees are very much engaged in their work, and it would render it almost impossible for them to make their reports in any reasonable time, if the sessions are prolonged immediately. It is hoped by Thursday they may be in a position to consent to lengthening the session, but if not, the resolution may be further deferred.
The motion to lay the resolution on the table until Thursday and from day to day thereafter until taken up by the Convention was carried.
MR. DENT--In order to test the sentiment of the Convention as to evening sessions, I send up a resolution.
THE PRESIDENT -- The gentleman from Barbour asks unanimous consent to introduce a resolution. The Chair hears no objection and the Clerk will read the resolution.
No. 156, by Mr. Dent: Resolved that when this Convention adjourn, it adjourn to meet again at 3 o'clock p.m. today.
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THE PRESIDENT--Without a suspension of the rules the resolution would be referred to the Committee on Rules. The Chair understands that the gentleman desires to take the sense of the Convention?
THE PRESIDENT -- It would be necessary to move a suspension of the rules.
MR. DENT--I move a suspension of the rules and that the resolution be placed upon its passage.
Upon a vote being taken the Convention refused to suspend the rules, and the resolution was referred to the Committee on Rules.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) -- I ask unanimous consent to offer a resolution and for its reference to a committee.
The consent was given and the resolution read as follows:
Resolved that on account of the limited capacity of the Convention Hall, hereafter the privileges of the floor shall not be extended to any person, except by the unanimous vote of the Convention.
MR. SAMFORD--I move a suspension of the rules, for the purpose of putting that resolution on its immediate passage.
MR. deGRAFFENREID--I second the motion.
By a vote of sixty-four ayes to twenty-nine noes, the rules were suspended.
MR. BURNS--I rise to a point of information.
THE PRESIDENT--The gentleman will state the point of inquiry.
MR. BURNS--Do we understand that if some distinguished gentleman were to pass before the door, that one hundred and fifty-four members could not invite him to the courtesies of this floor?
THE PRESIDENT--In the opinion of the Chair that is the meaning of the resolution.
A division was called for and by a vote of seventy ayes to nineteen noes the resolution was adopted.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--I ask unanimous consent to introduce a resolution.
MR. LOWE (Jefferson)--I wish to state hereafter I shall object but not now.
Resolution No: 158, by Mr. Graham (Talladega):
Resolved, That the thanks of this Convention are hereby tendered to the Western Railway of Alabama for courtesies recently extended on the occasion of the funeral of Gov. W. J. Samford to members of this Convention through Gen. Geo. P. Harrison; also, to Superintendent J. C. Clarke of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad for courtesies recently extended to a special Committee of this Convention.
Rules suspended and resolution adopted.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega) -- I move a suspension of the rules to put that resolution upon its passage.
Upon a vote the Convention suspended the rules and the resolution was adopted.
MR. WILLETT--I move that we adjourn.
MR. JONES (Montgomery)--I rise to a question of personal privilege.
MR. WILLETT--I withdraw the motion for that purpose.
MR. JONES (Montgomery) -- It will be remembered, Mr. President, the other day there was a newspaper article which caused some heat. When my friend from Walker moved to suspend the rules, I objected, and stated that it was only a newspaper article he wished to bring before this body. I have been informed that some of the members of the Convention have been told that my reasons for thus objecting were that I was either the author or inspirer of this article. Now I differ with a great many members as to the effect or propriety of that editorial; but that is not germain to the point I wish to make. That article it happened was somewhat complimentary to some remarks made by myself on that occasion. I think I can say, what every man who has taken enough interest in me to look after my customs and habits knows full well, that never in my life have I written anything which reflected on anybody unless I signed my name to it. That has been my habit all my life. (Applause). I had never seen or heard of the editorial until it was laid upon my desk. I had no conference, or talk with any human being about it, and did not know it would be written. My reason for objecting was that I think the press, if they choose, have the right to say that we are a set of noodles or bumpkins, or anything else; and if they state it truly, our remonstrance will do no good. On the other hand, if their criticisms are not well founded, the people will take care of them. Resolutions of censure are worthless, and not becoming a great assembly like this. These were my reasons for objecting to the resolution.
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THE PRESIDENT--The regular order, will be the consideration of the report of the Committee on Executive Department.
MR. WILLETT--I renew my motion to adjourn.
Upon a vote the motion was lost.
THE PRESIDENT--The regular order is the consideration of the report of the Committee on Executive Department.
The question is upon the motion made by the gentleman from Jefferson to refer Section 13 back to the Committee on Executive Department, with instructions to eliminate the feature discussed by him in his arguments on Saturday, which is that provision which confers upon the Governor the right to suggest amendments.
MR. deGRAFFENREID--I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT--The gentleman will state the point of order.
MR. deGRAFFENREID--The gentleman's motion was out of order. The House had before it for consideration the question as to whether or not it would adopt an amendment which was offered by me to Section 13, and while that matter was pending before the House, the gentleman from Jefferson made a motion to recommit, which puts two motions before this body for consideration. For that reason I thought that the gentleman was out of order but I did not raise the point of order because the gentleman discussed a question with which I was somewhat in sympathy, and I thought the House would like to hear him on the subject, but we have heard him and now I think he is out of order, and that the question now before the House is whether or not the amendment offered by me shall or shall not be adopted.
THE PRESIDENT--In the opinion of the Chair--
MR. LOWE (Jefferson) -- Before the Chair announces the opinion, my motion was--
THE PRESIDENT--The Chair is going to rule in favor of the gentleman.
MR. LOWE--Very well, but for information I desire to say that my motion was to recommit the Section and the pending amendments.
THE PRESIDENT--That was the motion, and it appears in the report.
MR. deGRAFFENREID--Then I ask the gentleman, as the Chair is going to rule in his favor, to allow me to offer an amendment
so that it can be referred together with the Section and the amendments already pending.
MR. LOWE--I am perfectly willing for that.
THE PRESIDENT--Does the gentleman withdraw temporarily?
MR. LOWE--No, sir. I do not care to withdraw my motion, but I am willing, by unanimous consent, for the amendment to be offered and read so as to go to the Committee.
THE PRESIDENT -- The delegate from Hale desires, by unanimous consent, to offer an amendment. Is there any objection?
There was none and the amendment was read as follows:
Amend Section 13 by striking from the Section all after "if any bill" in the eighteenth line thereof, and insert in lieu thereof the following: 'Every bill which shall have passed both Houses of the General Assembly shall be presented to the Governor. If he approves he shall sign it, but if not, he shall return it to that House in which it shall have originated which shall enter the objections at large upon the journal and the House to which the bill shall be returned shall proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, a majority of the whole number elected to that House shall vote for the passage of such bill, it shall be sent with objections to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by a majority of the whole number elected to that House, it shall be a law, but in such cases the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the members voting for or against the bill shall be entered upon the journals of each House respectively."
MR. deGRAFFENREID--I desire to state that the effect of that amendment is simply to strike from Section 13 the power of the Governor to propose any amendment to any bill which comes to him for signature. In other words, it leaves the law just as it now exists, with one exception, and that is, that the Governor shall have the power, within ten days after the adjournment of the Legislature, to approve a bill if it comes into his hands within five days before the adjournment.
MR. JONES (Montgomery)--I regret, Mr. President, that it falls to my lot, as chairman of the committee, to appear so often upon the floor of the House, but it is a matter of duty and I shall proceed to discuss, briefly, the motion to recommit.
This House has not voted upon a single one of the amendments, and, if the section were recommitted, the committee would be without the aid or advice of the House on any of the matters
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covered by the amendments. Therefore, it seems to me, a recommittal at this stage would not aid in a solution of this question. Besides, if I recollect the amendments aright, if the portions of the ordinance to which these amendments relate were stricken out, the ordinance would still be perfect, and there would be no need to recommit.
As I stated on Saturday, the committee is the servant of this House, and is perfectly willing to have the House send its work back; but it is due to the House and to the committee, if the House sends the work back that it send it with directions what to do, to strike out this or that, or amend this or that, and not send it back to us without advice or directions of any sort.
MR. LOWE--Will the gentleman pardon me for a moment?
MR. JONES (Montgomery)--Certainly.
MR. LOWE--Does not the gentleman understand that my motion carries with it instructions to strike from Section 13 the obnoxious clause to which I addressed myself?
MR. JONES (Montgomery)--Then I would suggest to my friend from Jefferson if he would be kind enough to change his motion to recommit to a motion to strike out that part of this section, the result would be attained.
MR. LOWE--The reason I do not care to do that is because this is a section which requires to be very carefully written, and I do not believe it is safe in making a Constitution, working as we are, with the ends for which we are working, to amend by piecemeal upon the floor. It seems to me the best procedure would be to recommit, and, therefore, my motion did carry with it instructions to the committee to eliminate one objectionable feature from Section 13, simply that the committee might carefully re-write that section.
MR. JONES (Montgomery) -- I quite understand the purpose of my friend from Jefferson, and I quite agree with him that we should not be hasty in passing upon important sections; but I think he loses sight of the fact that if that part of the section to which his amendment is directed were stricken out, the ordinance would still be complete in itself and, as we are going to pass upon this ordinance, as it is finally amended, and as it is going before the Committee on Harmony, I do not think we take any risk by having a vote on these questions now, and then, if the ordinance is left in an incomplete or an improper shape, to recommit to the committee.
MR. LOWE--If the gentleman will pardon me--
MR. JONES (Montgomery)--Certainly.
MR. LOWE--I am frank to say I would be utterly unable to draft an amendment to strike out the part I want stricken out that would leave the Section harmonious, it might or it might not. It seems to me, it would take time to eliminate the various phrases running all through the ordinance.
MR. JONES (Montgomery)--Will my friend permit me one suggestion: Let us not cross the bridge before getting to it. Suppose the House does not strike out the things which are objectionable to you?
MR. LOWE--Then my motion is lost. It is in the body of my motion that the committee be instructed to eliminate.
MR. JONES (Montgomery)--That is the reason I suggest that a direct vote on that proposition would be better.
Mr. President, I see it lacks only four minutes of adjourning time, and I cannot accomplish anything by occupying the floor four minutes, and I move that the Convention adjourn.
MR. PILLANS--Is it in order to name the hour to which we shall adjourn?
THE PRESIDENT--Under the rules, when we adjourn we will adjourn until tomorrow morning at 10.
MR. PILLANS--I think we should work twice a day.
THE PRESIDENT -- The chair would suggest that that question was submitted to the Committee on Rules and they have reported on the matter. If the gentleman desires, he can move to suspend the rules.
MR. PILLANS--Then I move to suspend the rules in order that I may amend the motion of the delegate from Montgomery, that we adjourn until 3 o'clock.
THE PRESIDENT--Does the gentleman move to suspend the rules?
MR. PILLANS--Yes, sir.
MR. OATES--I hope the delegate from Mobile will not insist on that motion, because there are committees engaged on reports that it is absolutely necessary to get in as soon as possible, and one or two more afternoons will permit us to finish.
THE PRESIDENT--Does the gentleman from Mobile insist on his motion?
MR. PILLANS--I will not after that statement of the gentleman from Montgomery.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers)--I move that the rules be suspended and that the House remain in session until 2 o'clock.
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A vote being taken, the House refused to suspend the rules, and, after the announcement of various committee meetings, the Convention adjourned.