Wednesday, June 26, 1901.
The Convention met pursuant to adjournment, was called to order by the President, and opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Elliott, as follows:
Our Father, we are brought under renewed obligations to Thee this morning, and we have come into Thy presence to thank Thee for Thy good providence that has been over us during the
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901
night. For the light of another day. We pray that Thou wilt be with us this morning as we begin this day's work and may we glorify Thy name in all our efforts. We thank Thee, our Father, for the large degree of kindness with which Thou art blessing the people everywhere. We thank Thee for the efforts that are being made for the promotion of the country, for the leading of men up from lives of base ingratitude to lives of morality, wisdom and goodness. We pray Thee, our Father, to be here today, and bless this Convention; grant that there will be a spirit of unanimity, a spirit of harmony and co-operation here. We pray for Thy richest blessings upon the presiding officer. Give him wisdom and strength and grace and patience that he may discharge his duty in the fear of God. Bless each member of this House. Surround them, our Father, with the very best of circumstances, and grant unto them strength, and all that they need here. Be with us now, and guide us by Thy spirit and uphold us by Thy power, we ask for Jesus' sake. Amen.
Upon the call of the roll 141 delegates responded.
LEAVES OF ABSENCE
For Mr. Vaughan for today; Mr. NeSmith for today and tomorrow; Mr. Davis (Etowah) for today.
The report of the Committee on the journal, stating that the journal for the twenty-ninth day of the Convention had been examined and found correct, was read and adopted.
MR. REYNOLDS (Chilton)--I want to make a correction in the report of yesterday's proceedings. I am recorded as having voted for judge Cobb's amendment last evening. I was not present at the time that vote was taken, but I had voted all the way through for the substitute offered by Mr. Jones, the chairman of the committee, and would have voted for his substitute had I been present, and not Mr. Cobb's amendment. I understand that I am recorded correctly on the journal.
THE PRESIDENT--The stenographer will make the correction in the report.
MR. CARMICHAEL (Coffee)--I desire to make a correction in the stenographic report. I am reported as having voted aye on the motion to table the amendment or substitute offered by the gentleman from Montgomery, the chairman of the Committee on Executive Department, whereas I voted no; and my brother from Colbert voted aye, and the stenographers have our names transposed, and have him recorded as voting no and myself as voting aye, whereas it was exactly opposite.
The roll of Delegates was called for the introduction of ordinances, resolutions, etc.
MR. GREER (Perry)--I offer a petition.
THE PRESIDENT--The Chair will call the attention of the gentleman from Perry that petitions are only read before the Convention when the Convention consents to have them read. Is a motion made for that purpose?
MR. GREER (Perry)--I move that the rules be suspended and that the petition be read.
THE PRESIDENT--It will not be necessary to suspend the rules, because the petition will be in order, but it is necessary to have a vote that it be read. Does the gentleman enter a motion to that effect?
MR. GREER--I move that it be read, then.
MR. CARMICHAEL (Coffee)--We would like to know what it relates to before it is read to know how to vote.
MR. GREER (Perry)--It is very short. Only half a dozen lines.
MR. CARMICHAEL (Coffee)--What does it relate to?
MR. GREER (Perry)--It relates to the election of Railroad Commissioners.
Marion, Ala., June 24, 1901.
To Messrs. J. H. Stewart, C. H. Greer and W. H. Tayloe, Montgomery, Ala.:
Gentlemen--We, your petitioners would respectfully represent that, in this era of combinations and consolidations of railroads and railroad interests, competition in freight rates is fast disappearing, and we, realizing the fact that the Constitutional Convention should provide in the organic law a remedy against exhorbitant freight rates within the limits of the State of Alabama, therefore, we earnestly ask you as our Perry County representatives in said Convention, to actively advocate and support the ordinance providing for the better regulation and control of railroad tariffs and passenger rates by the State Railroad Commissioners; that said Commissioners be elected by the people; that their salaries be paid out of the State Treasury, and that they be given the power to enforce their orders and decrees.
MR. REESE--Will the names attached to the petition be printed in the stenographic report?
THE PRESIDENT--The petition does not seem to be addressed to the Convention but to the delegate from Perry.
MR. REESE--I move that the petition and the names be printed in the stenographic report of the proceedings.
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THE PRESIDENT--It will be printed, having been read before the Convention.
MR. REESE--The names also?
THE PRESIDENT--The whole petition.
The names signed to the petition were as follows:
J. A. Nichols, A. I. Wolly, J. H. Tucker, R. H. Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald & Tubbs, R. M. Eatman, W. A. King, W. M. Higgins, J. C. Mickleford, D. J. Ballard, C. J. Ballard, W. G. Ballard, H. C. Smith, W. C. Martin, A. N. Hudson, B. N. Huey, W. F. Moore, H. Y. Howze, John Howze & Co., W. H. Smith, S. Perry, M. D., B. M. Lide, J. D. Smith & Co., Wilkerson Drug; Co., C. A. Wilkerson, J. A. Moore, Pres., Marion Central Bank, Reed & Shivers, S. E. Williams, R. E. Wynn, J. B. King, W. A. Johns, T. F. Evans, R. T. Scarborough. W. H. Perkins, T. B. Ballard, J. B. Lockhardt, R. A. West, Shellman Brothers, J. T. Washburn, T. M. Howze, T. J . Fryer. W. C. Cunningham, L. L. Lee, S. A. Matthews, M. Lovelace, D. W. Dobbins, L. S. Evans, C. E. King, Jr., C. C. Crowe, M. H. Williamson, A. P. Willborn, G. W. Pollard, Jr., E. Goree, C. J. Blackburn, E. M. Blackburn, J. A. Hendricks. Marshall Hendricks & Co. , J. C. Moore, C. H. Dozier, Wm. H. Mason, Jr., Jas.. Gregory & Son, Chapman & Abernathy, W. C. Martin, W. M. Ford, A. W. Moore, J. R. Poole, C. L. Barker, Jr., T. H. Barker, George Steffin, T. J. Davis, J. T. Fitzgerald, Cashier Marion Central Bank, E. P. George, J. B. Shivers, J. W. Smith, R. H. Evans, clerk Circuit Court.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale)--I desire to call the attention of the Convention to some errors in the stenographic report of the report of the Committee on Local Legislation, in the proceedings of Saturday. On the second column, after the words "passage of local acts," it should be "regulating these matters," the balance of the sentence is left out; it ought to be "to the local authorities and forum which can best appreciate and understand local necessities and demands." And also at the bottom of the page, "we have endeavored to safeguard by proper restrictions" ought to follow, and the words "local necessities" and the balance stricken out. And the next two lines ought to be stricken out.
THE PRESIDENT--The correction will be made as requested.
Resolution No. 191, by Mr. Howell.
Resolved, That when an article of the Constitution has been passed by this Convention and ordered engrossed or enrolled, the chairman of the Committee who reported the article, be appointed and requested to see that the article is correctly engrossed or enrolled as the case may be.
MR. HOWELL--We have come to the period in the history of this Convention when the articles are being passed, and are ordered to be engrossed and enrolled, but no provision has been made for the correctness of the enrollment, and it occurs to me it would be better for the chairmen of the different committees, after the engrossment or enrollment of these bills or articles, to examine them, or have them examined, to see that they are correctly engrossed and enrolled. It might possibly save a great deal of trouble hereafter to have somebody authorized to see that they are correctly enrolled, and as this is a plain proposition, I move a suspension of the rules that this resolution may be put upon its passage.
Upon a vote being taken the rules were suspended and a further vote being taken the resolution was adopted.
MR. REESE--I desire to hive notice that I saw the Convention was going to adopt the resolution, but I do not think anybody knew it was. I voted in the affirmative, and give notice I will make a motion to reconsider it after I find out what it is.
Ordinance No. 402, by Mr. Mulkey
Amend Section 2, Article. X of the Constitution:
Be it ordained by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled that Section 2 of Article X of the Constitution be amended by adding after the last word thereof, the following:
Provided that executory contracts in writing for the sale of homesteads, signed by the husband and wife, and acknowledged by the wife, as in the case of conveyances of the homestead, shall be valid and may be enforced.
Referred to Committee on Exemptions.
Resolution No. 192, by Mr. Rogers (Lowndes):
To amend Rule 36 so as to read:
The ayes and noes shall only be ordered when the call therefor is sustained by fifty delegates.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers)--I move to lay it on the table.
THE PRESIDENT--It is not in order to do so at this time. The question is not up for consideration. It will be referred to the Committee on Rules.
MR. SMITH (Mobile)--I desire to return Ordinance No. 305, referred to the Judiciary Committee, and ask that it be referred to the Committee on Exemptions.
The reference was changed as requested.
Ordinance No. 403, by Mr. Winn:
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Be it ordained by the State of Alabama, in Convention assembled, that the Railroad Commissioners of Alabama shall have plenary power in all matters pertaining to the discharge of their duties and their salaries shall be paid by the State; provided the railroad shall have the right to appeal to the courts from the decisions of said Commissioners whenever they deem such decisions oppressive.
Referred to Committee on Corporations.
A petition was offered by Mr. Winn.
THE PRESIDENT--The Chair will state that no motion has been made for the reading of the petition.
MR. WINN--I just ask that the petition be read without the names which are attached to it. The petition is very short.
The petition was read as follows:
Clayton, Ala., June 24.
To the Honorable Constitutional Convention, Montgomery, Ala.
Dear Sirs:--We respectfully represent that whereas the Railroad Commission appointed by the Governor and paid by the railroads has proven an entire failure; and whereas the shipper and consumer should have some representation in the naming of rates and making of rules by what is otherwise alien and arbitrary power. That, whereas, the Express, Telephone, Telegraph and Railroad Franchises are given by the State, the power of these franchises to tax should be limited by the State. We therefore request that your Honorable Body will give the State a Commission, elected and paid by the people and place all franchises, which have power to tax, within their review.
W. H. Pruett, Judge of Probate ; T. R. Parrish, President Clayton Banking Company; O. B. Pruett, Cashier; M. M. Stricklin, jeweler; J. T. Martin, merchant; J. R. Ventress, merchant; S. Reynolds, merchant; T. R. Parrish & Bro., merchants ; D. H. Blair, dispensary; E. P. Thomas, Mayor; G. W. Peach, attorney; L. H. Lee, editor; .John C. Williams, .T. P.; J. B. Lasseter, ex-Sheriff; M. J. McCinny, Clerk Circuit Court; M. H. Parrish, J. B. Farrior, fertilizer dealer; J. D. Farrior, merchant; J. E. Meadows, cashier Citizens' Bank; A. Bernheim, live stock dealer; B. T. Roberts, Tax Collector; Britt & Co., merchants; W. D. Martin, bookkeeper; J. F. Sneed, farmer; D. E. Nix, J. M. Nix, Andrews &. Martin, J. W. White & Bro. ; Slocomb & McPherson, J. P. West & Co.,O.B. & J. L,. Pruett.
MR. BROOKS (Mobile)--I rise to ask that the clerk will read a little slower. We hear his voice, but cannot hear his enunciation.
MR. ASHCRAFT--I have a communication here of similar import I would like to present at this time. I do not care to have it read.
THE PRESIDENT--Both petitions will be referred to the committee on corporations.
MR. ASHCRAFT--I will state there are several papers there, that are identical except as to the signatures. I do not think it is necessary for the stenographic report to contain a repetition of the language, which is identical, but just the signatures, which are different; it is all intended as one petition.
The petition offered by Mr. Ashcraft and the names attached were as follows:
Florence, Ala., June 14, 1901.
To the Honorable Constitutional Convention, Montgomery, Ala.
Dear Sirs:--We respectfully represent that whereas the Railroad Commission appointed by the Governor, and paid by the railroads, has proven unsatisfactory, and whereas the shipper and consumer should have representation in the naming of rates and making of rules, inasmuch as these rules and rates are made at present wholly by alien and arbitrary power, and whereas the railroad franchises are given by the State the power of the franchises to tax, should be limited by the State.
Resolved, We, therefore request that your honorable body will give the State a Commission elected by the people, appointed by the Supreme Court or appointed by the Governor of the State and paid by the people, and to place all railroad franchises within their review with full power to act. Respectfully,
H. P. Lucas, J. S. Kilburn, F. E. Hazen, Sullivai & Harper, W. S. Douglass, Garner & Embry, J. W. Somer, Florence Machine Works, J. C. Thigpen, L. P. Kinney, George Young, C. W. Ashcraft, Lee Ashcraft, E. Ashcraft, A. A. McGregor, T. H. Allen, M. J. Dillard & Co., Edgar James, Mark Reisman, Andrew Brown, A. Brown & Son, J. Milner & Son, F. J. Bond, Cherry & Sticknell, C. M. Watson, W. H. Cromwell, N. B. Shelton, Frank Jackson, W. M. Bunting, A. E. Bresler, R. M. Bollings, C. H. Jones, A. D. Bellamy, E. Lynn, The People's Exchange, James Hood, P. A. Patrick, W. T. Johnson, C. A. Sullivan, T. J. Phillips, Mitchell Bros., John B. Kilburn, J. W. Boley & Co., H. S. Boley, Mathews & Johnson, H. M. Raney, J. A. McKiney & Co., R. L. Carr & Co., W. W. Killburn, C. Reynolds, Chapin Ice & Coal Co., A. Smith, L. C. Hudson, W. B. Ballentine, Crow Bros., Lauderdale Produce Co., T. E. Berry, J. H. Blair, F. M. Perry, John W. Hall, W. M. Richardson, C. M. Southall, R. A. Rogers.
MR. BANKS--I have a similar paper which I desire to have referred.
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The petition was referred to Committee on Corporations, and was read as follows
Pittsboro, Ala., June 19, 1901.
To Hon. W. H. Banks and B. L. G. Waddell, Representatives of Russell County, Alabama, to the Constitutional Convention
Gentleman--We, the undersigned, respectfully beg and plead with you to do all in your power to have passed the bill which has been introduced that provides for the election by a vote of the people for the office of Railroad Commissioner.
J. W. Caldwell, J. Q. Evans, S. B. Pitts, H. B. Pitts, W. H. Pitts, B. R. Pitts,, A. L. Johnson, F. P. Pitts, Geo. W. Lewis, John J. Martin, E. D. Rutherford, J. C. Joiner, W. M. Burt, W. T. Joiner, M. D., W. A. Russell, E. C. Perry, H. L. Hatcher, W. T. Henderson.
MR. JONES (Montgomery)--By inadvertance my name was called so fast that I did not answer. I would like to have leave to introduce a resolution now.
The leave was given.
Resolution No. 193 by Mr. Jones (Montgomery.)
Resolved, That an additional article be incorporated in the constitution, as follows:
Section 1. When any person in the custody of a sheriff or other lawful officer, is lawlessly taken, or attempted to be taken, from the custody of such sheriff or other officer by a mob or other lawless assemblage, for the purpose of putting such person to death or great bodily harm, and any sheriff, or other officer, or any member of any posse, is killed or injured, in protecting or attempting to protect such prisoner, the county in which such lynching occurs or is attempted, shall be liable in damages to the sheriff, or other officer or member of the posse, if they survive their injuries, or to their legal representatives, in case of their death. Any county made liable under this section, shall have a right of action over against either or all of the persons taking part in such mob or lawless assemblage.
Referred to Committee on Executive Department.
On a call of the standing committees the Committee on State and County Boundaries submitted a report, which was read as follows:
Report of the Committee on State and County Boundaries:
Mr. President--The Committee on State and County Boundaries, to which was referred resolution No. 75, introduced by
Mr. Parker of Elmore, beg leave to report that they have considered the same, and recommend its adoption.
Said resolution is returned herewith.
George H. Parker.
Chairman of Committee Upon State and County Boundaries.
Whereas, the General Assembly of Alabama passed an act, approved March 4th, 1901, entitled "An act to provide for the annexation of West Florida to the State of Alabama," with the consent of the State of Florida and the Congress of the United States; and whereas, the Governor of Alabama has in pursuance of said act, appointed as Commissioners on the part of Alabama Hons. Wm. L. Martin, Richard C. Jones and Samuel Blackwell, to confer with a like Commission on the part of the State of Florida, which Commission is empowered to do and perform all acts necessary and requisite to perfect an agreement for the cession of said territory to the State of Alabama, to be ratified and confirmed by the Legislature of Alabama and approved by the Governor.
Now therefore, be it resolved, that this Convention hereby ratifies and indorses the purposes of said act and the appointment of said Commission.
Resolved, further, that we approve of the annexation of the territory described in said act, to the State of Alabama in the manner set forth herein;
Resolved, further, that we commend the distinguished Commission on the part of Alabama to a painstaking and patriotic effort in consummating liberal terms for the cession of said territory, and recommend such other action by the Legislature of Alabama and the Congress of the United States as may be necessary.
MR. PARKER (Cullman)--I move that the rules be suspended and that the resolution reported by the Committee be put upon its passage at once.
Upon a vote being taken the rules were suspended.
MR. SAMFORD (Pike.)--Pardon me, but I just want to know if that was in reference to our buying west Florida that we are voting on?
THE PRESIDENT--It is on the adoption of the resolution.
MR. SAMFORD (Pike)--With reference to taking that part of west Florida?
MR. SOLLIE--I did not catch the reading of it, not being aware that the resolution would come up so soon for consideration,
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and I do not know what was in it. I would be glad to have it read again if it is not too long.
The resolution submitted by the Committee was read again.
THE PRESIDENT--Complaint is made by delegates that they do not hear the reading of papers from the desk. It seems to the Chair that the reading clerk reads distinctly, and if the delegates would pay attention they would hear.
MR. WHITE--I suggest hereafter when a gentleman makes a complaint of that kind, that the Chair ask him if he has listened.
MR. JONES (Montgomery)--I rise to a point of parliamentary inquiry.
THE PRESIDENT--The gentleman will state the question of inquiry.
MR. JONES (Montgomery)--I would like to move, if there is no objection, that the article on Executive Department be ordered to a third reading.
THE PRESIDENT--The report submitted by the Committee on State and County Boundaries has not been concluded. The Chair will recognize the gentleman from Montgomery at the conclusion of the reading of the report.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers)--I want to suggest that it takes up a good deal of time to have resolutions read over and over again, and that when a gentleman sends a resolution to the clerk's desk, if he will make a statement that he intends to move a suspension of the rules, it will call the attention of delegates to the resolution, and it will not have to be read again.
THE PRESIDENT--The Chair thinks the suggestion of the gentleman from Chambers is a very good one. Of course there are sometimes matters read from the Clerk's desk, which are merely to be referred and members do not give the strict attention to the reading that they would it it was known that a motion was going to be submitted to suspend the rules, and place the resolution upon its passage.
The report of the Committee on State and County Boundaries was thereupon read as follows:
State of Alabama,
Constitutional Convention, 1901.
Report of the Committee on State and County Boundaries.
Mr. President :
The Committee on State and County Boundaries instructs me to report herewith an ordinance to take the place of the article in the present Constitution on the subject.
All of the ordinances and resolutions submitted to the committee have been carefully considered. The principles of some of the same have been incorporated in the article. These ordinances and resolutions are herewith respectfully returned.
The material changes in the article reported are as follows:
To the first section as to the boundaries of the State is added a proviso, so that if circumstances should be propitious, the limits and jurisdiction of the State would extend over any land or territory hereafter acquired.
In this connection, we have reported favorably a resolution giving the support of this Convention to the Commissioners appointed under an act of the last Legislature as to the matter of the connection of a certain part of Florida to this State.
Section 2 of the present Constitution has been divided into several sections so as to make each provision therein clear and definite.
The boundaries of the counties under Section 3 can only be changed by an act of the Legislature passed by a majority of the members elected to each house thereof, and a two-thirds vote of the qualified electors, within the proposed territory to be taken from one county and added to another.
New counties can only be created in like manner.
No county line shall be changed so as to run within seven miles of the Court House of any old county.
No county site can be removed without a two-thirds vote of the qualified electors voting at an election held for such purpose; and elections for such purpose can only be held once in every four years.
The area of counties has been reduced from six hundred to five hundred miles.
The county site of Shelby county, by proviso to Section 6 is fixed at Columbiana until changed by the vote of the people. There is an act of the General Assembly of Alabama approved the 9th day of February, 1899, and an act amendatory thereto, approved the 20th of February, 1899, providing for an election to fix the
permanent location of the county site of Shelby county, and the benefit of such an election could be had at any time within four years from its approval. Without seeking to have an election under these acts, a bill was passed through the last Legislature, changing the county site from Columbiana to Calera. After a patient and careful investigation. of the manner of the passage of this bill it was evident to a majority of the committee
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First--That only one member of the House could be found who knew of the existence or passage of the bill, and that member was the originator of the same.
Second--No officer of the House had any independent recollection of the bill.
Third--The bill was kept off from the calendar of the house and out of the newspapers.
The bill was passed regularly in the Senate, during its last day, and was on its calendar, but so late that no one in Shelby county except those interested in its passage, knew anything about it until after the adjournment of the Legislature. The result is that this act was passed by wrong methods without the knowledge of the members of the House, and the county site changed, without the consent or knowledge of the people of Shelby county. It is conceded, in our judgment, that the courts cannot go behind the journals. The people of that county are therefore left without a remedy unless this Convention grants it to right the above wrong, and as an act of justice to the people of Shelby county the committee is of the opinion, and it is their judgment, that said county site should remain at Columbiana unless changed by the vote of the people of that county. We return the evidence heard before the committee.
Upon some portions of the article some of the members dissent and reserve the liberty of action.
George H. Parker, Chairman.
Minority report of the Committee on State and County Boundaries:
We the undersigned members of the Committee on State and County Boundaries do not concur with the majority in that part of Section 6 which refers to the Shelby county Court House. And we offer as an amendment to Section 6 of the majority report that all part of Section 6 which refers to the Shelby county Court House be stricken out.
J. O. Sentell,
J. A. Gilmore.
The undersigned member of the Committee on State and County Boundaries does not concur in the report of the committee as to Sections 2, 3 and 4, and he offers as substitute therefor the following:
Sec. 3--The boundaries of the several counties of this State as heretofore established by law, are hereby ratified and confirmed. The General Assembly may by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses thereof arrange and designate boundaries for the several counties
of this State, which boundaries shall not be altered, except by a like vote; but no new counties shall be hereafter formed of less than six hundred square miles and no existing county shall be reduced to less than six hundred square miles; and no new county shall be formed which does not contain a sufficient number of inhabitants to entitle it to one representative under the ratio of representation existing at the time of the formation, and leave the county or counties from which it is taken with the required number of inhabitants entitling such county or counties to separate representation.
C. H. Miller.
MR. PRESIDENT--The undersigned respectfully dissent from that part of the report of the committee herewith filed which reduces the Constitutional area of a county below 600 square miles.
After a careful and painstaking investigation from every avenue of information, we are forced to the conclusion that any change reducing the area of the old counties below the present Constitutional limit would be a source of political strife and dissension in many parts of our State and endanger if not defeat the ratification of the proposed Constitution. We base this conclusion upon the following premises, which we think are indisputable
First--This question was not an issue in the campaign except to a very limited extent.
Second--The sentiment of the people is divided, but largely against reduction.
Third--In most of the counties the tax rate is already up to the Constitutional limit, hence any reduction of the old counties would decrease their revenues, interfere with the harmony and autonomy of the same, destroy their symmetry and arouse influence against ratification which under normal conditions would be in favor of ratification.
We do not object to a reduction to some extent of the area of the counties hereafter to be formed, with such other restrictions as would be beneficial to the maintenance of the same.
We therefore move to amend the report of the committee by striking out "five hundred" where it occurs in Section 3 and adding in lieu thereof the words "six hundred."
J. E. Cobb,
John H. Parker,
E. C. Jackson.
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An ordinance to create and define the State and County Boundaries, and to regulate the location of County sites, and the formation of new counties.
Be it ordained by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled, that Article Two of the Constitution be stricken out and the following article inserted in lieu thereof:
State and County Boundaries, County Sites and New Counties.
Section 1.--The boundaries of this State are established and defined to be as follows, that is to say: Beginning at the point where the 31st degree of north latitude crosses the Perdido River, thence east to the western boundary line of the State of Georgia; thence along said line to the southern boundary line of the State of Tennessee, thence west along the southern boundary line of the State of Tennessee crossing the Tennessee River and on to the second intersection of said river by said line, thence up said river to the mouth of Big Bear Creek; thence by a direct line to the northwest corner of Washington County, in this State, as originally formed; thence southerly along the line of the State of Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico, thence eastwardly, including all islands within six leagues of the shore to the Perdido River; thence up said river to the beginning; provided that the limits and jurisdiction of this State shall extend to and include any other land and territory now acquired, or hereafter acquired, by contract or agreement with other States or otherwise, although such land and territory are not included within the boundaries hereinbefore designated.
Sec. 2.--The boundaries of the several counties of this State as they now exist are hereby ratified and confirmed.
Sec. 3.--The General Assembly shall have the power, provided that each house by a majority of the members elected thereto shall vote in favor thereof, to submit to a vote of the people residing within the territory proposed to be taken from one county and given to another, a change or alteration in county lines, but no such change or alteration shall be made unless such proposed change or alteration shall receive two-thirds of the votes of the qualified electors voting at such election; and, provided, that no county line shall be changed or altered so as to reduce any old county below five hundred square miles, or which shall reduce the inhabitants in such county below the number of inhabitants to entitle the county to one representative.
Sec. 4.--The General Assembly shall have power, provided that each House, by a majority of its members elected thereto, shall vote in favor therefor, to submit to a vote of the people within the boundaries of the proposed new county, the creation and
formation of new counties, but no new county shall be created, unless such proposed new county shall receive two-thirds of the votes of the qualified electors, voting; at such election; and at the same time the question of a name and a county seat for such county shall be submitted to and determined by said electors; and, provided, that no new county shall be created or formed of less extent than five hundred square miles, and which does not contain a sufficient number of inhabitants to entitle it to one representative under the ratio of representation existing; at the time of its creation, and leave the county or counties from which it is taken ,with the required number of inhabitants entitling such county or counties to separate representation, or which shall reduce any old county below five hundred square miles.
Sec. 5.--No county lines shall be altered or changed or in the creation of new counties shall be established so as to run within seven miles of the county court house of any old county.
Sec. 6.--No county site shall be removed except by a two-thirds vote of the qualified electors of said county, voting in an election held for said purpose, and when an election has once been held for such purpose, no other election can be held for such purpose until the expiration of four years; provided that the county site of Shelby county of this State shall be and remain at Columbiana, unless removed by a vote of the people as provided for in an act entitled "In act to provide for the permanent location of the county site of Shelby County, in Alabama, by a vote of the qualified electors of said county," approved the 9th day of February, 1899, and the act amendatory thereto, approved the 20th day of February, 1899, or by an election held under the provisions of this article.
MR. PARKER (Cullman)--I move that the report of the Committee be printed with the article.
THE PRESIDENT--It is moved that the report of the Committee be printed with the article.
A vote being taken the motion was carried.
THE PRESIDENT--The report of the Committee with the minority reports and the ordinance reported will be over and be printed.
MR. PARKER (Cullman)--I move to make this report a special order after the last special order that was made.
The motion was seconded by Mr. deGraffenreid.
THE PRESIDENT--It is moved that this ordinance and report be made a special order after the other special orders that have been made include the report of the Committee on Taxation the report of the Committee on Preamble and Declaration of
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Rights, the report of the Committee on Legislation and the report of the Committee on Municipal Corporation.
MR. OATES--Is it necessary to make an order of that kind. I suppose it would conic naturally in the order in which the reports were made unless the Convention votes otherwise.
THE PRESIDENT--It seems to the Chair that it would come up in that order except that the order of business is a little different. The regular order is reports of standing committees, reports of special committees, unfinished business, special orders, consideration of ordinances and resolutions which have been reported from the committee. It simply advances it one rank in the order of business.
MR. OATES -- I made the inquiry for the reason that sometimes something occurs which renders it important to change the order of procedure. As a mile, I think it entirely fair to take up the reports in the order in which they were made, but sometimes a necessity may develop for changing it.
THE PRESIDENT--It would be competent for the Convention to make the change when the contingency arises.
MR. OATES--With that understanding, I have no objection to it.
MR. JACKSON--I would like to ask if the report of the Committce on Banks and Banking does not also come before this report from Committee on State and County Boundaries?
THE PRESIDENT--It does, and the Chair failed to enumerate it.
A vote being taken the motion to print was carried.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) -- I ask unanimous consent that the Clerk correct a typographical error in the report of the Committee on Local Legislation. The error is in Section 6, line 4 and consists of the omission of the words "is one" after the word "article."
THE PRESIDENT --Is there objection? The Chair hears none and it is so ordered.
MR. OATES -- I wish to inquire of the delegate from Lauderdale if it was not understood that the supplemental report made from the Committee on Legislative Department was to be printed and considered along with his report?
MR. OATES--It has not been printed.
THE CLERK--It was brought it in at a later day and is now in the hands of the printer.
MR. OATES--The two ought to go together.
MR. O'NEAL--That was the understanding, and there is no objection on the part of the Committee on Local Legislation to that arrangement.
THE PRESIDENT--The next order of business will be the consideration of the special order pending when the convention adjourned on yesterday.
Mr. Graham here endeavored to obtain recognition.
THE PRESIDENT--To what purpose does the gentleman rise?
MR. GRAHAM--To address the Convention on the pending matter.
MR. BURNS--I rise to a question of privilege.
MR. CARNATHAN--I rise to a point of order. The gentleman is out of order. He is not in his seat.
MR. BURNS--I am rising to a question of special privilege. My seat is there. The gentleman don't seem to know anything else that point of order. The other day I rose to a question of special privilege and asked the correction of remarks attributed to me that there had been no lynchings in Alabama. What I said was that there had been no lynchings with the connivance of the sheriff. The record has not shown the correction. In yesterday's proceedings in the latter half of the fourth column, first page, I am made to make a motion to table which is entirely foreign to my nature, something that I never have done. I would like to have that corrected.
THE PRESIDENT--The official stenographer will be instructed to make the correction.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--The pending question is the question which the House had under consideration day before yesterday at its adjournment.
THE PRESIDENT--The question before the Convention is the amendment offered by the delegate from Pike to Section 1 of the report of the Committee on Taxation.
MR. GRAHAM--Gentlemen of the Convention. I desire to address myself to the amendment which has been offered--
MR. SPEARS--I would like to offer a substitute so that the gentleman can address himself to it as well.
MR. GRAHAM--Not knowing the nature of the substitute, I desire to address myself to the pending amendment.
THE PRESIDENT--The gentleman from St. Clair will have an opportunity to offer the substitute later.
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MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--In the discussion of this amendment day before yesterday, the debate took a wide range, and in order that I may meet many objections and criticisms of institutions now in existence in Alabama, it will be necessary for me to be heard in a range equally wide. I do not desire to impune the motives of any delegate upon this floor, nor will I in the least in my mind and heart reflect upon the position taken by any gentleman. But I am impressed that the question now before us is the old legislative fight against District Agricultural Schools, made under the guise of befriending the farmers of Alabama. I shall not at this time attempt to inject a biographical sketch of myself in the proceedings of this Convention to show that my early influences, environments and training, and all those things that go to make up the life of early manhood of a man, that all of my sympathies are with the farmer, and are of such sacred character that I would not dare upon any occasion to do anything that would be detrimental to the interest of this class in Alabama. We have had it urged here that we should not do certain things because it smacks of local legislation. Gentleman of the Convention the climax has been reached. Under the guise of putting a principle in the Constitution. we have come here indirectly to demolish ten departments in the educational system of Alabama. The District Agricultural Schools are creatures of the Legislature, and this is an attempt to abolish the act of the Legislature. If the Legislature coming from the heart of the people created these institutions.
MR. GREER (Calhoun)--I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT--The gentleman will state the point of order.
MR. GREER--The gentleman is not addressing himself to the question. The Agricultural Schools are not in question in the amendment.
THE PRESIDENT--It seems to the Chair that the gentleman is within the range of the discussion.
MR. GRAHAM--I was going to remark, Mr. President, that if I was not in order, it would be in order to move to strike the gentleman's speech from the record, made on day before yesterday. (Applause.) I was proceeding to say that if the Legislature created these institutions, then it is the duty of this Convention to leave it to the Legislature to abolish them. They are not creatures of the Constitution. Every gentleman who has spoken upon this question, admitted that it was necessary to have fertilizers examined. It is necessary for the protection of the farmer and when we take him as a class the law which requires that fertilizer shall be examined, and the law which requires that these District Agricultural Schools shall exist and be supported out of this Agricultural fund--were passed in the express interest and in behalf of the farmers of Alabama demanding such legislation. It is not an
infringement upon them as a class that they shall pay this fertilizer tax. Every vocation in Alabama of a professional character, and of a corporate character pays a license tax, and it is not a burden upon the farmer that he should pay the small license tax for the support of a department, to see that fertilizers of a spurious kind are not foisted upon the people, and to support institutions located in agricultural sections for the agricultural class. Now as to the argument made here that these schools are doing no good. Let us see about it. In the first place they are doing no good because they do not reach the masses of the people. Gentlemen of the Convention, on that basis I charge that the University of Auburn and the A. & M College at Auburn do not reach the masses of the people, hence you should abolish them at the same time. The enrollment at the University and at Auburn combined is less than 600, outside of the professional courses. The enrollment in the nine District Agricultural Schools approximates 2,300. Which class of institutions reaches the masses of the people? But answering the argument that they are doing no good. I would like to call your attention to the fact that these schools are located in the nine Congressional Districts in centers of agricultural interests, and they as high schools, outside of the question of scientific training, meet the demands of the poor boys and poor girls of this State who are not able to bear the expense of going to Tuscaloosa and to Auburn. They furnish an opportunity to the poorer classes that they may reach these high schools, and there equip themselves not only for farmers--and I will meet the argument on that line later--but that they may equip themselves for any vocation in life. You do not undertake to say that a boy that goes to the Polytechnic Institute at Auburn shall devote himself to a certain specific employment, nor do you limit it to that of farming. I say that boys and girls of this State, many of them are unable to bear the expense of going to distant schools and pay their board in the larger cities, and it is in behalf of this class that I make this appeal, that these schools shall not be removed, because the effect of the adoption of this amendment will abolish every one of them the very day that the Constitution here made is ratified by the people. Let us look at these schools and see if they are merely local in their influence, as stated upon this floor. I quote from the report of the State Superintendent for the year ending 1900. I find enrolled in these schools that year 2,268 pupils, taught by fifty three teachers, and representing fifty-three counties in Alabama. Look upon the rolls of the University and the A. and M. College, and show me where fifty-three counties are represented in these institutions. Tell me that they are local in their effect! The statistics deny the assertion! Now then they say that they are not devoted to agricultural purposes. Maybe they are not. Where is the gentleman that will contend that you can make an expert of a man as a physician without giving him first a common school education, where is the man that will contend
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that you can make a reputable lawyer and an expert lawyer of a man without first giving him rudimentary training? On the line of argument adopted by some of the farmers in this Convention that a farmer is made to work in a cotton field, I would refer you to every negro in Alabama engaged in agricultural pursuits as an expert and scientific farmer, because they have more experience in farm work than any other class. Gentlemen you must first furnish a common school education in order to get foundation for scientific training in agriculture. The distinguished gentleman from Washington by his able and intelligent arguments upon this line showed that he had a foundation to build upon both in education and experience before he became an expert farmer and agriculturist. The question of good faith has been raised. Good faith? Are the farmers the only ones that have any rights to this tax? Are they? Let me explain to you that each of these agricultural schools has been located at some community where that community has made an effort and a large outlay of money to obtain these schools. I read from the report of the State Superintendent that a portion of these schools have turned in the valuation of their property, and figuring it out upon the estimates of those who have reported,--and with one another, the value of whose property I know--there is invested in this State in each one of these schools $15,000, and that investment has been made by the communities where the schools are located. I ask you gentlemen, have these citizens of Jackson in the First District, of Evergreen in the Second District, of Abbeville in the Third District, of Sylacauga in the Fourth District, of Wetumpka in the Fifth District, of Hamilton in the Sixth District, of Albertville in the Seventh District, of Athens in the Eighth District, of Blountsville in the Ninth District, any right and equities to be considered on this floor? How is that property held? Each community that is given the pitiful sum of $2,500 a year has gone before the Governor and Board of Alabama and secured that location by furnishing a school building, furnishing land for agricultural experiments, and those communities have given the deeds of all that property to the State of Alabama to be held in trust so long as the State shall provide for that property to be held for educational purposes. Do we owe anything to these communities, and we break faith with them, and thus abruptly take away from them this appropriation and let the State lose this property which in round numbers will amount to $135,000 today, that the State holds in trust for educational purposes. No, gentlemen, if you do this you violate every right and every obligation of a contract made in good faith between the people of the nine communities enumerated by me and the great State of Alabama. Let me illustrate a point. Sylacauga, in the Fourth District, has the most valuable property that is used for this purpose. I am personally acquainted with the property--and I am not one of those that made an appeal here that these schools be not abolished because I have one in my
town. I have not. My heart and my soul are as much with the people of Jackson in Clarke, and with the people of Athens in Limestone, as they are with my own fellow citizens at Sylacauga. Let me illustrate. The citizens of Sylacauga when they secured the location of this school there laid down a check for $5,000 before the Governor of Alabama. They put in deeds for 200 acres of land, they put in a deed for a school building and the lot on which it was erected, the building costing $30,000--making a total at the very least estimate of $40,000, that the citizens of Sylacauga gave in order to get an annual appropriation from the State of Alabama of $2,500, and the interest on the donation from Sylacauga at 8 per cent. amounts to more in one year than the State of Alabama gives back to the people of that community--$3,200--
MR. PEARCE--Will you permit me to ask you a question?
THE PRESIDENT--Will the gentleman consent to be interrupted?
MR. PEARCE--Was that deed made to the farmers or to the State of Alabama
MR. GRAHAM--It was made to the State of Alabama--there was no other place for it to be made--it is an agricultural State, $3,200 interest on the investment of the people by Sylacauga, against $2,500 from the State. Where is the man who has any regard for the sacredness and the obligation of a contract that can vote here to repudiate a condition of this kind? All of them may not have done so well, but they have all done as well as they can, they have cast in what they could, and it is as sacred under the law as the larger donations. There is one other element in that proposition. That building that I have referred to was owned by a corporation known as Sylacauga Improvement Company, and fully 90 per cent. of the stock of that corporation was owned by citizens of Pittsburgh, Pa. They made a deed, without one dollar of inducement, to the State of Alabama to this valuable property, to be held in trust for educational purposes in Alabama. Will the Constitutional Convention of Alabama show less interest in the education of the boys and girls of Alabama than a Pittsburgh, Pa., corporation? I ask you that solemn question. And now what? Pass this amendment and these properties which have been held in trust by the State of Alabama for educational purposes will revert to the original grantors, and you have these school houses in the respective communities struggling for an existence, and dependent solely for educational advantages on three months' common school in Alabama. Gentlemen, did we come here as a constructive people or destructive people? Do we recognize the fact that an intelligent citizenship is to be the foundation of all future growth and prosperity in this country? If we
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do, we dare not place our hands upon a single educational institution in Alabama and tear it to its foundation and destroy its influence and its worth. We have a solemn trust. We cannot depend upon material development--we cannot depend upon agricultural prosperity in Alabama to make it a great State. It will only be when the school house and the church spire tower to the heavens in every community, only when the citizenship of the State rally around their educational institutions that we can unfurl our banner to the breeze and say in truth that we are going onward and upward.
There is another feature. The contracts for these nine schools have been made for another years. Fifty-three teachers have been employed to work in these schools. The citizens of the communities are standing there waiting for the boys and girls to come in representing as they did in the preceding year fifty-three counties in the State of Alabama--and mind you, gentlemen, I want to impress it upon your minds--that the boarding pupils of these institutions are boys and girls coming from humble farm homes, their incomes will not justify going to more distant schools and where board will be higher. Do not go off on the argument that they do not reach all. Only 50 per cent. of the children of educational age are in your common schools. If you are going to argue the same question with the same legitimate consequences you must close your common schools in Alabama, because a sufficient per cent. of the people do not patronize these schools, and I want to say to you that the influence and the power of one young man with brawn and brain that comes from one of these humble country homes where a poor father and mother delve all the day and nearly all the night to sustain him in school--when in future years he gets among the people adds strength to the country in whatever sphere he may be, and is worth more than 10,000 of those who shut their eyes and ears to the influences of common school education in Alabama. I am for the poor boys and girls who ought to reach these schools and have no other means of higher education. Now on the point that I left a moment ago. Are you going to break the contracts with 53 teachers in Alabama for another year? Are they not as sacred as any contracts that you have as individuals. Are you going to do it? Have those people with their local investment, and the local pride they have shown by spending their money--have they no rights to be considered at the hands of this Convention? Away with that narrowness that makes a man fight a school because it did not happen to be located in his own town; away with that narrowness that does not want a school to flourish and to do good in Alabama because, forsooth, every boy and girl in the State does not attend it! Now, let me call your attention to another fact. You say that the poor farmers of the State pay it and do not get the benefit of it? Somebody said that the tenant classes largely paid it and not the owner of the land. Who constitute
the large majority of the tenant class in Alabama? Who is it, gentlemen? It is the negro. There is not a school located in this State today for the negro children of this kind and character, yet every negro who buys a ton of fertilizer contributes his share and his mite to the support of these district schools. What are you going to do about that?
MR. GREER (Calhoun) --Will you permit me to ask a question? As chairman of the committee as you are don't you think you had better remedy that evil in your report?
MR. GRAHAM--I suppose my report will be up for consideration hereafter, and if it is not known to the gentlemen of this Convention now I make it known for future purposes, that I stand here forever to say that the negro in Alabama shall riot be remitted forever solely to his taxes for the support of his schools.
MR. ESPY--Will you permit an interruption?
MR. GRAHAM--Just one moment, I would prefer not to be interrupted now. This Agricultural fund last year in the last report, amounts to $75,000. These schools draw $25,000. I beg to correct a portion of my statement in regard to the benefits that the negro receives. I understand that $1,500 of this fund goes to Tuskegee to Booker Washington's school and $1,000 to Patterson's school at the colored University, making them to receive one-tenth of the amount appropriated for this purpose, when I dare say that the facts would show that they pay 40 per cent. of the tag tax. I was going on to say that the receipts last year were only $75,000. These schools received $25,000 and Auburn received something over $11,000, making a total appropriation something like $40,000 for these purposes. Now then, gentlemen, we are talking about taxation in Alabama. The subject of taxation is before us. If you abolish this tag tax where are you going to get the funds to support these schools. We cannot afford to destroy them. Where is their support to come from. How are you going to keep faith with these institutions? Will the State of Alabama by one act destroy $125,000 of property in order to save $75,000 that are now paid out by the farmers. Nobody contends that this tax ought to be entirely removed, or that the expense of examination should not be defrayed. Where are you going to get the money to do it? Where? Now then, gentlemen, to state it as briefly as I can, to adopt this amendment brings us to this point: The State of Alabama will lose $75,000 income. The farmers will not have their fertilizers examined, with the result that the price of the fertilizer will not be reduced one cent. They can stand here and talk for years and years and tell me that the adoption of this amendment will bring about a reduction in the price of fertilizer, but I have got too much corporation sense and
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experience for any man ever to make me believe that absurd proposition. The State loses $75,000 and the farmer gains nothing is your first proposition. The next proposition is, that the State loses $135,000 in good school property that it now holds, and gains nothing. The next proposition is that you violate a contract of good faith with nine communities in this State; abrogate a contract with fifty-three teachers and shut the school houses to 2,300 pupils in Alabama. You give a blow to educational progress in Alabama that we cannot recover from in the course of ten years, however much we may increase in tax values and in appropriation for public schools. I call upon the gentlemen on this floor who have a regard for the sacredness of a contract, who believe that we meant what we said when we stated in our platform that Alabama should take no backward step in education, who believe that these schools are doing good work in Alabama, who believe that we should keep faith with the people of the State,-- I say I call upon you to vote down this amendment and let us prove to the people of Alabama by our acts that we meant what we said.
MR. ESPY--I desire to offer an amendment.
The amendment was read as follows:
Amend by adding "and after September, 1903, no license or other tax shall ever be levied or collected for the inspection of any article of merchandise used for fertilizer, in excess of 10 cents per ton."
MR. GRAHAM--Will the gentleman from Henry allow me to make one statement?
MR. GRAHAM--In arguing the proposition of what these communities had put into the several schools, I overlooked one fact and that is that these nine schools spent $20,000 last year made up in their respective counties in supplementing the appropriation of $22,500 from the State. I desire that to go in as a portion of my argument in regard to what the respective communities paid.
MR. FOSTER--May I ask the gentleman from Talladega a question?
THE PRESIDENT--If the gentleman from Henry will yield to you for that purpose.
MR. FOSTER--Are these schools supported entirely by the money from the fertilizer tax?
MR. GRAHAM--Nine of them receive $22,500 from the State each year and the report shows that they supplement that by about $20,000
MR. SAMFORD--But the $22,500 comes exclusively from the sale of guano tag tax.
MR. GRAHAM--Certainly. I understand the gentleman to ask did the whole support.
MR. SAMFORD--But the $22,500 comes from the tag tax?
MR. GRAHAM--Yes, and the record shows that those people are adding as much as that themselves approximately.
MR. ESPY--In offering this amendment I do not care to be understood as being opposed to the amendment offered by the gentleman from Pike. On the contrary, I am in sympathy with both the sentiment and the letter of that amendment. But since its introduction, and its discussion on this floor it has become evident that a large majority of the delegates desire that the law should be changed so as to prohibit the levying of the tax for an amount at least sufficient to pay for the inspection of the fertilizer.
Another point has been urged here that teachers have been employed for these various schools, amounting in number, I believe, the gentleman from Talladega said, to fifty-three, and I agree with him it would not be right to deprive these teachers of the benefits of their contracts already made.
Again, Mr. President, I have heard it suggested that the Legislature in providing for the revenues necessary to run the State of Alabama looked to this source of income which amounts to anywhere from seventy-five to one hundred thousand dollars per annum, therefore my amendment seeks to obviate the objections pointed out by the various delegates so as to meet those difficulties--to make the section become effective on the first day of September, 1903, and thereby remove the objection that the revenue that the Legislature had in view would be taken from the treasury and so that the teachers of the State would not be deprived of any rights that they may have had by virtue of their contracts.
MR. deGRAFFENREID--I will ask if all of the fertilizer factories in the United States are not in a trust?
MR. ESPY--I understand they are.
MR. deGRAFFENREID--They are all combined?
MR. ESPY--Yes, sir.
MR. deGRAFFENREID--They fix the price of fertilizer.
MR. ESPY--To some extent.
MR. deGRAFFENREID--Now I do not mean to indicate by this question that I do not sympathize with this amendment
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or that I do, but if we were to adopt the suggestion of yours, will not this be legislation in the interest of the trust?
MR. ASHCRAFT?--I do not desire it to go unchallenged on the floor of this Convention that all the fertilizer factories are in a trust. I happen to know one that is not.
MR. ROGERS (Sumter)--I want to rise and say that there are very few fertilizer factories that are in the trust.
MR. SANDERS (Limestone)--I understand the cost of analysis is about ten cents per ton?
MR. ESPY--My understanding is in that neighborhood. Some say five and some say ten, in the different States.
MR. SANDERS--Then after 1903 the ten cents for which your amendment provides would only pay the cost of the analysis and leave nothing for the schools?
MR. ESPY--That is the proposition.
MR. SANDERS--The effect would be to wipe out these schools.
MR. ESPY--So far as this money is concerned. That is the purpose of my amendment, to permit the Legislature to charge enough to pay the expenses of the analysis only. The gentleman has properly construed the amendment.
Now, addressing myself to the merit of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Pike, as amended by myself, I desire to say I favor it because as the matter stands now it is class legislation of the most vicious character. The farmer pays tax upon his land and upon every other species of property just as any other man does, and when the Legislature prescribed the rate of taxation to produce the revenues by which the State of Alabama shall be run, they lay an equally heavy hand upon the lands and all other property of the farmer and he pays the demand. Now in addition to that the Legislature goes further and puts a special tax upon these tags which produce a revenue of from $75,000 to $100,000 per annum. Where is there a man within the sound of my voice who does not see that the farmers in the State of Alabama in addition to what they pay on their property generally, are taxed additionally to the extent of $75,000 or $100,000. That is the question that is involved here. It is double taxation. As has been well suggested by gentlemen here, no tax is laid upon the products, no tax is laid upon the material or goods used by any other men in any other vocation in Alabama. If this statement is not correct, I challenge any gentleman here to correct it. Those who operate coal mines and operate iron mines, pay nothing at all. Then what is this? It is a species of legislation directed alone against one class of men. It is true delegates upon this floor may say it is
not class legislation. This is true. And why? Because every man who buys fertilizer has to pay the tax. But practically it is class legislation, because the farmers alone buy the fertilizer.
The Legislature itself has recognized the wrong it has done to the farmers in Alabama, and recognizing that wrong, they say in substance this: "Boys, if you will keep quiet, we will return you a portion of that which we have wrongfully taken from you." How? They say, "Yes, we are taking from you $75,000 to $100,000 per annum. You are here before the Legislature asking that that law be repealed. Now be quiet, hush and go home, and if you do, we will divide with you." "How will you divide?" "In order to buy your peace and secure your silence, we will establish in each Congressional district in the State of Alabama an Agricultural school and we will give $2,500 per annum to each school. That is the price for silence that we pay you, $2,500 per annum for each school, amounting to $22,500 in all." Where does the balance go? I ask you delegates, I appeal to you as honest men conceding that the schools are what they were intended to be, conceding that they accomplish the purposes for which they were created, there remains from $60,000 to $75,000 per annum that does not go to educate the farmers' children, that does not go in support of agricultural schools. Where does it go? It goes into the State treasury, or substantially all of it goes into the State treasury, thereby doing what? Doubling the taxation upon the farmers of the State of Alabama. And no gentleman as I conceive it can successfully challenge the statement or the proposition
Why, it is urged here that the farmers themselves want it. I deny that. I know that the farmers in my section are clamoring for its repeal, and I know that the farmer delegates who have spoken upon this floor have appealed to this Convention to relieve them from this burden they are now bearing; and it so happens that at least two of these speakers live in counties where they have schools, and they see the practical operations of these schools, the state of affairs and the condition that exists, and in answer to that proposition what do they say? The opposition come and say that this fight is the same old fight upon the agricultural schools of this State. I deny it, Mr. President, that is not it. Why do they resort to that argument? Because if they cannot defend their position on that line they cannot defend it at all, it is indefensible, and they must go down in defeat. Who here has asked that a single school in Alabama be destroyed? Not one, no delegate has asked that. But here is the proposition, don't tax one class of people so as to make that class bear more than its pro rata of taxation.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--Will the gentleman from Henry allow me to ask him one question?
MR. ESPY--Yes, sir.
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MR. GRAHAM--If we adopt this amendment and ratify the Constitution would it not cut off any chance of appropriation to those schools from the date of the ratification of the Constitution?
MR. ESPY--No, sir.
MR. GRAHAM--Where would the appropriation come from?
MR. ESPY--Out of the general revenue. This amendment does cut you off from laying it on the farmers, but it does not cut off its being appropriated out of the general treasury.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega) --Then would it not be necessary for the protection and continuation of these schools for the Legislature to meet and pass a special act?
MR. ESPY--No, sir; this don't go into effect until 1903.
MR. GRAHAM--Would it not cut it off after 1903?
MR. ESPY--I think it would.
As I was going on to say, they say that this is the old fight against the schools. In that they are mistaken. They are making a false issue, dodging the real issue. And why? Because they know there is no delegate in the Convention who is in favor of tearing down any institution of learning. I agree with the gentleman from Talladega in his eloquent remarks as to the necessity and the beneficial effects of education; I differ with him as to the manner of deriving the revenue to support those institutions. He charged that the purpose is to destroy the schools; we assert that the purpose is not to destroy the schools, but to maintain them, but to require that the money should be gotten not from the farmers but from all the people. I think I have successfully demonstrated that the farmer is doubly taxed to the extent of $100,000.
Now the next proposition the gentleman makes is that this is an improper place, to have this thing in the Constitution. I fear my friend, with all due respect to his great learning, has studied the province of a Constitution but little. A Constitution proper should contain as nearly as possible commands and prohibitions. This is a prohibition. The people themselves do not need the adoption of the Constitution to confer power. That is not the purpose of it. The purpose of a State Constitution is to restrict the Legislature from exercising unwise powers, and that is exactly what we are trying to say here. Here is a power that has been vested in the Legislature to tax one class of people for the benefit of another. The law has been passed. Legislature after Legislature has been appealed to to repeal that law. They have not done so and those affected by the tax come here and ask this Convention to insert a clause in the Constitution to prevent a continuation of a repetition of that unjust taxation. That is all that is involved in this amendment.
The next proposition I desire to call attention to is that they say we charge these schools are doing no good. No such a charge as that has been made. No such charge will be made; but so far as the agricultural feature of the colleges is concerned, I do not mind stating to the gentleman so far as I have been able to find out from each one of them, each one is a failure from an agricultural standpoint. That is the proposition. I have one in my county and I say unhesitatingly that so far as the agricultural feature is concerned it is absolutely worthless. Yet it is a fine school and it is doing a great deal of good and I do not ask this Convention to take any steps that would destroy that school. But when you come to me and tell me if you don't give us a tax from the farmers to support that school, the school must go, I tell you to let it go, it ought to go. It is not right to tax one class of people to support schools for the entire country. Is there any delegate here who will contend that these schools are not equally open to the sons and daughters of every other class of men as well as farmers? They cannot make that statement.
MR. JACKSON--I understand the gentleman to say that the purpose of his amendment is not to destroy the schools?
MR. ESPY--Not at all.
MR. JACKSON--But is not the result to destroy the schools?
MR. ESPY--Not at all. If you want to keep up your schools keep them up out of the general fund. That is what you ought to do or let the schools go.
MR. GRAHAM--Will the gentleman from Henry permit an interruption?
MR. ESPY--Yes, sir.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--The proposition has been made that the farmer don't pay this tax, but the manufacturer has to pay it. I want the gentleman as a lawyer to construe a statute.
MR. ESPY--Oh, the law says the manufacturer shall pay it.
MR. GRAHAM--That is not all. Allow me to read it: "Whenever any manufacturer, merchants, or other person selling fertilizer shall directly or indirectly include such tag tax in the price of the fertilizer sold, such sale is void," I ask you if that would not render void any sale to a farmer where the tag tax was included and the farmer would not have to pay anything.
MR. ESPY--If you could prove it; but as a business man don't you know that every manufacturer of any product adds to the cost of production a legitimate profit?
MR. GRAHAM--If that be true, you should abolish the corporation tax on every corporation in Alabama, because the people have to pay it eventually.
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MR. MALONE--Is it not a fact that the price of fertilizer is regulated by a trust, that while all the factories may not be members of the trust the price is practically regulated by the trust, and is it not a fact that this price is one thing in Georgia and that in Alabama 40 cents is added to it.
MR. ESPY--It is a fact, as I understand it, and I get my information from business men of a very high order who have been dealing in fertilizer for years. For instance, you can order a ton of fertilizer shipped to Saffold, Ga., and another shipped to Alaga, Ala., and although the two stations are not over a quarter of a mile apart, Alaga pays 40 cents a ton more than Saffold, just across the river, for the very same product.
MR. WHITE--The statute was read by Mr. Graham which prohibits manufacturers and dealers from charging up in the price of fertilizer the cost of the tags. Does not that statute recognize the injustice of it?
MR. ESPY--It certainly does.
As I was proceeding to say, here where there is nothing but a State line, where no tax is levied in Georgia except the cost of analysis which is from 7 to 10 cents, the price is one thing, and over in Alabama where we have a 50 cent tax there is an increase of 40 cents on the ton, showing conclusively that the extra charge is made because of the license, and that the consumer in Alabama, notwithstanding the provisions of the law, has that tag tax to pay.
MR. PARKER (Elmore)--It has been stated just now that the agricultural features of the school are not a success.
MR. ESPY--Yes, so far as I have been able to ascertain. I do not speak for all of them.
MR. PARKER--Is it not a fact that only five hundred dollars a year is appropriated in each school for that purpose?
MR. ESPY--Yes; and in my county they say they cannot expend the $500 upon the little farm they have in order to draw the $2,000 the succeeding year. There is nothing there to use that five hundred dollars for and it is practically squandered and applied to no practical or useful purpose at all.
Now I get back to the proposition, must these schools continue to thrive upon an unjust tax exacted from one particular class of our people? I don't think the delegates to this Convention want that done. The farmers of Alabama have applied to Legislature after Legislature and each time they are met with the proposition that there is an onslaught upon these institutions of learning, and they are turned away without relief. Now they appeal to you to give them that relief in the form of a provision in the organic law that you are now framing and making for them.
Will you do it or will you, like the various Legislatures to whom they have appealed, turn them away without relief? I hope that you won't do it. Here is what it means: They have nine of these schools and in every Legislature they have eighteen representatives and nine Senators. In other words by the establishment of these schools they have successfully added in each Legislature eighteen men in the lower House and nine men in the upper House to help them hold on to this iniquitous fund that they are exacting from these people. I say strike it down and you ask me what will you give in the place of it. I don't want to destroy these schools, but cut off this tax and if it is necessary to have more money raise your general taxation and let the entire people of the State pay the money that supports these schools. Now I want to state a practical illustration of the working of these schools. There is one in each Congressional District. In my own district we have 225,000 people and the school in this district is located at Abbeville and what per cent. of that 225,000 people get the benefit of that school? The children of a citizenship of not exceeding one thousand people. The money is raised from the entire 225,000, but when it is expended it is expended upon the children of school age of less than one thousand citizens.
Some one may answer me and say well the school is there and the farmer call send his children to the school. If such a point as that it made I say, yes, the institutions are there and there is nothing to prevent the children of the district from going if they have the money and pay their way but for all practical purposes these schools are as much beyond the relief of the great masses of the people as Johns Hopkins University. They are not able to go there and pay the board.
Gentlemen ask us would we repudiate this law and lose this valuable property that has been deeded to the State. I tell him no, we don't ask for that. That is not the proposition. He don't deny but what it is double taxation but seeks to divert the minds of the delegates to this Convention from the real issue and make it appear that we are attacking institutions of learning, a very ingenious thing on the part of the gentleman from Talladega.
As I said a while ago, strike down this tax. The amendment I offer provides a sufficient amount of money to pay for the analysis of the guano and that is as far as it ought to go.
I think I have demonstrated to the Convention that adopting the theory of the opposition, it is only a matter of twenty-five thousand dollars a year to these Normal Schools and the balance of it goes into the general treasury and the entire people get the benefit of it.
MR. FLETCHER--I would ask the gentleman what per cent if the pupils in these Agricultural Schools become farmers?
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MR. ESPY--I never heard of one of them becoming a farmer. They are always lawyers and doctors.
In conclusion, I only want to speak for a minute and to appeal to the delegates in a spirit of justice and fairness to support this amendment and thereby relieve the unjust burden resting upon the yeomanry of your State. I appeal to you in the spirit of Democracy to repeal this tax and strike from the statute books one of the most vicious pieces of class legislation that ever existed in Alabama. I appeal to you to rise above self interest and let what you think is right as between man and man alone dictate how you shall vote on this matter.
MR. HARRISON--I have listened with interest to the argument pro and con upon this amendment. The amendment offered by the delegate from Henry appears to my mind to be a species of legislation and that it does not do what the gentleman so eloquently said was one of the prerogatives of the Constitution which was to prohibit the Legislature.
MR. ESPY--Let me ask the question: This legislation has been enacted. Diligent effort has been made to relieve the farmers from it. That is a fact.
MR. HARRISON--I think so, it has been repealed once.
MR. ESPY--Not repealed entirely but simply changed from bad to worse. Now is it not proper when an evil of this kind exists and the people have sought relief in vain through legislative channels--is it not proper for us to put a provision in the organic law giving relief? If that is not proper subject for a Constitutional clause I would ask the gentleman to cite me to one that is.
MR. HARRISON--I think the amendment offered by the delegate from Pike would be, for that would prohibit, while this would only limit. You are proposing to legislate in your amendment how much that license tag tax shall be, which may be higher or lower next year.
MR. ESPY--That is not it at all. It permits the Legislature to go as far as 10 cents per ton, but no farther.
MR. HARRISON--Is not that a limitation?
MR. ESPY--It is.
MR. HARRISON--And not a prohibition which you said we should be confined to.
It shows at a glance, Mr. President and delegates to the Convention, that my friend from. Henry is undertaking to legislate the price of a license tax here in the Constitutional Convention, and whether it be now right or wrong, I submit it is a matter which
should be referred to the Legislature and which will doubtless, as prices of everything else, must rise and fall, and must be changed to meet the exigencies of the times and the prices prevailing when these laws are enacted.
MR. WHITE--When we fix 75 cents on the $100 for taxation, what is that?
MR. HARRISON--That is a limitation, but my friend from Henry said we can only have prohibition. He changed the prohibition of the amendment of the gentleman from Pike to one of limitation. I was only applying myself to his argument.
I think it is a legislative function and ought to be left with the Legislature, even with all he said as to the impropriety and highness of this price is correct. If that is correct the gentleman should run for the Legislature and go there and try and correct it there and not here in this Constitutional Convention. It is true the farmers here and their representatives, some of them, not all of them, I am glad to say, say that this was not inaugurated and not desired by the farmer. I happened to be in the other end of the Capitol as a lawyer when this law was passed. I remember the appeals that were made to the Senate and it was composed largely of lawyers, by the master of the State Grange, Mr. Hiram Hawkins and a committee. I remember how they came to the Senate composed of lawyers largely and appealed to them to let the farmers regulate this matter, the whole system of agriculture for the State of Alabama from the Commissioner down, the Commissioner whom a few days ago this convention engrafted as one of the Constitutional officers of the Executive Department.
MR. SAMFORD--Has not the Hon. Hiram Hawkins been a candidate for the office of Commissioner of Agriculture ever since?
HR. HARRISON--I have not kept up with the gentleman. I can neither deny or affirm. I do not see that that affects the principle that he helped to get this law passed. I believe there are some other farmers who have succeeded in getting the office and I believe the very law requires that the Commissioner shall be a farmer. The whole system grew out of this very tax.
Now, I submit instead of going off on this line that we should take the back track as we have clone with the Lieutenant-Governor. Section 38 in the present Constitution, on Legislative Department, was produced because we then had a Commissioner of Industrial resources that became the laughing stock of the State, and the Convention provided that "No State office shall be continued or created for the inspection or measuring of any merchandise, manufacture or commodity, but any county or municipality may appoint such officer or officers when authorized by law." That was put there to legislate old man Lambert out of office,
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and it did. It has been in the way of business and it is today in the way of an effective execution of this analysis of fertilizer. It is only recently that complaint has been heard because the Constitution prohibits the appointment of an inspector who shall himself go and draw these samples and inspect them as is done in other States and not required of them to be sent for examination. In Georgia the inspector may go to the articles when they come in the borders and draw samples himself and inspect them properly and but for this provision in the Constitution we could have that here and I trust the Committee on the Legislative Department when they report will leave that out and leave it to the Legislature to see that proper inspection is made.
Now, as to whether the consumer or the manufacturer pays this tax, there are difference of opinion. I have been told in my town and in the adjoining town of Lafayette near the Georgia line, that the prices are identical. Some deny it, but I know it is so stated. I am also informed although my friend the delegate to the left says there is at least one manufacturer that is not in this combine or trust, I have been told and I see merchants here who know it that there is but one drummer all over this country to sell you any sort of fertilizers. If that is so it looks like a trust. I have had the best merchants in my town tell me that only one man comes around selling fertilizer and you can get any brand from him.
MR. WHITE--Does it improve the condition of the farmer to have the State after him on one side and the trust on the other?
MR. HARRISON--The farmers were trying to get even with the trust when they passed that statute. Whether they did or not, I don't know, but I suppose it was an effort to endeavor to get even.
Now I don't understand the necessity of placing this matter in the Constitution at all, and I don't understand why it was until this Article came from the Committee on Taxation that such a matter as this was never brought up. If there was any ordinance of this sort introduced before I never heard of it. I was an humble member of the Committee on Taxation and if there was any such ordinance introduced, I failed to hear it read and it did not reach that Committee. Why spring it here when it is a matter that has not been considered by the Committee. I have never heard of it, and right or wrong, can't the Legislature of Alabama be relied upon, if they have done wrong, to correct this evil. Why make the friends of these nine or ten schools opposed to this Constitution we are adopting to start with. Is it good policy, is it proper. Can't we risk the Legislature? As I say, to my personal knowledge, the farmers commenced this movement and got this legislation. At one time it was changed from 50 cents to 25 cents and I believe it was Governor Jones who sent a message to the
Legislature after trying the 25 cents tax and seeing the prices were not reduced, recommending in a public message to the General Assembly that the tax be again put back to 50 cents These matters are brought up at every session of the Legislature. There are more farmers in the House in proportion that there are in this body. It is useless for you delegates to say here that there was ever a Legislature where the farmers did not have sufficient majority to assert and maintain their rights. I believe as firmly as I stand here, that they not only inaugurated it but that it is controlled and managed by a majority of the farmers in the General Assembly. Now I desire while I have the floor, not as the special champion of anyone, for I am addressing myself to the merits of this proposition--but some things have been said in connection with one of the best institutions in Alabama about which I endeavored to get certain information. I refer to the Agricultural and Mechanical College. It was stated by my friend near me that that institution had received $37,000. I called their attention on the first day when this matter came up to the fact that the State only gave them one-sixth of that fund. I wish to say right here what no one will deny, and I say it gladly that that is one institution of Alabama that politics has never had anything to do with, and it ranks deservedly high, and this tax, for which I will show you a quid pro quo is the only money that the State of Alabama contributes to that institution. Now I have the figures here of what they received in the last four years:
In 1897 _________________________________________________________ $8,746
In 1898 __________________________________________________________ 9,988
In 1899 __________________________________________________________ 6,432
In 1900 _________________________________________________________ 11,770
Now I submit right here that those figures should show my friend, the delegate from Henry that he had better not fix any special limit when the tax varies so much that in one year they get $11,000 and in another they get $6,000.
MR. ESPY--What is the highest amount received in any one year?
MR. ESPY--And the lowest?
MR. ESPY--And they only get one-sixth?
MR. HARRISON--Yes, and this is the only money that the institution gets, and no farmer or lawyer or anyone else can deny that they have been doing a great work for all those who desire special education in the State of Alabama.
Now as to the cost of this matter. The State of Georgia itself pays to have this analysis $9,000 a year.
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Some good has been made of this fund. The Agricultural College, I am informed has erected a four thousand dollar building and has equipped it with a thousand dollars worth of instruments and implements. And it does what? It employs from four to five experts all the year around in that Department. There are today five or six young men engaged in that Department, and I desire to say for and in behalf of that institution, in regard to the aspersions that have been made as to the value of their analysis, that as to that the gentlemen are mistaken. In behalf of the institution, I challenge the correctness of any such statement. To show you how it is regarded, I will say that during this present season between eight hundred and one thousand analyses have been made already, which is about the average. I will say the samples are sent to the Commissioner of Agriculture, in bottles that are merely numbered, and are not known to the parties. To illustrate further the value of the work that is being done by this institution, I will say that there have been referred to them a number of cases for final decision. Samples have been sent to the laboratory at Auburn from Louisiana, from Mississippi and from Georgia, where the manufacturers had challenged the analyses of those States, and submitted the article for analysis at Auburn.
This is the way that it goes to them, (holding up a small glass bottle bearing a label). Here is one sent from the Commissioner of Agriculture, simply numbered, showing the material, and that is the way they take hold of it in that institution, and they give the analysis. They do not say whether it comes up to that, but they tell you the contents, and prevent the farmer, as was alluded to here, from buying and paying for dirt. I wish the delegates to know, because I know there is a general pride in this institution, that the institution at Auburn has not only been called upon by Georgia and Louisiana and Mississippi to arbitrate their disputed questions, but today the Professor of Chemistry in the Florida Agricultural College, the professor occupying the same chair in the Mississippi College and the same chair in the University of Alabama, and the city chemists at Atlanta, Birmingham and Montgomery, all received their training at the Auburn laboratory; and to tell me we should destroy it, as my good friend from Pike would have done if his amendment had been adopted. I was astonished at the time, for no man could have known better than he, as an alumnus of that institution, the great work that it has been doing, and that we should not take away from it the mere pittance given to it by the State. I ask where has better work, and where is more value given, a quid pro quo, than for the pittance that has been and is being used today for the benefit of the farmers in the analyses of these fertilizers?
Now, I submit that the delegate from Henry is wrong when he says that this is the only special tax. I am inclined to agree
with him on principle. I would like to see all of these special or privilege taxes done away with. It is unfortunate that the are growing upon us, but this is not the only one. Why the licenses placed today on sewing machine agents, on peddlers, on almost everybody and on all corporations
MR. GREER (Calhoun)-- Will the gentleman allow a question?
MR. GREER (Calhoun)--Isn't that a privilege tax rather than than a special tax?
MR. HARRISON-- Well it is a tax whether you call it a tax or not. It is not the sort of tax that I believe the great State of Alabama ought to collect, but when you come, my friend, to a particular commodity, if you wish to analyze it, or if you wish to get certain or special scientific information in regard to it, it appears to me that it is right and equitable that the particular person who receives the special benefit should pay for it.
MR. GREER (Calhoun)--We do not deny that. We are willing to pay for it.
MR. WHITE-- Will the gentleman allow a question.
MR. HARRISON--The gentleman from Henry caught my eye.
MR. MALONE--Will you give an idea as to what it costs to make this analysis at Auburn.
MR. HARRISON--Yes, I think I can come mighty near it. I have given you the figures that have been paid, and for which they have done it.
MR. MALONE--They are prepared to do it them at that price.
MR. HARRISON--Yes, sir.
MR. MALONE--Now is it not a fact that the present year at 10 cents a ton there would be over $18,000 collected, yet they are called on to pay out only six or eleven thousand?
MR. HARRISON--They sell so much more, Mr. Malone, I suppose it varies. The amount has something to do with it. You take the number of analyses made, when a great amount was sold.
MR. MALONE--Isn't the expense smaller when less is sold, and greater when more is sold?
MR. HARRISON--I don't know how it varies. There must necessarily be some variation, but I do not know exactly what it would be.
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But I submit, Mr. President, and delegates of the Convention, that it is not the province of this body to fix this today, for all time to come, even if you desire simply to pay the expense by placing it in the Constitution of Alabama. It ought not to go there. We ought to be willing to risk something, to the General Assembly of Alabama. It is their prerogative to pass on this. The farmers elect their representatives to the General Assembly. There are in every General Assembly a greater proportion of farmers than there are in this Convention today, and they can be trusted to take care of their own interests when they occupy these seats now occupied by us. I am therefore opposed not only to the amendment, but the amendment to the amendment, even admitting that any injustice may have been done. I do not know if there are two sides to this question. You talk about the people demanding it. I ask you what men on earth are more ready to yield to the wishes of the people than the ordinary Legislature? Men who are in the habit of going there, and desire to go back, and delegates, you cannot satisfy me that these gentlemen would directly violate the wishes of their own constituents and that the farmers themselves on this floor would go back on their interests.
MR. KNIGHT--May I ask the gentleman a question?
MR. KNIGHT--Do you not know that a bill was introduced in the last House of Representatives and passed, to reduce this tax from fifty to twenty-five cents a ton?
MR. HARRISON--That is any information.
MR. KNIGHT--And do you not know that it died in the Senate Committee.
MR. HARRISON -- I believe that the Senate would have passed it, according to my information, if the House had sent it there sooner, but it was like a hood deal of legislation which was turned down and local legislation put in its place. I do not know and never heard of its coming before the Senate, but I heard it discussed and if it had come before the Senate, the tax would have been reduced.
MR. KNIGHT--It got there, but it died in the Senate Committee--
MR. HARRISON--Suppose he is correct, and that the Legislature has not clone its duty, are not the legislators amenable to the people of Alabama? If this had been a question, and you wished to make it a question before the people, why not send to the House and the Senate men instructed to reduce the tax? Why bring it here and put it in the Constitution, and array all of those elements of opposition against the instrument we shall frame? I think we are taking upon ourselves too much, when we say that
this body has all the intelligence, all the wisdom and all the patriotism in the State, and that the Legislature cannot be trusted to do its duty, held as they are responsible by the people, as they always have been and always will be in the future.
I therefore trust, Mr. President, that we will consume no more time undertaking to inject here, without consideration, a matter that has never been considered by any committee. A great deal can be said, and doubtless has been said about the members of the General Assembly having this tax first fifty cents and then reducing it to twenty-five, and putting it back to fifty. There is a diversity of opinion in the State about it. That is shown by the very action of the Legislature. It is shown by the very speeches made on the floor of this Convention by the farmers who have addressed us. Let us offend none. Let us go on and keep it out of the Constitution. Leave it to the Legislature, and if these gentlemen feel that they are wronged, all they have to do is to appeal to that tribunal, and not load down a Constitution and make friends who are friends indeed to the general movement of revision sulk in their tents, and not be friends and supporters, and feel that we have come here and turned the back of our hands upon these Agricultural Schools, whether right or wrong, and offend those who believe it is right to maintain them. It is not necessary for us to determine this question as to who is right and who is wrong, as to the proper amount to be paid out for inspection, if you admit, as the amendment to the amendment undertakes to admit, that we should have an inspection. Can we not leave it to the Legislature to say what it should be?
MR. MALONE--The gentleman refers to the change from fifty cents to twenty-five, and then the change from twenty-five to fifty. Does the gentleman know the working of the matter, by which it was changed from twenty-five to fifty?
MR. HARRISON--I do not. I only know that it is a fact from current history
MR. MALONE--Will you permit me to make a statement as to how it was done?
MR. HARRISON--You have a right to the floor. I am about through. If you want to make a speech I will yield now
MR. MALONE--It will not take but a second.
MR. HARRISON--All right.
MR. MALONE -- The gentleman from Henry, Mr. Ward, moved to change it from twenty-five to fifty, and Mr. Williams from lower Henry agreed if you support my bill to put a court house at Dothan. I will support your bill. That is how it was done.
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MR. HARRISON--That is a very serious charge you are making.
MR. MALONE--I give you the names, I do not hide the names.
MR. HARRISON--I do not deny or affirm it.
MR. JACKSON--Will my colleague from Lee allow me to make a statement?
MR. HARRISON--Let me say this, I know the good people of Henry sent one of those gentleman back to the Legislature.
THE PRESIDENT--Has the gentleman from Lee concluded his argument?
MR. HARRISON--I am just now done.
MR. JACKSON--I just want to state--
MR. WHITE--I make the point of order that two gentlemen from Lee cannot have the floor at the same time.
MR. JACKSON -- I make the point of order that my distinguished colleague has yielded the floor for one minute to me.
THE PRESIDENT -- The gentleman is in order, and will proceed.
MR. JACKSON--Now; Mr. President, I merely wanted to make this statement. In 1894 or 5, I think it was, I won't be positive about that, I know I was a member of the Legislature at the time, and at the request of the farmers of Alabama this tax was reduced from 50 to 25 cents. That bill was introduced here, sir, and passed, and it also passed the Senate, and by some means I don't remember now how it was, except that I want to say this, it was not done like it was in the Shelby County case, the wrong bill was carried to the Governor. A bill retaining the tax at 50 cents per ton was carried to the Governor, and that bill was approved.
Now I know as a matter of fact, Mr. President, that members of that Legislature went home and told the farmers that this tax had been reduced to 25 cents, and the papers came out and stated afterwards that it was 50 cents a ton, and upon inquiry it was found that through some mistake the Governor had gotten hold of the wrong bill. That is why it was made 50 cents a ton instead of 25 cents a ton.
MR. HARRISON--Now, sir--
MR. GILMORE--I rise to a point of order. The gentleman from Lee has consumed more than thirty minutes.
MR. HARRISON -- Governor Jones's amendment was not adopted yesterday. I was willing to be limited to five minutes, but I thought you all wanted me to speak half an hour.
MR. PETTUS -- I have listened with much interest to the long debate on this important question, and it seems to me that those who advocate the amendment introduced by the gentleman from Pike, and the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Henry, have made statements upon the floor of this Convention which would lead one to believe that the farmers of the State of Alabama are standing as a solid phalanx and demanding that some such provision as this be put into the organic law of the State. From the way the gentlemen speak on that side of the question, one would think that the farmers cannot get justice at the hands of anybody except the farmers who happen to be upon this floor, but it occurs to me, Mr. President, that some of the most eloquent advocates of this amendment have been the lawyers upon the floor of this convention, and the author of the first amendment is as I understand it a lawyer, as is also the author of the second amendment. So I do not think there is anything in an argument or an appeal of that character.
Another suggestion has been made, which it seems to me is altogether improper, because it is not putting the argument nor the discussion upon that high plane which it should occupy, and that by insinuation or inuendo to make it appear that members who oppose this amendment upon this floor, are opposing it from selfish motives. It is not my purpose to cast aspersions upon any delegate, or upon the motive of any man who advocates a measure upon the floor of this Convention, but since it has been charged that the corporations and dealers who manufacture and sell fertilizers are interested in having this tax repealed and reduced it seems to me that if it is an argument to say that a member who opposes it comes from a county, as I do, that has an agricultural school, that it is equally as good an argument to say that the member proposing the amendment comes from a county that contains one of the biggest fertilizer factories in the State of Alabama, and I say that without any reflection upon the gentleman--
MR. SAMFORD (Pike) -- That same statement has been made on this floor before, and I want to state to the gentleman from Limestone, and to the gentleman from Russell, that I am not in any way connected with the fertilizer factory at Troy, and have never had and do not now own a dollar's worth of stock in it.
THE PRESIDENT--The gentleman from Limestone has the floor, and unless he consents to an interruption--
MR. PETTUS--I am very glad to consent for the gentleman's question of privilege, and as I stated, I mean no reflection upon him. I was simply answering the argument in the same manner in which it has been made; that he comes from a county
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that has a fertilizer factory, and I come from one that has an agricultural school, and I do not doubt that his motives are altogether correct, and altogether pure.
Now, Mr. President, it seems to me that this tag tax is in the nature of a license tax. We have license taxes, as has been stated by other delegates, upon peddlers, upon sewing machine agents, on corporations, and we have various licenses and privilege taxes of this character, but so far as I ain informed this is the only license tax a large part of which is spent for the purpose of seeing that the goods which are licensed to be sold, are kept up to a high standard of purity and excellence.
Now as far as the agricultural schools are concerned, criticism has been indulged upon those institutions, but so far as I can gather from the debate, Mr. President, the criticism has been made at the administration of the schools and has not gone to the merit of the question. These schools are comparatively new institutions in the State of Alabama, and it is admitted that they are doing a great work for the education of the children of this State. They are patronized by nearly all of the counties in the State of Alabama, and when they were established in the respective towns in which they are situated, those towns and counties made valuable donations and concessions in property, and money, to the State of Alabama, and it certainly would be unjust and improper at this time for this Convention of the people of Alabama to strike down their part of the contract and put the State of Alabama in the attitude of violating an apparent contract.
MR. CARMICHAEL (Coffee) -- Is it not a fact that the property that has been given to the State is revertible in case the State sees fit to use it, and it can lie used for local schools?
MR. PETTUS--Such is not any understanding of the proposition.
Now, Mr. President, as to the question of who is benefited should this tax be reduced. I am informed when it was reduced to 25 cents, that the farmers and those who bought fertilizers at retail, did not reap any benefit from it. Now, if you reduce it, and admitting that the consumer pays the tax and by computation you find it only amounts to 5 cents per sack, a large proportion of which is paid, as stated by the gentleman from Talladega, by the colored tenants of this State, and it is about the only tax that most of those colored tenants pay, I do not believe, Mr. President, if this fertilizer is selling at $2 per sack now, and you reduce this tax, that any wholesale or retail dealer is going to reduce the price per sack to $1.95. I believe if the tax is reduced, that the manufacturer and dealer will continue to real) the reward, as they have been doing.
Now, Mr. President, it seems to me that this is not the time nor the place to go into the merits of this question. It seems to
me whether right or wrong, we should refer this matter to the General Assembly of Alabama, where it originated, and which is the proper forum in which to settle it. I am not one of those, Mr. President, who join in the general criticism of one of the great co-ordinate branches of our State government. It is true that General Assemblies, as well as other human institutions, have laid themselves liable to criticism in the past, and will do so in the future, and I doubt not that this distinguished aggregation of brains, talent and patriotism, which sets itself up here in some instances, it seems to hedge about and limit the General Assembly, the Executive and Judicial Departments, so that none of them can do any wrong, I doubt not that even this body may hear the voice of criticism before its work is completed, because the Convention, too, is human, and is liable to err.
Now, Mr. President, it seems to me that we should refer this matter to the Legislature, which is the forum of the people. The members of the General Assembly come fresh from the people, and I think that it is a body that can be trusted to do right, to correct any wrong that may have been perpetrated in the past, and to do right in the future, and they are responsible to the people and it seems to me that a distrust of the General Assembly of Alabama is little short of distrust of the people themselves.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) -- Will the gentleman permit a question?
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale)--Was the repeal of this tax made an issue in the last canvass for the Constitutional Convention?
MR. PETTUS--No, sir; it was not. But one issue was in the campaign that called this Convention to sit here, and that was that no backward step should be made in education in the State of Alabama.
MR. SAMFORD (Pike)--Will the gentleman permit a question?
MR. SAMFORD--I would like to know what information the gentleman has with reference to the issues that were made in the wire-grass section of this State with reference to this matter.
MR. PETTUS--I have the general sources of information. The newspapers of the State, and I have never seen anything of that character intimated, and it certainly was not in the platform of the Democratic party, but in the platform of the Democratic party, Mr. President, and the Democratic organization, was laid down the broad and comprehensive plank that no backward step should be taken in matters of education, and it seems to me that
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if the gentleman from Pike, or any other delegate on this floor would rise up and strike down the agricultural schools or any other well established educational institution in the State of Alabama, that he would be violating that plank of the Democratic platform,
upon which he was elected.
MR. BURNS (Dallas)--Will the gentleman allow a question?
MR. BURNS--Would you call saving seventy-five thousand dollars a year to the farmers of Alabama a backward step?
MR. PETTUS--No, sir; I say a backward step in Alabama would be to strike down these nine district agricultural schools in the State of Alabama, and I do not think the distinguished delegate can show that the repeal or revision of this tax would in any way save seventy-five thousand dollars to the farmers of Alabama.
MR. GREER--Has any member on the floor of this Convention favored or advocated the striking down of nine agricultural schools in Alabama?
MR. PETTUS--Whether or not they have advocated it in so many words, Mr. President, the effect of their speeches and the effect of the amendments that are proposed will be to strike down these agricultural schools.
MR. GREER (Calhoun) -- That is simply a difference of opinion and judgment.
MR. PETTUS--Well, you are at liberty to take advantage of the difference of opinion.
Now, as I was saying in regard to distrust of the people and of the General Assembly of the State, it seems to me that this body should be one of the last to so distrust the people and to so distrust their representatives assembled in the General Assembly, for there are about one-third of the members on this floor that have at various times had the honor to serve in that branch of the State government, and barring myself, Mr. President, some of them are the most able and distinguished members on the floor of this Convention. It seems to me that if we are to be Don Quixote, and are to charge every windmill that appears upon the floor of this Convention, we will be sitting here until Christmas. I am willing to stay as long: as necessary for delegates to remain for the purpose of considering matters that are proper and pertinent to be considered and put into the Constitution of the State of Alabama, but it seems to me we should not attempt to legislate upon every subject and every topic, and should not assume jurisdiction of matters which belong properly and should belong exclusively to the province of the General Assembly of Alabama.
MR. PALMER--We have had this subject pending for nearly three days. It is a very simple thing to arrange the matter if the gentlemen of the Convention will look at it in a practicable, sensible way. The gentleman from Talladega made a very eloquent and impressive speech, showing the advantage of this tax, and the amount of it, the advantages of the schools, and the cost of the buildings, and halls. I made my maiden speech in this Convention two days ago on this same subject, and I thought then I would say nothing more in this Convention until it adjourned. There is very little difference of opinion in this matter if you look at it right.
There is derived from this tax between seventy-five thousand and one hundred thousand dollars. To strike this down at once will be a serious blow to the amount of taxes that are collected in this State in a year. Let us go back to the bottom of the thing. Auburn was unfortunately selected as the site for the school. The Methodists of the State of Alabama gave the buildings to the agricultural school of the State as a present. The Agricultural College ought never to have been established at Auburn. It ought to have been put in one of the back counties, upon the edge of the sandy lands, and it ought to have been made strictly an agricultural and mechanical school. The shops there are perfect. The best in the South. The agricultural department is not what it should be, looking at it from the standpoint of a farmer. Auburn to meet this difficulty, had established through the Legislature, nine branch schools throughout the State, in order that agriculture might be taught in every district in the State. Now when a corps of physicians are called to treat a wound, that is sore and festering, and inflammation has set up to a great degree, the first thing they do is to clean the sore and then apply the antiseptic treatment. Now, as far as this tax is concerned, from the standpoint of a farmer, so far as the intelligent part of the farming interests are concerned, they care nothing about the tax, provided the money is applied to the purpose for which it should go.
MR. WEATHERLY--Will the gentleman allow me to ask a question?
MR. PALMER--Yes, sir.
MR. WEATHERLY--I remember the remark made by the gentleman from Washington the other day, in opening his speech, that we were all trying to do right and wanting to do right, provided we got the correct information. Now I want to ask him, who is it that pays this tax?
MR. PALMER--I will answer that. The consumer pays it. It is the policy of the United States that where goods are protected, the consumer pays the tax.
Now, so far as the tax is concerned, that is a small matter with the farmers. As I say cleanse these sores and make these
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schools, at Auburn and elsewhere, what the people demand they should be. Now these schools are young institutions, they have just been established, and the buildings were put up at a great expense to the towns they are in. The lands have been donated. I have visited one of them repeatedly and when I said in my speech the other day they were not agricultural schools in the sense of the word, but they could be made agricultural schools and I do not want to strike them down. I do not want them abolished. I want them encouraged.
MR. BULGER--How much time do you think it would require to make them agricultural schools?
MR. PALMER--That depends upon the amount of energy, interest and money they have got.
MR. JACKSON--The time has nearly arrived for the adjournment. I move a suspension of the rules so that the gentleman can finish his speech.
There were expressions of dissent manifested.
MR. PALMER -- Gentlemen you make these schools what they ought to be, what they are intended to be, and you won't hear one word of complaint from the farmers of this State. They want the schools. They need the schools. They will submit to any taxation. They will submit to any sacrifice to support them, and to up-build agriculture in this State.
I do not see any other way, gentlemen; the schools are new, the buildings have just been put up, and the thing has just started, and I move to table the whole thing, and let it go to the Legislature. (Applause.)
MR. SAMFORD (Pike)--Upon that motion I demand the ayes and noes.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers)--I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT--The gentleman will state the point of order.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers)--The gentleman from Washington at the conclusion of his speech moved to table both the amendments.
MR. GREER (Calhoun)--The hour for adjournment has arrived.
A DELEGATE--I move we adjourn.
THE PRESIDENT--The Chair will state the question if the gentlemen will be seated. The gentleman from Washington moves to, lay on the table the pending amendment, and upon that the gentleman from Pike calls for the ayes and noes.
MR. OPP--I would like to ask the gentleman to withdraw his motion. (There were expressions of dissent.) I desire to state that I have been here thirty days and have not consumed a moment's time of this Convention.
Cries of "leave."
MR. REESE--I make a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT--The hour of adjournment has arrived.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers)--I move that the rules be suspended.
MR. JACKSON--I rise to a point of order.
The clock having struck the hour of 1, the President made announcements of several committee meetings and the Convention adjourned until 3 p. m.
The convention was called to order by the President, and the roll being called showed the presence of 114 delegates.
Mr. Winn endeavored to secure recognition.
THE PRESIDENT--The Chair understood the gentleman from Washington to withdraw temporarily his motion to table?
MR. PALMER--I don't want to be instrumental in placing the gag law on the Convention. I think every man who wants to speak should be allowed to do so. The gentleman to my left, (Dr. Winn) and Mr. Greer and Mr. Opp, asked me specially to withdraw so that they can speak. If that is in order I am willing to do it.
THE PRESIDENT--The gentleman from Washington can withdraw his motion--
MR. PALMER--For those three men, if they will renew it. I think every man in the House has his mind made up on this matter.
MR. BULGER--I rise to a point of order. The gentleman from Washington has the power to withdraw the motion to lay on the table, but he has not the power to say who shall or shall not speak on the subject.
THE PRESIDENT--The point is well taken.
The delegate from Washington withdrew his motion to table.
MR. WINN--I rise to support the amendment of the gentleman from Pike. I shall have to do this in the manner I am accustomed
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to doing in my profession. I know of but one way to examine a question. It is like examining a patient that is wounded. The first thing you must do where there is serious sickness is to remove all the clothing and get next to your patient. There have been a great many dressings of eloquence put on this but it has all been in the line of obscuring the question that is involved in this. Those who have opposed the amendment has persistently discussed, what will be the effects on these communities and schools that have benefited by the tax if we withdraw it? That is not the question. The question is simply one of justice. Is the tax just. Let us look at it and see who it taxes. It taxes simply one class of the citizenship of the State. The tax is imposed directly and only upon the farming interests of the country. Nobody else. And what becomes of the money? Is it expended solely in the interests of the farmer? Not at all. No one has contended that is true. Is it expended for the good of the public generally. Now here are $96,000 this year. I got this memorandum from the Department of Agriculture. The expense of the Agricultural Department according to the statement of that Department, including fairs, is $9,000 out of that $96,000. That leaves $87,000 to be heard from. Now let us see what becomes of that. Twenty-seven thousand five hundred dollars goes to the Agricultural Schools, these nine wonderful schools we hear of. The gentleman from Washington told us what a wonderful school one of them was. He visited it. Then where is the balance of this money? Sixteen thousand dollars goes to the Agricultural and Mechanical College at Auburn. That leaves $43,500. What becomes of that? Converted into a general fund. What position does that put the farmer in? It is simply collecting that much more tax, $96,000, out of him as a class than you collect out of the balance of the citizenship of this State. Is that just? My friend from Henry has been accustomed to being gouged in this way so long that he simply begs the question by saying, "Don't gouge so much." That is not right. If they have the right, if it is just, that they can collect 10 cents a ton on fertilizers from us, then if they need it they can take 50 cents or $1 or any other amount. Remember that all this time the farmer shirks nothing. There is nothing that he has that is not listed and taxed as every other citizen in the State. Then, why in the name of justice and common sense can you turn upon the farmer and tax him out of $96,000 more? I cannot understand how it ever was done. There is certainly no semblance of justice or equity in this and if I understand anything about the laws upon the basis of which Alabarna is grounded they are equal justice and equal taxation to every man and every citizen regardless of what his vocation in life is. Is it possible that the proceeds, the wonderful income and wonderful profits from agriculture in this State so far exceed those of any other avocation in the State that it is just? Is that where you get your justice? That is not the record of the farmers. With the vast majority of them, it is a struggle from year to year to
support their families in a very humble way. And I tell you it is not the struggling farmers that get the bulk of the benefit of these agricultural schools, not at bit of it. It is that class of men who are able to send their children off to school and pay their bills.
Now, some of the poor fellows who happen to live close to the school house may be benefited some, but as a general thing it is the class that is better able to educate their children that is enjoying the advantage of this unjust tax.
Now, the gentleman from Talladega tells us it is the negro mainly that pays this tag tax.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--I said he paid a large part of it.
MR. WINN--I stand corrected. And the gentleman said that he would stand here always and see that the negro was not confined to the amount of tax he paid in for school purposes. Now I propose to stand here always and see, if that negro pays that tax, that he shall be treated more justly than he has been. Treat the negro with justice, take that tax off. Is not he a poor hard working servant? Are you going to tax him with it because he is a negro and then stand up and say you will stay here always before he shall be confined for his education to the taxes that he pays into the State? Be just before you are generous.
The gentleman further says we are under contract with these district schools. Be just by all means and keep these contracts. On whose money? Money wrenched from the farmer unjustly. He says you would not tear down these schools. No, I would not tear them down, but if I have to keep them up by an unjust tax upon any people of this State, then I say let them go. We are not discussing what would be the result of doing an act of justice. That is the question and let results take care of themselves. That is our duty. We have the power and we have the means to support and sustain all the schools in this State of whatever character we determine to maintain, and to hesitate, to halt for one moment in doing this simple act of justice to the farmer is something I cannot comprehend. They say let this continue, don't raise any disturbance. That can be said of a great many things. They could say don't interfere with the school appropriations or the surplus money in the treasury or a great lot of other things. Suppose this does raise some disturbance, will that prevent us from doing it if it is an act of justice? I hope not.
I don't propose to criticise the schools and I won't do it except I may draw a little information from what my friend on the right has furnished me on his great school at Uniontown. He has ascertained another fact abut the expenses of that school since he gave us the information the other day. He told us about that wonderful farm they had, the grape vine, twining around the house of civilization, and he told us about the tiles with one end stopped
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up and they wouldn't tile, and he told you of the salary of $1,600, but he didn't tell you they had a doctor there at $1,200 a year
MR. KNIGHT--And there never has been a pupil there.
MR. WINN--No, and the only vocation that doctor had was to mark pigs. Now that's the way the money goes.
MR. WHITE--Will the gentleman allow me to make a suggestion? What difference does it make if it does go that way, nobody but the farmer pays it?
MR. WINN--No, nobody but the farmer pays it. Plenty of money and no poor kin. I tell you, gentlemen, just people, the deeper you probe into this question the more apparent is the outrageous injustice of it upon the farmers of Alabama. I appeal to you, gentlemen, of this Convention, to look at this matter seriously and remember the only question involved in this is one of justice. If this tax is just and equitable, keep it; if it is unjust, if it is oppressive, if it is discriminate, wipe it out. One of the delegates says, "away with such narrowness." My reply to that is away with your unjust tax.
MR. LONG (Walker)--Does the gentleman take the position that the farmers alone pay this tax?
MR. WINN--Yes, sir.
MR. LONG (Walker)--Then I will ask the gentleman a further question: Is it or not a, fact that the tax which the State imposes on the doctors is paid by the patients?
MR. WINN--We generally get what tax out of the patients they are able to pay, and others do the same.
I am informed that the school at Marion is not a school at all, only an experiment station. I reckon that is on the same order a man with a salary of $1,600 and a doctor with $1,200. Now, gentlemen, I again for the last time appeal to you to consider this well and remember that the only question is as to the justice of the tax. If the tax is just and legitimate, hold it, if it is discriminate against the farmer, take it off. Though the heaven should fall, let justice prevail.
MR. OPP--I did not intend to make a speech when I requested the Delegate from Washington to remove the parliamentary padlock from my mouth, but only desired to explain the vote I intended to give on the pending proposition. And I was considerably surprised at the acute parliamentary skill which had so suddenly been acquired by the gentleman from Washington. He led us to believe he was so innocent as to all this thing of parliamentary practice and I did not know he had so readily grasped the idea of cutting off debate; therefore, it fell like a bolt from the blue to hear a motion to table emanate from his supposedly untrained lips.
Now, Mr. President, as I said at the outset, I did not desire to make a speech. All I desired or contemplated was to put myself on record on this pending proposition. I desired that record to be writ large like John Hancock's name to the Declaration of Independence, so that in future weeks or months, or years, it may rise before the fertilizer factories and those who represent them, when they, are cackling and laughing at the adroit way in which they had flim-flammed the Constitutional Convention of Alabama. I desired it to be understood throughout the length and breadth of Alabama that Covington County had not been deluded by the fertilizer factories, and that she has seen and will continue to see clearly through the schemes they have sought to work upon the Constitutional Convention of Alabama.
Now, Mr. President, I desire to be distinctly understood. In no syllable or word of mine do I desire to be understood as reflecting upon any gentleman who has advocated the contrary side of this question. I know them to be able, pure, honorable, honest men who are incapable of entertaining an improper thought or a dishonorable intention. But, Mr. President, I believe--I am firmly convinced that if you will look between the lines as the gentleman well advised us to do, it will be discovered it is not the man with the hoe, it is not the man behind the plow, but it is the man behind the coupon clipper who is agitating this movement.
Now, I desire to ask each gentleman of all these assembled here, was anything said about this pending proposition when the question was before the people of whether or not we should have this Constitutional Convention? Did any gentleman in any freak of imagination ever dream that a body of men assembled for the purpose of framing an organic law for the State of Alabama would devote its time and talents to the discussion of a proposition like this instead of ascending to the lofty and sunny heights where the people intended to place them? Here, under the focal and central glare of the light of civilization instead of building a noble and beautiful structure that should be the admiration of future years and all posterity, we are groveling among guano tracks and proving false and recreant to the trust imposed upon us. I trust, Mr. President, we shall call a halt, that we will take a turn around ourselves and if some gentleman of towering talents can be found to lead us out of the wilderness, if he can "show us the way" to confine ourselves within constitutional bounds that gentleman will occupy a place in the hearts anti gratitude of the people of Alabama, and Mr. President, like Ben Adhem, his name will lead all the rest.
So I say the gist of the whole matter is this, that regardless of the merits of the proposition, this is something with which the Constitution of Alabama has nothing to do. It ought to be relegated to legislation. I desire, to say that the dominating note, the basic principle of many of the propositions that have been advocated
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on this floor has been distrust of the Legislature which is illy in accord with the genius of our institutions, and I desire to thank the gentleman from Limestone for rising in his place and defending the Legislature of Alabama from the aspersions that have been so liberally showered upon that usually distinguished body of men. They are fresh from the loins of the people. They know the asperations of the common people; and if they can not understand the wants of the people, it is difficult to perceive how the gentleman from Pike and the gentleman from Henry, making goo-goo eyes at the Hill Billies can ever be induced to set them right on the matter of their dear duty.
But Mr. President, whether it is amongst the denizens of the hills or the men you find as you move amidst the long arcades of stately whispering pines in Covington county, all of these men in every district of the State are looking to this body to build a Constitution for the State of Alabama. We must quit discussing matters purely legislative, salaries of Governors and things of that character, advocated by as talented men as they were. All things of this kind should be relegated to the General Assembly, because it is competent to deal with them, and it does not lie within the purview and scope of a Constitutional Convention of the State of Alabama. We are continually talking about consumption of time, and it is a strange thing that it is only those gentlemen who have spoken to the point of exhaustion who have become conscious of the fact that we are consuming too much time in debate. I desire to say in behalf of my constituency that whether we consume much or little time, whatever time is necessary should be graciously and unquestioningly yielded to the deliberations of this body. If we stay in session from now until the withered leaves of November begin to rustle upon these pavements it is our duty to stay here at any and all sacrifices, to see that we have discharged the high and holy trust imposed upon us by the people. And when I look upon this Convention of shrewd men, men who know the great history of Alabama, who know the aspirations of this Commonwealth, it is amazing to me that we should depart from the duty and task that has been set apart to us by the people of Alabama and, as well said on yesterday, devote ourselves to matters of purely legislative detail. Why, after some time somebody will find out that some of the coroners do not receive sufficient pay for sitting on dead negroes and somebody will move to fix a fee of ten dollars for every dead darkey the coroners find and engraft it in the Constitution.
But to return to the fertilizer proposition. I think there is a large and corpulent African in the wood pile and we have sufficient negroes to deal with already without dealing with the Senegambian aforesaid, and I trust, gentlemen, will remember that all of this legislation in behalf of fertilizers was originally conceived in a spirit of love for the farmer. Why, when the agitation
was first made in behalf of genuine fertilizers, everybody was threatened with dire penalties and pains if they didn't vote for it. It was a movement in the interest of the agricultural classes and the Hill Billies all swarmed on Capitol Hill and they all had their clubs with them and the embryo statesmen were told that here is a movment in favor of the agricultural classes and if you don't support it with you r voice and vote, and your influence, we will do you up. Consequently, in deference to the wishes and desires of the agricultural classes this beneficial legislation was placed upon the statute books, and now they have discovered that it was a mistake and are threatening us with the same pains and purgatorial penalties that they held suspended over our heads before. I yield to no man in love for the farmer and I will say of the doctor or the lawyer or merchant, in fact everybody who has a vote, and some who have not.
Now this is all I desire to say. I want to go upon record as representing the Democracy, or rather the people of Covington County as being opposed to this movement. I am opposed to stigmatizing this Constitutional Convention by a movement which seeks to blow up and destroy the schools designed and intended for purely unselfish and generous purposes. I think you gentlemen all understand the merits of the pending controversy and I do not feel that I or any man can add one jot or tittle to the able and luminous argument made by the gentleman from Sylacauga.
MR. GRAHAM -- I don't come from Sylacauga.
MR. OPP -- Whatever place the gentleman hails from is honored in a high degree.
MR. BURNS -- I rise to ask the gentleman a question.
THE PRESIDENT -- Does the gentleman from Covington yield to the question?
MR. OPP -- Yes, it is customary.
MR. BURNS -- I would ask the gentleman if he is aware that when Mr. Hawkins and the representative farmers advocated this measure, they believed and honestly believed that these would be agricultural schools instead of such as they now are?
MR. OPP -- I desire to say to the gentleman, who is a rare compound of Justinian and Josh Billings (immense applause) that I am wholly ignorant of Mr. Hawkins's connection with the pending controversy; know little and care less. The question we are dealing with is just this, aside from the humor, which the always humorous gentleman from Dallas is injecting into this controversy, that the great and crucial question is simply this: Shall we come down to brass tacks and build a Constitution for the State of Alabama or shall we descend to guano taxes, butter taxes, cheese taxes and other things of that sort? I say without disrespect
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to any gentleman, because it is easy to be hurried beyond our original intention upon the flood tide of this and similar debates, that it is high time we were side-tracking all these immaterial issues; and if the farmers or any other gentlemen think the imposition of this tax is unwise and unjust they should make a solid concerted attack upon the next Legislature and see that this tax is removed and that the injustice is remedied.
I submit that the legislatures of this State are always unduly sensitive and susceptible to any just and reasonable demand of the farmers of Alabama; and he has read the legislation of Alabama to but little purpose who dares to assert in the presence of intelligent men that the Democratic party has been faithless or recreant in, the discharge of its duty to the agricultural and to all working and other classes; and I trust that the pending amendments will be decisively defeated, that they will be cleared out of the way, and I will not say he who dallies as a dastard and he who doubts is damned, put I will say, when it comes to voting for this, that he who dallies is a daisy and he who doubts is a Democrat. (Applause)
MR. BULGER--I have taken up very little of the time of this Convention. I have been content to listen to the arguments of learned gentlemen on the questions that have been presented to this Convention and then to cast my humble vote according to my judgment of the best interests of the people of Alabama I am a friend to all the institutions of learning in Alabama, from the log cabin school up to the University of the State, and I would not do or say anything that would detract from the interest of any school in our State. But I would invite the members of this Convention to go back to the question involved in this amendment. With all the eloquence I have heard upon this floor in opposition of this amendment, I have yet to hear one word or one syllable from any man saying that this tag tax upon the farmers of Alabama is a fair and just tax. None of them have said that. They all seem to put their defense on the side of the District Agricultural Schools in this State. But that is not the question before this Convention. The question before this Convention is will Alabama longer be a party to levying an unjust tax upon the people of Alabama, whether it be a farmer, a lawyer or a doctor. The distinguished gentleman from Talladega says if this amendment passes it is a clear loss to the State of $75,000.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--$135,000, I said.
MR. BULGER--If this law passes it leaves that $135,000 in the pockets of the farmers of Alabama, and if it is there it is far from lost.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--Will the gentleman permit a statement?
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--The $135,000 I referred to is the school property, not the tax. I would like to know how the farmers will get the school property.
MR. BULGER--When the gentleman from Talladega interrupted me I was telling that he had suggested if this amendment were passed, it would lose the State of Alabama the amount of the tag tax. I say if this law is passed, it will leave it in the pockets of the farmers of Alabama. If this law is unjust, this amendment is right; if this law is just, the amendment is wrong. That is the question before this Convention. He tells us there were 2,300 children in the agricultural schools who would be affected by the passage of this law. There are 600,000 children all over the State of Alabama who will be affected by this law, children who do not attend these agricultural schools. Twenty-three hundred children will be affected by the taking away of this money, but you will leave it where it belongs, and where it ought to stay, at home in the pockets of the parents of 600,000 children who go to the log cabin schools.
MR. ASHCRAFT-Will the gentleman permit a question?
MR. ASHCRAFT -- These twenty-three hundred children have fifty-three teachers which is an average of forty pupils per teacher. The public schools have about the same number, forty to a teacher. Where can the loss be?
MR. BULGER--I will come to that proposition in a minute.
MR. ASHCRAFT--If the same number of teachers have the same number of children, how can there be a loss to any of the children?
MR. BULGER -- The gentleman from Talladega also said that we had no assurance that the repeal of this law would reduce the price of fertilizer. That is the point. I invite the gentleman to go with me to the line that divides the State of Alabama from the State of Georgia. I invite him to go on the Alabama side and buy a ton of fertilizer where we pay a 50 cent tax and then I ask him to step across an imaginary line into the State of Georgia and buy the same ton of fertilizer where they pay a 10 cent tax and he will find that he pays 40 cents a ton less in Georgia. That is the reason why the tax ought to be reduced.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--In as much as the gentleman has addressed his remark to me, will he permit me to make a statement?
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--I have been told by a citizen of Chambers County that he can buy fertilizers at Lafayette, Ala., at the same price made by West Point, Ga.
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MR. ROBINSON--I am the person referred to. I live within twelve miles of the Georgia line, between the county of Tallapoosa and the State of Georgia, and a good portion of the citizens of Chambers County get their fertilizer from West Point. The fertilizers at West Point are at the same price as at Lafayette, Ala., and Opelika, Ala. Opelika, Ala., and West Point, Ga., are on the same railroads. The town of Cusseta is ten miles from West Point and twelve miles from Opelika, and those people get their fertilizer from Opelika rather than West Point.
MR. WHITE--When the Georgia market is open to the Alabama farmer of course they put it at the same price but how is it with the men who live far inside of the State and cannot go to West Point, Georgia?
MR. BULGER--In reply to the honorable gentleman from Chambers, no longer ago than last Friday I was in conversation with a distinguished merchant of Lanette, which city is on the line of the two States. He told me that the tag tax in Georgia was ten cents and the tag tax in Alabama was fifty cents and the price of the fertilizer in Georgia was forty cents less than in Alabama. I have his word, and it was no less a person than Senator Norman of Chambers County. I leave that with the gentleman from Chambers and Senator Norman. I do not know what the facts are. I do not agree with my friend from Pike in his original proposition. I believe that fertilizer should be analyzed. I believe the purpose and motive that prompted the original enactment of this law was a good one and that it was passed for the benefit of the farmers of Alabama and to protect them against imposition anywhere, but I believe it is wrong to make the farmer pay more expense to have his fertilizer analyzed than necessary to be paid. We are now extracting from the farmers of Alabama $96,000 when $20,000 would pay for the analyzing of the fertilizer in this State and the expenses of running the Agricultural Department of this State If that is true, then we are collecting from the farmers $70,000 snore than ought to be collected. and I am unlike the gentleman from. Talladega, I do not believe that would be lost if left in the pockets of the people.
MR. JACKSON--I would ask if the fertilizers have a guaranteed analysis?
MR. BULGER--I understand that they have and a ten cent tax on the guano pays the whole expense.
MR. JACKSON--I understand they do not have.
MR. BULGER--I understand they do.
Now the distinguished gentleman from Talladega suggested that the negroes of Alabama paid largely of this tax. That is true, but at the same time the negroes get largely of the benefits of this tax. While $23,000 goes to the District Schools, the white schools,
$2,500 goes to the negro schools of this State, $1,000 of it goes to the Paterson School at Montgomery, which is a negro school, $1,500 to the Booker Washington School at Tuskegee, which is a negro school, and I submit for reply to the gentleman from Talladega, if the negro don't draw out more than he puts in, in that
MR. PILLANS--If this is so important as to require a discussion for a day or two in this Constitutional Convention, framing an organic law, could the gentleman or any of those sustaining his side explain why no ordinance was introduced and referred to a Committee so it might nave been canvassed quietly and faithfully discussed in the Committee and reported to the Convention?
MR. BULGER--Because it was unimportant to do it, because it could be reached as well by the amendment, as is demonstrated on this occasion.
MR. PILLANS--May I ask another question?
MR. PILLANS--Then might not all the matters of novelty which have been introduced here have been offered by way of amendment to the Constitution of 1875 and a great deal of time have been saved?
MR. BULGER--I do not think so because all original questions have to be introduced by ordinance, but all may be improved upon by amendment. Now the gentleman who last addressed the amendment insisted that perhaps this was not a subject proper to go into the Constitution.
MR. SANDERS (Limestone)--Isn't it a fact that $50,000 of this fertilizer tax goes into the general educational fund of the State, after the agricultural schools have been provided for?
MR. BULGER--I am prepared to say that is not the fact.
MR. SANDERS--How much then does go into the general educational fund?
MR. BULGER--None of it.
MR. SANDERS--Into the general fund?
MR. BULGER--$7,700 of surplus that they are unable to spend in the agricultural department, in the Experiment Stations, in the negro schools and in the District Agricultural Schools, have to go into the general fund.
MR. SANDERS--Doesn't that surplus which goes into the general fund enable the common school appropriation to be increased?
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MR. BULGER-- I think so, but I think it is very unfair to make the farmer alone in Alabama put $37,700 more into the State treasury for general purposes than other people have to pay.
MR. SOLLIE--If the same amount were raised from general sources would not that also as well enable the State to make appropriation to the general schools?
MR. BULGER--I think it would, and much more fairly. Now we have said that the amount of this tag tax is $96,000. Perhaps we do not all know where this tax is appropriated and expended. My friend from Talladega read from the Auditor's report this morning that there was $75,000 and a little more, shown by the Auditor's report, that went into the treasury to be paid out. How is that reduced so low? The estimate for this year is a little more than that, some $10,000. Making any estimate on these figures, coming from a source where they are accurate or approximately so, the first reduction that is made is $9,000 paid out of the tag tax. That is expended in the different fairs. Some of it has gone to Buffalo, some of it went to Birmingham. That $9,000 is not reported to anyone. It is only expended by the Commissioner of Agriculture on the approval of the Governor.
It is not audited by the Auditor of the State of Alabama. That is where $9,000 goes, and if I did not know that we had a Commissioner of Agriculture who is not only a business and an honest, man, I would rather have it audited and know by record where it goes. In the salary of the Commissioner and clerks in his office they pay $5,300, expenses of his office besides his $2,000, the amount paid to nine white schools is $22,500. The negroes get $2,500.
MR. JACKSON--Did I understand the gentleman to say the Commissioner of Agriculture gets $5,000?
MR. BULGER--No, sir; I did not say that, I said the salaries of himself and the clerks in his office amounted to that. The Uniontown Experiment Station gets $2,500. I don't know whether it is worth it to the farmers of Alabama, but from what my distinguished friend from Washington says, I would have very great doubts on the subject. I think it is unfair to go into the interior among the farmers who use commercial fertilizers and extract from the $2,500 and pay it out for an enterprise in Alabama as described by the distinguished gentleman from Washington. If he is right, the levy of the tax is wrong. I am not attacking the Agricultural District Schools. Far from it. I am a friends to the schools but I am also a friend to the farmers of Alabama.
MR. LONG (Walker)--I would like to ask the gentleman a question.
PRESIDENT PRO TEM. (Heflin) -- Does the gentleman consent to the interruption?
MR. LONG--Isn't it a fact you tried several years ago to locate one of these agricultural schools in your own town of Dadeville.
MR. BULGER--I did, and when it was put up to the highest bid I decided it was too high and didn't buy it. Wetumpka outbid us, and got the school.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--I would like to know if the gentleman did not subscribe to the purchase fund?
MR. BULGER--I never did, nor anything like it. Now, gentlemen of the Convention, one other question and I am done. Is this a proper proposition to put in the Constitution of the State of Alabama? Some gentlemen say not. If not, why not? This Convention wants to know. It is a clear cut limitation on the taxing power of this State, and it there is any one thing above another that should be put into the organic law of this State, it is a limitation upon the taxing power of the State. But for that we would have little use for a Constitution in this State.
If it is not right to limit the power to levy a tax for the sale of fertilizers in Alabama, then I would say strike out the limitation in the Constitution of three-quarters of one per cent on the taxing power in this State. One is as much a limitation as the other, one is as much a constitutional provision as the other. Now, Mr. President, I desire to submit to have read by the clerk what I hold in my hand, as a part of my remarks. I know, as a parliamentary proposition, it cannot be offered now. I ask the clerk to read it as a part of my remarks.
The clerk read the statement as follows: Amend Section 1 by adding after the word "value" in the fifth line of this Section, the following: Provided, that the tax imposed for the privilege of selling commercial fertilizers in this State shall not exceed ten cents per ton ; and provided, further, that the provisions of his amendment shall not take effect until January 1st, 1903."
Now, Mr. President, I shall, in due time, offer that substitute to the Convention, because I believe the fertilizer sold in this State should be analyzed and their true merit and value known to the farmer who buys them. I put the time off until the 1st of January, 1903, because some gentlemen have stated on the floor that contracts are now in existence with the teachers of some of the district schools in Alabama That being true, it gives them eighteen months more to comply on both sides with those contracts during the next year, and then leave it to the people and their representatives in the Legislature to provide for these District Agricultural schools like other schools in Alabama are supported. I have heard no reason here why these District schools should have more privileges in this State than other schools have. Children who are
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educated in the log cabin receive their appropriations from the general fund, the University and Normal schools receive a part of their appropriations and support from the general fund. Place these Agricultural schools on the same basis, and then like the gentleman from Washington says, it will be equal rights to all and special privileges to none--the grand Jeffersonian doctrine to which he so eloquently alluded.
MR. LONG (Walker) -- I regret being absent and having missed a great deal of this argument. I have only been here two days. It seems that this show started up some time last week.
Mr. President, this is a matter that is clearly a legislative proposition, even if it had any merit in it. It has no more business in this Constitution than a dog law has down in South Alabama. The statement has been made upon this floor that the poor farmer pays this tax. I have had over twenty years experience in selling guano to farmers and I love the farmers like we all love them, we like to use them, and that is the reason we have so many lawyers and great statesmen so much in love with them because while they have never farmed, they have spent years running around all day and a good part of the night in the hope to reach some provision. Now the tax is 50 cents a ton and it has been said upon this floor that there was some rascality upon the part of the last Legislature of which I was a member, because this tax was not reduced. It is a well known fact that it was not reduced because our late lamented Governor did not want it reduced and sent to the Agricultural Committee and made that fact known to them. He took the position, and wisely, that a reduction of 20 cents a ton would not benefit a single farmer in Alabama, and it would cripple some of the schools. You take that 50 cents tax off and I am one of those heartless merchants you hear about, and the trust that controls most of the guano factories and with which those who are not owned by it work and they would not reduce the price of fertilizer one cent, and if they did the merchant to whom they reduced it would not reduce it one penny to the farmer. Now, this is a plain proposition. The kitty is too small to divide out. The trust gets the first hit and the merchant the second and what would be left for the poor farmer out of 50 cents? Every merchant pays a tax of $1 when he sells guano. It goes to the Agricultural fund. You don't hear anybody getting up and saying that is an outrage upon every merchant of Alabama. You can save a thousand dollars to the merchants of Alabama by taking that little pittance of $1 off, but where is there a man here who is foolish enough to say that the poor farmer would be benefited? A merchant sells 1,000 pounds of guano and he pays a dollar tax for selling it and if you would take that dollar off and divide it among the farmers it would only be one mill per ton or a penny a carload. Do you think the merchant would be just enough to remit to each farmer buying a ton a postal card?
That is the proposition here. It is but child's play to tell you that the farmer will get any benefit from it. I tell you I know whereof I speak. I have sold guano in Georgia, and I have sold it in Alabama, and I am today a dealer in it. It is an insult to every merchant in Alabama to say that he cannot buy guano as cheaply as the merchants in Georgia. They do do it, and they sell it just as cheap, and I want to state that the chemical department of the State of Georgia has no connection whatever, directly or indirectly, with any school.
MR. SMITH (Morgan M.)--May I ask the gentleman a question?
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM.--Does the gentleman consent to be interrupted?
MR. LONG (Walker)--Yes.
MR. MORGAN M. SMITH--Do you mean to say that if there was a tax of five dollars a ton on guano and it was taken off that it would sell at the same price?
MR. LONG (Walker)--No sir, the kitty would be larger, and the farmer would get some reduction in that event. But with fifty cents, he does not.
The chemical department in the State of Georgia, as I started to say, has no connection with any school of the State of Georgia. It is located in the Capitol at Atlanta. The Georgia Legislature annually appropriates out of the general fund seven thousand dollars to maintain it. You therefore see that Alabama, while it appropriate nothing, has a laboratory at Auburn that should be a pride to every Alabamian. Why, sir, it is noted all over this country as one of the best schools, and the best equipped school almost in that department, south of Harvard University. Whenever they get up a dispute over the analyses in the State of Georgia, they almost always invariably refer the matter to the Chemical Department at Auburn, Alabama merchants pay no more than the merchants in South Carolina for their goods, and the tax there is five cents a ton. Guano is sold for either so much currency or it is sold for so much cotton, but who ever heard of farmers buying guano for two hundred and ninety pounds of cotton? It is either two hundred and seventy five pounds a ton, or three hundred pounds, or some even number like that. They do not buy guano for $19.65 a ton; they buy it for twenty dollars a ton, or twenty-one and a half, or twenty-two, or some even amount like that.
There isn't a merchant in Alabama that sells more than one grade of guano, but what has three or four that cost him less, yet he will quote it all at the same price, a dollar and a half, or one seventy-five, or two and a quarter a sack, or twenty-two or twenty dollars a ton. It has been stated upon this floor that Georgia has guaranteed analysis. I state that it is not the fact. Alabama
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has, and every farmer in this State that buys a sack of guano, or a car load, can send to Auburn, and if it does not come up to that guaranteed analysis, he can refuse to pay one penny for it, and the merchant cannot collect one farthing for it, and the expense of it is free to him. That is not the case in the State of Georgia.
MR. MALONE--You say that Georgia has no guaranteed analysis?
MR. LONG (Walker)--That is what I stated.
MR. MALONE--Is it not a fact that you cannot sell it in Georgia unless it has twelve per cent. available matter?
MR. LONG (Walker)--Yes, sir. but there is a difference between an analysis and a guaranteed analysis. The gentleman I understand is in the guano business, and he knows there is a good deal of difference between the one and the other.
MR. MALONE--I want to show you that I know what I am talking about. Is it not a fact that in Georgia you cannot sell guano of any kind unless it has twelve per cent., and that you have to furnish with every shipment you send there a statement of what the analysis is, and if it does not come up to this analysis, that you release your claim for pay?
MR. LONG (Walker)--I will answer the gentleman.
MR. MALONE--And is it not a fact that when that is so, they send a man there into the fields and sample the stuff themselves. And another thing--I want to ask one more question--I will ask no more. You say a man in Alabama pay no more than in Georgia. Don't you know that it is a fact that right below the Georgia prices it says "add forty cents for Alabama?" Don't you pay that?
MR. LONG (Walker)--No, sir, I don't pay any more than any merchant in Georgia, and I have this year had Georgia manufacturers to refuse to furnish it at the same price as Birmingham, Alabama, on a nine, two and two per cent. goods. And, Mr. President, while Georgia places upon it her analysis, it is entirely different from the analysis placed upon it by the State of Alabama. Their commercial value placed upon a sack in the State of Georgia will not stand, and it does in the State of Alabama. They are always about two to three dollars per ton higher in commercial values in the State of Georgia than they are in the State of Alabama, but it is a fictitious value, and while it may stand the test so far as Georgia is concerned, it will not stand a just test anywhere on earth, and there is no forfeiture if it does not come up to it.
Now, Mr. President, it is true that a few years ago the State of Georgia and the Carolinas led in the fertilizer business. This was so because they had the majority of the phosphate rock, and
until the phosphate fields were discovered in Tennessee they furnished nine-tenths of the fertilizer in the South, but that is no longer the case, and Tennessee phosphate rock today stands higher than any phosphate rock of South Carolina, and for that reason there can be no just cause whatever for the statement, and it is unjust to get up here and say that merchants in Alabama pay more than the merchants in Georgia do for guano It is not the fact, and you may take off the tax if you will, but the farmer will not reap one penny of benefit froth it.
I come from a county that has no agricultural schools, nor any guano factories and I tell you our farmers are satisfied with the law just as it is. I have never heard any clamoring for its repeal, although they use a great deal of fertilizer in my county. It seems that there is a class here who are not farmers themselves that want to legislate something into the Constitution for the poor farmer, and they jump behind the poor farmer to get something into the Constitution that will stand for ages, like a snag in a water pool for a boy. It has no business in the Constitution. We cannot put all the legislation in the Constitution that is needed. The delegates on this floor seem to ignore the fact that everything we leave out of the Constitution we leave for the people. Everything that you leave out of the Constitution is left to the people. Everything that you put in the State Constitution is a shackle upon the people. Now you delegates love the people, so leave this thing out of the Constitution and let the people settle it. Why do you want to bind and gag them, when there is not one farmer in ten in Alabama who want any reduction in this tax.
Now, Mr. President, I do not desire to take longer time upon this Section. I did not intend to make a speech on it at all, but it sounds to me so ridiculous that men should get up here and make this appeal for the farmer, when I dare say there is not a man that handles guano in the United States but would gladly see this in the Constitution. It is a mistake to say that the farmers pay the tax. Do the patients pay the tax of $5 on the doctor for practicing medicine? As I asked the gentleman from Barbour, when they tax him $5 to practice medicine, does he charge it to his patient, and if the tax was taken off, would the doctor's fees be any less? The lawyers are taxed in many of our municipalities, $5, $10 and $20 to practice law. If you took that tax off would the lawyers' fees come down? Merchants are taxed for the purpose of doing business in municipalities, and they are taxed by the State. Take that tax off and would the price of goods decline? Do the farmers pay it? Why gentlemen, if you look at it fairly in the face, you know that the sum is too insignificant, and that they do not pay. When Alabama reduced the tax ten years ago to 25 cents, did the price of guano fall ? Not one penny. When it was restored to 50 cents, did the price of guano increase? Not one penny.
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MR. BURNS (Dallas)--Will the gentleman allow a question?
MR. LONG (Walker)--Yes sir.
MR. BURNS -- Although there are lots of dealers in such stuff, I have been trying to get hold of some for two years. I want to know where I can get some guano?
MR. LONG (Walker)--Some people have to give mortgages to buy it. Some people pay cash for it. I don't know, but you can buy it if your credit is good.
MR. BURNS--I'll pay in advance for it, if you tell me where to get it.
MR. LONG (Walker) -- You can buy guano right here in Montgomery, and you will find some stores selling it probably 40 or 50 cents a ton cheaper than others if you will look around.
MR. LONG (Walker)--Yes, guano.
Now, Mr. President, I think we have taken up enough time on this question, and I think it is now time to take a vote on it. I therefore renew the motion made by the gentleman from Washington to lay the original proposition, the amendment, and the amendment to the amendment on the table.
MR. MALONE--I rise to a question of privilege. I made a statement a while ago as to what was the law in the State of Georgia, and the member denied it. I would like to verify the statement by the Code of Georgia. Section 1552 reads--
MR. LONG (Walker)--I make the point of order that a contradiction between a man who is interested in the sale of guano and myself is a matter that can be settled outside of this Convention. I make the point of order that it is out of order now, because I have called for the previous question and moved to lay the original proposition, the amendment, and the amendment to the amendment, on the table.
MR. SAMFORD (Pike)--I began this fight, and stirred up this discussion, and I would like the privilege of making a few remarks.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM.--The gentleman from Pike is out of order unless the gentleman from Walker will withdraw his motion.
MR. LONG (Walker)--I will not yield, Mr. President. I don't want to cut off anybody that wants to debate this question, but we have taken a great deal of time on it.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM.--The gentleman from Walker moved to lay the amendment to the section, and the amendment to the amendment on the table.
MR. SAMFORD (Pike)--And I demand the ayes and noes.
The call for the ayes and noes was sustained.
MR. PARKER (Elmore)--I call for a division of the question.
There were expressions of dissent to the call.
MR. ESPY--Certainly the delegate has a right to have this question divided. There may be a great many gentlemen here that might vote for the amendment, that would not vote for the original proposition.
MR. PETTUS--I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM--The gentleman will state the point of order.
MR. PETTUS--The gentleman from Walker moves to table both amendments, and the Chair has repeatedly held that was a matter in the discretion of the gentleman making the motion, and a call for a division is in order.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM--The Chair so rules.
MR. GREER (Calhoun)--I rise to a question of inquiry. The Chair rules that there can be no division of the question,
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM--The Chair ruled the motion of the gentleman from Walker was in order to table the amendment, and the amendment to the amendment, and it was in the discretion of the gentleman from Walker as to whether or not he would permit a division of the question.
MR. BULGER--I would like to hear the gentleman to my right (Mr. Espy) read.
The amendment was read.
Upon the call of the roll--
MR. CARMICHAEL (Coffee)--I am paired with Mr. Hinson, and if he were present he would vote aye, and I would vote no.
MR. McMILLAN (Wilcox)--l am paired with the gentleman from Jefferson, Dr. Cunningham, and if he were present he would vote aye, and I would vote no.
The vote resulted as follows:
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Parker, of Elmore,
Jones, of Wilcox,
Rogers, of Lowndes,
Long, of Walker,
Coleman, of Greene,
Lowe, of Jefferson,
Smith, of Mobile,
Miller, of Wilcox,
Graham, of Montgomery,
Graham, of Talladega,
Williams, of Barbour,
O'Neal, of Lauderdale,
Williams, of Marengo,
Greer, of Perry,
Wilson, of Clarke,
Wilson, of Washington,
Parker, of Cullman,
Greer, of Calhoun,
Heflin, of Chambers,
Heflin, of Randolph,
Rogers, of Sumter,
Jones, of Bibb,
Jones, of Hale,
Carmichael, of Coffee,
Smith, Mac A.,
Smith, Morgan M.,
Lowe of Lawrence,
Coleman, of Walker,
Davis, of DeKalb,
Miller of Marengo,
ABSENT OR NOT VOTING.
McMillan, of Wilcox,
Carmichael, of Colbert,
Jones, of Montgomery,
Reynolds, of Chilton,
Davis, of Etowah,
Long, of Butler,
Williams, of Elmore.
Before the announcement of the result, Mr. Samford (Pike) changed his vote from no to aye, for the purpose of moving a reconsideration tomorrow morning.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--I make the point of order that the vote has not been announced.
MR. SAMFORD (Pike)--I cannot change my vote after the result is announced.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM--The Chair rules that the gentleman from Pike is in order.
MR. WHITE--I now move to lay the motion of the gentleman from Pike on the table.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM--The motion is out of order at this time. The motion will go over until in the morning.
MR. LONG (Walker)----I make the point of order that you cannot make a motion to reconsider the vote on a motion to lay on the table. That decision was made by the President of this Convention some days ago.
MR. SAMFORD (Pike)--I then give notice that I will either make a motion to reconsider, or to take from the table, as the case may be.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM--The Chair has ruled that the gentleman from Pike has the right to change his vote and to give notice to the Convention that on tomorrow he will make a motion to reconsider.
The Chair announced that by a vote of sixty--eight ayes to sixty--three noes the amendment and the amendment to the amendment were laid upon the table.
Mr. Samford (Pike) secured recognition--
MR. SAMFORD (Pike)--I yield to the gentleman from Jefferson.
MR. LONG (Walker)--I will ask what is before the House?
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THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM.--The question before the House is the consideration of the original section of the report of the Committee on Taxation, Section 1, and the Clerk will read the amendment.
The amendment was read as follows:
Amend Section 1 of Article II, as reported by the Committee on Taxation, by adding after the word "value" in the fifth line of said section, the following: "no tax for inspecting any merchandise or commodity shall be imposed or collected, in excess of an amount sufficient to pay for the actual cost of the Inspection thereof."
MR. HARRISON--I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM.----The gentleman from Lee will state the point of order.
MR. HARRISON--I would like to invite the attention of the President, in order to keep our records right, if I understand the rule of the permanent President, the motion of the delegate from Pike, to reconsider a motion to lay on the table, as clearly not in order, under Rule 27.
MR. SAMFORD (Pike)--I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM.--The Chair understood the gentleman from Pike to finally state that he changed his vote from no to aye, in order that he might move tomorrow for a reconsideration.
MR. HARRISON--I desire to read, or ask the Chair to read Rule 27.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM.--The Chair would be glad to read the rule, if he is in error.
MR. SAMFORD (Pike)--I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM--The gentleman will state the point.
MR. SAMFORD (Pike)--The gentleman from Lee has no right to make his point of order now because that is a question that will come up tomorrow when I make the motion, and it is not before the House at this tune, but the gentleman from Jefferson is addressing the Convention upon an entirely different proposition.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM--I think that the gentleman from Lee can raise the point of order on tomorrow. Perhaps the Chair is in error.
MR. HARRISON--If the Chair desires, I can read the rule.
MR. SAMFORD (Pike)--I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM.--The Chair thinks the gentleman is not in order, but that the point of order can be made on tomorrow.
MR. HARRISON--I raise the point of order then, Mr. President, that the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson, as I understand it, is the same that has just been tabled.
MR. WHITE-- I call for the reading of the amendment. It is an entirely different proposition, and if the gentleman will listen to it he will so understand it.
The proposed amendment was again read.
MR. BOONE-- I make the further point of order that this is not germane to Section 1, which we are considering,. Section 1 provides for laying an ad valorem tax, as reported by the Committee on Taxation, and the amendment is in the nature of a special, or privilege tax, which is not germane to Section 1.
THE PRESIDENT--The gentleman from Jefferson will proceed.
MR. BOONE--What is the ruling of the Chair upon the point of order?
THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM.-- The point of order the Chair understands the gentleman from Mobile to make is that the amendment is not germane to the subject under consideration.
MR. BOONE (Mobile) --Exactly, because one is an ad valorem tax, and the other is a special tax, and a special tax, as has often been decided by our Supreme Court is not such an one as is defined by that section of the Constitution which requires all taxes to be equal.
THE; PRESIDENT PRO TEM.--The Chair would not like to make a ruling on that question, or rather the Chair would not like to decide that point. It is a matter for the Convention to determine when they vote upon this amendment to the question.
MR. WHITE (Jefferson)--Really, Mr. President this amendment is exactly what I wanted. I advocated the amendment of the gentleman from Pike because it was the only thing before the House, but this amendment limits the power of taxation upon any merchandise or commodity for the purpose of inspection to an amount which will not exceed the cost of the inspection.
I want to say, Mr. President and gentlemen of the Convention, that while much of the argument that has been made heretofore is entirely appropriate to this amendment, it may not all be so, but I understand to say that when any article of merchandise or other commodity is taxed, for inspection, then there should not be levied any other tax on that except for the purposes
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of the inspection, where the inspection is needed. Any further tax than that is usurpation pure and simple. None of the argu- ment which has been made. Mr. President, in opposition to this measure----
MR. KYLE--Will the gentleman permit an interruption?
MR. KYLE-- Is there an advalorem tax on guano?
MR. WHITE-- Certainly there may be an ad valorem tax on guano. It is a tax on merchandise, like any other merchandise in a man's store.
MR. KYLE--I have heard gentlemen who handle it say that there is not.
MR. WHITE--It is because the Tax Assessor has not done his duty, if there is not.
Now, the opponents of this measure have not made the argument what tax does the farmer, or what tax does the merchant pay. Why, he pays all the taxes, on all his property, that any other property pays in Alabama, and why, should a commodity or a piece of merchandise be taxed in addition to that for general purposes? Does not the farmer pay taxes upon his land, his agricultural implements, and his stock which he uses upon the farm? If he pays that, has he not paid as much as any other man who has property assessable for taxation in Alabama? Hasn't he paid as much as the mine owner? Hasn't he paid as much as the furnace operator? Then why impose upon him, or upon any other dealer in merchandise a tax in addition to that?
Why, Mr. President, and delegates to this Convention, there can be no equality or justice in it. The argument which has been trade overlooks the great question of the inequality of taxation that is made by this measure. They tell us in glowing terms that nine Agricultural schools in Alabama need this blood to flow into them to give them life. I ask if this blood does not flow from somebody else, leaving less blood and less life there. 'They tell us, Mr. President, not that the taxation is just or equal, but they tell us, sir, they need the money. I appeal to the delegates upon this floor, and ask you if the highwayman at the point of his weapon when he makes you hand out what you have, has not the same argument for what he does? Claude Duval on Highland Heath declared that he robbed the rich to feed the poor. What are the opponents to this measure doing? They are robbing the poor to feed the rich. They haven't that argument on their side.
Remember, gentlemen of this Convention, that the precedent you set on this occasion may come up to trouble you in the future. Remember when you tax the farmer unequally and unjustly that
you lay the precedent for the laying of taxes upon other industries in Alabama, and the day may come when those industries may be assailed with all the eloquence and force with which this tax is attempted to be upheld.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega) --Will the gentleman allow me to ask a question?
MR. WHITE--Yes, sir.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--You stated a while ago that the farmer paid taxes on all his property like any one else. I ask you to read subdivision 8 of this Code.
MR. WHITE--You may read it yourself.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--The following property to be selected by the head of each family, viz : Household and kitchen furniture, not to exceed in value $150; one yoke of oxen, one cart or wagon, two cows and calves, twenty head of stock pigs, ten head of sheep, all poultry, all cotton and other agricultural products which were raised or grown during the preceding year, and which shall remain in the hands of the producer thereof, and all manufactured articles, including pig iron, which shall remain in the hands of the manufacturer thereof on the first day of October of any year immediately succeeding that in which they were raised or produced; all provisions and supplies on hand for the current year, for the use of the family; (I understood the gentleman to say he paid taxes on agricultural implements) farming tools to the value of $25 ; one sewing machine in each family, when the taxable property does not exceed $250, etc.
MR. WHITE--Yes I am very glad you read it, for the farmer a few stock hogs and a yoke of oxen, and some other little insignificant items, but the pig iron in the hands of the manufacturer may amount to thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars is laid by the side of it. There is another inequality, sir, almost as gross and glaring as the one which you undertake to impose by opposing this measure.
MR. GREER (Calhoun)--Will the gentleman allow a question ?
MR. GREER (Calhoun)--The household and kitchen furniture and the things alluded to there, applies to the gentleman from Talladega, a lawyer, just as well as to the farmer, does it not? It is an exemption to every citizen of Alabama.
MR. WHITE--That would be so if it were not for the fact that the lawyer generally milks somebody elses' cows. (Laughter.)
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MR. REESE--The hour for adjournment has almost arrived, and I desire to move that the rules lie suspended, and that this Convention remain in session until the pending question is disposed of.
The President resumed the Chair.
There were loud expressions of dissent.
THE PRESIDENT--Does the gentleman from Jefferson suspend for the purpose of entertaining the motion?
MR. WHITE-- I do not think there is any disposition to suspend the rules. I think the hour for adjournment has arrived, and we may as well let the Convention adjourn and I will complete my argument in the morning.
MR. MORRISETTE--I ask unanimous consent to introduce an ordinance to be referred to a Committee.
The consent was given and the ordinance was read as follows:
Resolution No. 194, by Mr. Morrisette.:
Resolved, By the people of Alabama in Convention assembled, That the next General Assembly of Alabama shall reduce the tax on fertilizer to 10 cents per ton.
Resolved, further, That the General Assembly at the same time shall provide for the support of the various Agricultural Schools in this State out of the general fund of the State.
Referred to Committee on Legislative Department.
MR. REESE--I move a suspension of the rules and that the resolution be adopted.
MR. MORRISETTE --I hope the gentleman will withdraw that motion. I asked that the resolution be referred.
MR. REESE-- The motion is withdrawn.
MR. O'NEAL--I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT--Mr. Thompson requests leave of absence for Thursday, Friday and Saturday ; Mr. Jones of Montgomery, requests leave of absence for today, if there is no objection the leaves will be granted.
MR. EYSTER--I ask unanimous consent to submit a communication for the benefit of the members of the Convention.
The communication was read and it stated that the heat of the summer months, which the Convention was experiencing in Montgomery would be overcome by holding the sessions of the Convention at the Hotel Monte Sano, where a reasonable rate would be charged.
MR. SAMFORD--I move that it be referred to the Committee on Temperature.
MR. CHAPMAN--To the Committee on Temperature.
MR. SAMFORD (Pike)----To the Committee on Temperature, then.
The hour of adjournment having arrived, the Convention adjourned until tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock.
In proceedings of 29th day, it should read as follows:
MR. FERGUSON--Is it protection to life, liberty or property, putting the granting of pensions into the organic law? Since the gentleman hands it back to me. I say it is in direct conflict with that section.