May 24, 1901.
The Convention was called to order by the President, and the proceedings were opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Andrews.
The roll was called and showed 137 delegates present.
Leaves of absence were granted for today to Messrs. Macdonald, Almon and Lowe.
MR. WATTS--I have a resolution which I desire to have read and referred to the Committee on Rules.
The resolution was read as follows:
"Be it resolved, That with the exception of the delegates, officers and employees of the Convention, newspaper reporters and those especially invited no one shall be permitted on the floor of the Convention; and the Door-Keeper is instructed to enforce this resolution."
The resolution was referred to the Committee on Rules.
The Journal of yesterday was read, corrected and approved.
MR. JACKSON--I desire to offer a resolution.
The resolution was read as follows:
"Resolved, That 500 copies of the platform adopted by the State Democratic Convention of Alabama on April 19, 1901, be printed and placed on the desks of the members of this Convention."
The resolution was referred to the Committee on Rules.
MR. LONG (Walker)--I have a resolution
The resolution was read as follows:
"Resolved, That 500 copies of the present Constitution of the State of Alabama as annotated in the Code of Laws of Alabama, be printed in pamphlet form for the use of members of this Convention."
The resolution was referred to the Committee on Rules.
MR. REESE--I desire to offer a resolution:
The resolution was read as follows:
"Whereas, More than nine-tenths of the members of this Convention have prior to their election pledged the people of Alabama
that no new Constitution would be adopted without first submitting the same to the people for ratification. Now therefore be it
"Resolved, That such Constitution as may be adopted by this Convention shall be submitted to the qualified voters of Alabama for ratification."
MR. REESE--I move a suspension of the rules and the adoption of that resolution.
The Delegate demanded the yeas and nays but immediately withdrew the call.
MR. WHITE--I think if the resolution were given as the sense of this Convention it would be better.
The suggestion was accepted.
THE PRESIDENT--Proceed with the roll call.
MR. REESE--I withdraw the call for the ayes and nays.
MR. PILLANS--I suggest that the gentleman should take off the preamble. The body of the resolution may be perfectly acceptable to many delegates. It certainly is to me, but the preamble is not at all. I make the suggestion to the mover of the resolution.
THE PRESIDENT--Does the gentleman acquiesce in the suggestion of the gentleman from Mobile?
MR. REESE--No, sir.
A vote being taken the rules were suspended..
THE PRESIDENT--The question is now on the adoption of the resolution.
MR. CUNNINGHAM--I simply rise to ask for ayes and noes on that resolution. Nothing will give greater emphasis to the will of this Convention than aye and no vote upon that question and nothing is more needed today in the State of Alabama than a declaration upon this question. I call for the ayes and noes.
MR. WATTS--I move to strike from that resolution the preamble.
MR. REESE--We have been entrusted with extraordinary power by the people of Alabama. In order to secure this the Democratic party which sent us here made pledges for most of the men that are here today. That was done I know for at least nine-tenths of them. The Democratic campaign committee that conducted the fight for this Convention permitted that to be done and if there is a Democrat in this House that has ever denied the authority of that committee to pledge him, I have never heard of it. Let us not only deal with the people with the appearance of fairness and honesty but let us actually deal fairly and honestly with them.
This is no place for demurrers or special pleas or legal quibbles. We are dealing with a plain, honest, straightforward people and let us deal with them in a straight-forward manner. The preamble to the resolution is unquestionably true and I defy any gentleman to say it is not. If it is a truth, let us say it is a truth. Let us deal with the people fairly and squarely and if there is any man in this Convention who does not think that the promises made to the people ought not and will not be carried out, let him say so now and I for one am ready to say that if the Convention refuses to adopt this resolution I will vote for an immediate adjournment of the convention.
MR. WATTS--The gentleman totally misapprehended the object of my motion. I am here to keep every syllable of the provisions of the Democratic platform. I am here to vote to submit this to the people of Alabama for ratification. I am not only pledged to it as a Democrat, but I believe it is my duty as a man because I am sent here as an agent and it would be a new doctrine in law that an agent should refuse to submit to his principal the ratification of his acts and I am in favor of adopting this resolution, but I do not think the preamble is necessary and I, therefore, move to strike it out.
MR. DENT--It seems to me that the question would come with better grace by not referring to the fact that our hands were tied by previous pledges. For one, I agree heartily with the gentlemen who have spoken in favor of the submission of whatever constitution may be adopted by this body back to the people, but I want it to come as the voluntary expression of the delegates of Alabama to the Convention without any reference to previous pledges and therefore I shall be compelled to vote for the motion to strike out.
MR. JONES (Montgomery)--If my friend from Dallas will permit me, there is just one suggestion upon which I hope he will withdraw his preamble. I am a partisan when partisan occasions demand it, but I have regretted to hear in this convention so many allusions to the Democratic party. We have among our membership some fifteen or twenty gentlemen who are Populists and Republicans. I don't want to put them in the attitude of voting for this resolution because the Democratic party has promised or demanded it, and for that reason I hope the gentleman from Dallas will agree to strike out the preamble.
MR. REESE--I will consent to withdraw the preamble.
MR. LOMAX--I offer a substitute for the resolution.
The substitute was read as follows:
"Resolved, That it is the sense of this convention that all the pledges of the Democratic party made in its platform adopted April, 1901, including that the constitution adopted by this con-
vention shall be submitted to the people, shall be carried out and fulfilled."
MR. BROOKS--I believe it is the sense of the convention that the original resolution be passed as originally submitted, and I, therefore, move the previous question on the original measure and the substitute.
MR. WALKER--I move to lay the substitute on the table.
MR. REESE--A parliamentary inquiry: Have we any rules except general parliamentary laws?
THE PRESIDENT--Only general parliamentary rules.
MR. REESE--Then if the motion to table is carried, will not that table the whole matter?
THE PRESIDENT--If the motion to table the substitute is carried that will table the whole proposition.
MR. WALKER--I understand that, but the original proposition can be taken from the table.
MR. BROOKS--My motion was for the main question on the original resolution, and I would ask a ruling from the chair as to whether that has not precedence of a motion to lay on the table.
THE PRESIDENT--The chair would rule that it would have.
MR. BROOKS--Then I would insist on that motion.
THE PRESIDENT--The motion for the previous question had precedence of the motion to table.
A vote being taken, the motion for the question was carried and a further vote being taken, the substitute of the delegate from Montgomery (Mt. Lomax) was lost.
THE PRESIDENT--The question is now on the resolution of the delegate from Dallas, with the preamble withdrawn, and the clerk will please read it.
The resolution was read as follows: "Be it resolved, That it is the sense of this convention that such constitution as may be adopted by this convention shall be submitted to the qualified voters of Alabama for ratification."
The roll was called and the vote was unanimous for the adoption of the resolution.
General Harrison--I desire to offer a resolution. It is of a privileged character, and I ask an immediate consideration.
The resolution was read as follows: "Resolved, That when this convention adjourns today, it adjourn to meet at 12 o'clock m., on Monday next."
GENERAL HARRISON--In support of that resolution I desire to state that it is absolutely necessary that the President should have that time in which to prepare his committees and also necessary for the Committee on Rules to complete its labors in perfecting rules for the convention. Tomorrow being Saturday, without committees and without rules the day would be practically lost and I therefore trust the resolution will be adopted.
THE PRESIDENT--Under the rules that would have to go to the Committee on Rules.
GENERAL HARRISON--I move to suspend the rules and that the resolution be put on its passage immediately.
MR. CUNNINGHAM--I make the point of order that a motion to adjourn to a certain day is a privileged motion and it is not necessary to suspend the rules to take a vote on it.
THE PRESIDENT--I believe the gentleman is correct and that the Chair is wrong.
MR. ASHCRAFT--I move to amend the resolution by substituting until Tuesday noon. A recess until Monday will be absolutely useless to a large number of the delegates.
Dissent being audibly expressed the amendment was withdrawn and a vote being taken the resolution of General Harrison was adopted.
On motion of General Oates, seconded by Mr. Pettus, Senator E. W. Pettus was invited to the privileges of the floor of the convention. On an amendment of Mr. O'Neal Senator John T. Morgan was likewise honored.
MR. PETTUS--I desire to offer a resolution. Be it resolved, That in its action, this convention shall adhere to and be governed by the act of the General Assembly approved December 11, 1900, providing for this convention.
Referred to Committee on Rules.
THE PRESIDENT--The Chair desires to state that in ruling a moment ago on the motion of the gentleman from Madison on the point of order made by the gentleman from Mobile, I unintentionally committed an error in ruling that a call for the previous question has precedence of a motion to lay on the table. We are proceeding under general parliamentary law and in my opinion the motion to lay on the table would have precedence of a motion for previous question and the Chair unintentionally made an error against the gentleman from Madison.
GENERAL OATES--I desire to submit a report of a committee.
The report was read as follows:
REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Your committee to inquire into the desirability, practicability and probable cost of obtaining a full and accurate stenographic report of the proceedings of this convention, make the following report.
We called before us the stenographers applying for the contract and received from them such information touching said word as was obtainable.
Mr. McGauly submitted the following proposition, to-wit:
Ala., May 21, 1901.
Alabama Constitutional Convention,
Gentlemen-~I would respectfully submit the following proposition:
I will undertake to furnish an accurate verbatim stenographic report of each day's proceedings of the Constitutional Convention, and deliver one thousand (1,000) printed copies thereof to the Secretary of the Convention by 9 o'clock on the morning of each day succeeding that on which such proceedings were had, for the sum of seventy dollars ($70.00) per diem, for whatever number of days the convention may remain in session. Should the convention not convene on any day, i. e., Sundays and recess days no per diem charge to be made.
In consideration of the per diem compensation quoted above, I will undertake to associate with me a sufficient number of skilled and experienced stenographers, men in every way competent to perform this class of work, who will act in relays--succeeding each other at short intervals throughout the session; (2) a staff of typewriters to whom the stenographers will dictate their notes; (3) reliable and responsible printers with ample facilities to print and furnish one thousand copies of the proceedings each morning by 9 o'clock.
Messrs. Hoffman and May submitted the following proposition, to wit:
Montgomery, Ala., May 23, 1901.
To the Committee having charge the question of stenographically reporting the proceedings of the convention, etc.:
Gentlemen of the Committee--We beg to submit for your consideration two plans upon which we propose to report the proceedings.
We are informed by the manager of The Advertiser that it will print daily in a separate supplement of this newspaper the full proceedings of the day before for the sum of $25 per day, and we are authorized to make the proposition to this committee coming from him. He will furnish the convention for this sum two hundred copies of the supplement free of charge.
If it is desired to have this done, we will begin delivering copy to him at 1 o'clock each day, and thereafter, with sufficient rapidity, copy will be delivered to him to keep the printers busy and enable the same to have the same printed in the morning paper.
We will do this for twenty-five hundred dollars for the first thirty working days of the convention.
Should the session of the convention extend beyond that time, we will perform the same work during the additional time over thirty days for the sum of $425 per week or fraction thereof.
Should it not be desired to print these proceedings daily as above outlined, we will report the proceedings and lay on the table of the secretary each morning a complete and accurate report of the previous day's session for $2,250 for the first thirty working days of the session, and $350 per week or fraction thereof in excess of that time.
As there are others seeking this contract, and as the work will not be of any service to the convention or State unless absolutely accurate, we are willing to submit the following test: That our corps of reporters and the corps of any other applicant or applicants taking proceedings on any day named by the committee, and then let the committee order both corps to transcribe the proceedings, or to come before the committee and read from short-hand whatever may be desired, and let the contract be awarded the corps showing the greatest facility in reading or making the best transcript as the case may be.
We wish to assure the committee that we have a corps of reporters whose ability to do this work cannot be questioned, and we are so well satisfied ourselves on that point that we will gladly submit to the severe test of ability above proposed if it is required.
We are ready to name our corps of reporters to the committee, and would suggest the advisability of having other applicants do the same, that the committee may judge as to whether any particular corps can or cannot do the work in a satisfactory manner.
If either of these propositions is accepted, we request the committee to recommend the appointment of F. O. Hoffman of Mobile and E. L. May of Montgomery, jointly, as the official stenographers.
This last proposition, including the printing, would amount in the aggregate to $3,100.00 per month of twenty-six working days, or for thirty days as set forth therein.
The proposition of Mr. McGauly for the same length of time or twenty-six clays would cost $1,820.00.
No test was made by the committee as to the capacity or efficiency of the bidders, as we had no opportunity in our limited time, but, presuming that each of them were capable, and to fix their responsibility for doing the work accurately, we recommend that the successful bidder be required to give a bond payable to the State of Alabama, to be approved by the President of this convention, in the sum of $1,500.00, and conditioned that he perform his duties as such reporter according to the terms of his contract.
Your committee recommend a full and complete report of the proceedings of this convention, and as Mr. McGauly's proposition incurs much less expense to the State than that of Messrs. Hoffman and May, the committee recommend that it be accepted by the convention.
Should the aforesaid report be adopted by the convention, your committee recommend the adoption of the following proposition:
Resolved, That the President of this convention be, and he is hereby, authorized to enter into a contract with Mr. Pat McGauly to furnish daily a correct and full stenographic report of the proceedings of this convention, and to require him to enter into bond with good surety in the penal sum of $1,500.00, payable to the State of Alabama, for the faithful performance of his contract. And any substantial failure on the part of said McGauly to comply with his said contract, shall be deemed a breach of said bond.
Your committee ask the adoption of this report, and that they be discharged.
Wm. C. Oates, for the Committee.
GENERAL OATES--The report sufficiently explains itself unless some delegate desires further explanation. I move its adoption. One member of the committee, the delegate from Lauderdale, dissents from it in part and desires an opportunity to present his minority report.
MR. ASHCRAFT--I present a minority report.
The delegate read his minority report as follows:
Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention:
The undersigned member of the special committee appointed to consider the propriety and expense of a stenographic report of all the proceedings of this Convention, feels constrained to dissent from the opinion of the majority and begs leave to submit the following minority report:
The journals of this Convention will contain a full record of all its official proceedings. The stenographic report will contain in addition to these proceedings, a full report of all speeches and debates. The majority claimed three advantages for a report of these speeches and debates.
First--It is claimed that they will throw great light in the future upon the true interpretation of the Constitution. I cannot concur in this view. We and those who are to come after us will yet be wiser than we now are. We will write a new Constitution with patriotic purposes based upon the highest reasons within our grasp and make the noblest uses of it we can. Hereafter the same patriotism, in the light of new and happier experiences, will find higher reasons for our action, and nobler uses for our work. When this work is tested before the Supreme Court of the United States, we do not want that body to search for light amid the darkness of the debates on the 14th and 15th amendments. Now, will we want it judged by the bitterness which the sense of our ever pressing injury will be sure to infect our debates. We are going to approach right conclusions but we will sometimes be driven from the straight course by the irresistible storm.
Second--It is claimed by the majority that the publication of the speeches and debates will be of great value in educating our people to the needs of a new constitution and the reasons for the particular form it shall take. I do not believe it will possess this value. The press of this State is in favor of this movement and, if we give good reasons for our course, those reasons will be promulgated and given the widest circulation by our patriotic editors. If we give bad reasons they will be charitably censured, and the evil influence restrained. Again the great questions before the Convention will be chiefly determined in the committees, and it is urged by some that the main question we are here to determine should be considered in executive session; while I do not commit myself to this proposition, I mention it to show the anxiety felt as to the nature of the arguments which may be advanced.
Third--The majority claim that a knowledge of the fact that every word is to be recorded, will lend dignity and solemnity to the discussions. This does not comport with my limited observations of men. If there are any who are rash or light-minded, they are, of all persons, least conscious of that fact, and lightly rush in, while those who are conservative and conscious of the weight of responsibility hesitate. I believe this full report will repress discussion by this latter class, and will increase it by the former class, if any such are members of this Convention.
While I am satisfied that the arrangement planned by the Committee is the most advantageous which can be had, I do not believe the proposed investment is the best use that can be made of the money for the good of the people.
With the profoundest regret, I am, for reasons briefly stated above, compelled to differ from the able and patriotic gentlemen who compose the majority, and to report that I do not believe that it is expedient for this Convention to cause a stenographic report of its proceedings to be made and to incur the expense thereof.
John T. Ashcraft,
Member of the Committee.
MR. ASHCRAFT~~I move that the minority report be substituted for the report of the majority.
MR. COBB--I move that this matter be taken up Monday next directly after the reading of the journal.
A vote being taken, this motion was lost, the vote on the division standing, 29 yeas, 82 nays.
GOVERNOR OATES--The report of the committee was unanimous with the one exception. I believe that a correct report of the proceedings of this convention will be important in many respects, and it is in keeping with the times. Nearly all conventions and many legislative bodies in this day and time have stenographic reports of their proceedings. It seems that my friend, the delegate from Lauderdale, is fearful that some gentleman will, in the course of debate, say something unwise or criticizable. If any gentleman does that the responsibility is with him as an individual. There never was a deliberate body in session for any length of time that some one did not give utterance to sentiments that were not acceptible to a majority of the body politic. That is human nature, because men differ. Men see things in different lights. Then is this convention prepared, because my friend is apprehensive that some one may say something that it were better to leave unsaid--are they going to undertake to hide our proceedings? Why, sirs, ours is a government of the people. We are here as their representatives, and they wish to know the business we transact and the views of the different members upon the different propositions. My friend's position that much that is done here ought to be transacted in private is applicable to the committees, for the committees, as a rule, sit in private and consider all these grave questions. When they make their reports, those reports are to be considered by the convention in public; and every gentleman has the opportunity of proposing amendments to such reports and of expressing his views thereof. And that is consistent with every well-informed gentleman's idea of a free and full discussion that every delegate should be allowed to express his opinion of everything before this body and to conceal nothing. And I think I but utter the sentiments of every member of your committee except my friend, and seems to me that in this view he is certainly mistaken. We have, sir, the reports taken in extenso and accurately of a large majority of the Constitutional Conventions that have been
held within the last twelve or fifteen years, and nobody has suffered by that or anything in them, unless it be some one who saw proper to utter something he had better left unsaid. Ours being a government of the people, and our people being capable of passing upon everything, I don't think any gentleman should be apprehensive of anything that possibly may be uttered by any delegate to this convention, whether it be under review in the Congress of the United States or before the Supreme Court of the United States. My friend's apprehension seems to be that whatever constitution is framed here will have to undergo the ordeal of passing the Supreme Court of the United States. I do not concur in that view. I have confidence in the wisdom and the learning of the gentlemen composing this convention to believe--in fact, to know that they will, pursuing the platform, or at least one plank of it that was adopted, put nothing into the new Constitution in conflict with the Constitution of the United States, and that, therefore, there will be no necessity for our new Convention to undergo that ordeal. I have no idea that it will be so framed that any one can claim that it is in violation or any provision of it, is in violation of the Constitution of the United States, and, therefore, it could not come before that body. I think my friend's apprehensions are not well founded, and believing that the delegates composing this Convention are intelligent gentlemen I would like to preserve the arguments and reasons given in support of or in opposition to any proposition that my be presented, believing that with the small expense incurred because the proposition of Mr. McGauly the acceptance of which the Committee recommends is remarkably reasonable, very low, in fact, I had not thought it was possible that we could have gotten the reports made and printed so cheaply. Believing thus, I think the Convention is certainly prepared to adopt the report of the Committee and will, therefore, vote down the proposition of my friend to substitute his minority report for the report of the Committee.
MR. SOLLIE--I rise to favor the report of the majority of the Committee in this case. This Convention is entering upon a history-making event in Alabama. We have something approaching the population that the country had when the first Constitution of the United States was framed. Alabama continues to grow in importance and her resources seem to be well nigh inexhaustible. We who take the perspective and undertake to see what there is in the future for Alabama, necessarily see before us a great and glorious career for our State. Taking its growth in the past, its history up to the present, whatever touches the entire State of Alabama, necessarily is dear to all Alabamians. I remember in my own experience that when I take up questions dealing with the Constitution of the United States, especially when I come to the deep constitutional questions down in the late decisions of our courts, the language there is inadequate to fully express all that occurred and I long for some information that does not appear on the face of the record.
There are in this Convention gentlemen of capacity, gentlemen of experience and legal learning whose arguments bearing upon the vital questions which must come up in connection with the Constitution we are about to frame will of very necessity be of the greatest benefit to persons reading the Constitution to be made by this Convention.
I have sought with profit and benefit, Mr. Chairman, such rays of light as may be found to fall upon our National Constitution from looking into the debates, into this history of what occurred in our National Convention when our National Constitution was first framed. Wherever there is a question doubtful in its character or difficult of understanding, the language of which is inadequate and does not give fully the meaning, the debates will throw light on the proposition to the searcher after wisdom.
On that idea alone, the light that will be thrown on the Constitution to those who are studying it, the publication of these debates are of great and inestimable value.
Then taking up the minority report, it assumes that there are men who sit in this hall who do not stop to weigh the force of the remarks made by them. I cannot say whether that assumption is founded upon facts which justify it. If it is, I regret it, but conceding that it is true, considering the intelligence we know we have here, such will be the exception, not the rule. I know that the majority of the speeches that will be made here will be such that our people may read with edification. I know that nearly all of them will be speeches of which we shall not be ashamed.
So from whatever standpoint it is viewed, I saw the proposition to report the proceedings as has been said by a majority of the speakers is highly proper. Why should not the State of Alabama stand in the fore front of progress whenever the question of progress arises.
It is a fact well known to all well-informed persons that Conventions meet, assemblies meet whose proceedings are to become historic, whose actions are to involve the highest dignity and best judgment. And the proceedings of such bodies are looked after and preserved with care.
I favor the majority report and trust that it will be adopted.
MR. LONG (Walker)--I rise to favor the minority report. I believe we should have a record of what we do but I do not believe we should have a record of what we say. I do not think it is right and just to any of the members on this floor to have these speeches recorded so that the Colored Cooks Union can go searching through them in the years to come and get up a labor strike and refuse to allow any of its members to take employment in any house, the head of which voted in favor of disfranchising the negro. Suppose some delegates were to say that no one
should be allowed to vote except white men and Caucasians. Now, I believe violations of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments are but political crimes, and it would take very little for me to vote for an amendment in the suffrage clause that nobody but white men should vote. Of course, the penalty of that would be to cut down our representation in Congress and I do not believe that would be good reading when the Supreme Court of the United States comes to pass on the constitutionality of this Constitution, and a partisan Supreme Court at that. I can see no good reason why we should have reports of everything that is said in this Convention. There is no record that this was done in the last Constitutional Convention and I cannot see any reason why it should be done now. I am not afraid to speak my sentiments at any time but I do not think we should have a political record there in black and white that some of the delegates will have to be dodging for twenty years to come. I think the minority report should be adopted, I shall vote for it and I hope a majority of the delegates will do the same thing.
MR. MERRILL--There was some apprehension on the part of the people before the Convention was called that there was something hid, that there was something out of sight, that some mine would be sprung and that some person would be injured thereby.
It was my purpose in the discussion of this matter before the people, to take the people into my confidence and I think that that should be done in the fullest and most complete way. The way to do that is to have every word said upon this floor spread out and let the people of Alabama see what has been said and done. Then, there can be no doubt hereafter. That controls my remarks more than any other reason. I believe that a full and fair report of everything done and said sent to the people of Alabama will do more to secure the adoption of the Constitution that we shall make than any other one thing that we could do and the cost being small and the reasons great, I think the Convention would act unwisely to undertake to hide what they do under a bushel or anywhere else. Let us take them into our confidence and when you trust the people, you will hereafter be trusted by them.
MR. WEATHERLY--Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention--There are several reasons why I, as a member of this committee concurred in the majority report. In the first place, it ocurred to me that when we met here in Convention we met mainly for the purpose of discussion. It occurred to me that in formulating our actions as a body and crystallizing them into the form of a Constitution that that result would be most largely attended after discussion. Now, discussion implies always, mutual help. It implies a necessity devolving upon those who discuss of aiding each other in every way by reason. And it occurred to me that if the members of this Convention could have placed before
them daily everything that had been done and said on the previous day, especially in matters going over from one day to another that it would be a great aid in oiling and lubricating that machinery which is absolutely necessary to the conduct of this Convention--that machinery which could be termed discussion. That was the first thing that occurred to me.
Another reason was that I thought it was desirable that we should have the utmost publicity in connection with our proceedings at least that part of our proceedings not occurring in the committee. I saw no reason why we should not take the people into our confidence. I saw no reason why we should not show to many of those who had objections to the calling of this Convention, who were suspicious of what we were doing, say here is what we did and here are the reasons for it. We give these reasons and take and examine them. Look into our hearts and see once for all the motives of your agents in acting for you and then when we come to submit our actions to you you have our record.
This is a republican government. There is no such a thing known to us as an alien and foreign body sitting in one place and legislating in secret for people residing in another place. We are a part of them and they are our masters.
Another reason that occurred to me: Some suggestion has been made here by two of the distinguished speakers that have preceded me that there might be some political reason for secrecy, that it might not be diplomatic or wise to publish to the world the reasons which impelled us to adopt the suffrage clause of the Constitution. I for one, gentlemen of the Convention, am not afraid to publish whatever views I may have upon the suffrage to the people of this State or the people of the world and I do not believe that this high-minded and intelligent body will adopt any plan for the regulation of suffrage that they would be ashamed to publish to the civilized world. I believe--I have confidence and trust enough in the members of this Convention to believe that in arriving at their conclusion upon the suffrage they will proceed upon high grounds. They will act efficiently, they will remedy the evil which we were brought here to remedy but they will do it in such a way as that their action will meet with the intelligent approval and moral approbation of their fellow citizens in Alabama and in the nation and of the people of the world, not now but of twenty years from now.
The gentleman from Walker seems to think that twenty years from now some speech that is made in the Convention will be seized upon whereby to criticise the work of the Convention. I believe that what we want is the truth. We need never fear the truth. We shall base our actions on the lines of truth and when we do it, instead of becoming weaker and weaker from day to day, a century from now when the world has grown wiser, when the real reasons that have actuated our sovereign people in meeting
together and solving this crisis have sunk deeper and deeper into the hearts of men until with unanimity they shall say the sovereign white people were right.
MR. CUNNINGHAM--I am in favor of the majority report and in favor of public records. From the time a child first cries until he dies of old age the man makes a record in this world. By that record he is judged by his fellow men, by that record he is to be tried at the judgment bar of Almighty God. I am willing to admit the propriety of concealment in some things, not only the propriety, but the necessity. I am quite sure if the records of the individuals of this Convention in all of the relations of life had been stenographically reported at the time that many things that have been done would have been omitted. Matters that concern us as individuals between ourselves and our Maker, between ourselves and our God, are private matters for which no one suffers and no one is blessed but ourselves. But in public capacities we should go on record not merely as to what we do but as to what we say. Words are the signs of ideas and what we want here is ideas. And if those ideas can be expressed in words, then those words should be taken down that they may be studied.
I for one have no Constitution in my pocket. I do not know that I shall propose a single thing for this Convention. I for one confess that I am incompetent to pass on certain matters. One of those questions is the inhibition of the Constitution of the United States on the question of suffrage. There are gentlemen on this floor who know what this Convention can do, there are gentlemen who do not know. I belong to the latter class and I would like to have an opportunity in my room or in some quiet spot to take up and study these questions that have been submitted by men who are competent to pass upon these questions. It is true that in the enthusiasm of the moment we sometimes say things that we ought not to say. There are perhaps many married men who can recall the time when if they had had stenographic reports of the situation and studied over them they would not have proposed.
Now what we want to do is to be given an opportunity to sift out the wheat from the chaff that we may make flour for the mills that not even the Supreme Court of the United States can afford to deny and to do that we must have an opportunity to study these questions. The cost is of no consequence, much less than I had supposed it could be done for, but whether it can be done for that is not my business. That is the business of the gentlemen who gives the bond, and I am heartily in favor of going on record in this business not only as to what we do, but as to what the motives are that inspire our action and if there is in what is said a shroud of death for the future statesman, it is he who weaves the shroud and if there is future greatness and honors to him that is approved by the people, then by virtue of every American right as a citizen and as an aspirant he has a right to it, and
therefore he should be proud of it. I sincerely hope the majority report will be adopted.
MR. ASHCRAFI`--I think I have the capacity and the experience which will enable me to express clearly some of the reasons why these reports should not be made. There is not a man on this floor who believes in the publicity of our actions more than I do. I do not want this Convention to do anything in the dark; but, sir, in order that we shall be known of men, and the purposes which have actuated us during the session of this Convention, it is not necessary that it should be put down in black and white. If we shall be able to say anything which is worth being gathered into the storehouse of the great human heart, then, Mr. President, it will be treasured up here, and the representatives of the press, as the minority report says, will promulgate it and distribute it among the people of the State. If any are so unfortunate as to express those things which are unworthy of guiding human conduct they too will be gathered in, like the tares of old, and consumed in the fires of oblivion. We have no occasion to perpetuate them. I have no desire in the years that are to come to point to any of my fellow citizens and say you made this, and this, and this mistake in the years that are gone by. Now, Mr. Chairman, I believe that the elastic way in which our Supreme Courts have handled the constitutions, not only of the United States, but of the respective States, has enabled htem to adjust them to our progressive situation, and I am perfectly willing as the years go by, to have those august bodies review our actions, and search after our motives in the light of the experiences which then surround them, and I believe under those circumstances that they will feel less bound, and less hampered by the ties of the past, if they are left free from these printed reports. But, Mr. President, it has been said that we want a free and full discussion. There are many members on this floor who are not experienced in public debate, who would be glad to stand up here among their fellow citizens and speak out the plain and simple words which move in their hearts, but those men will feel a sense of timidity and diffidence in expressing themselves freely and frankly if their rhetoric, if the form of their expression and all that kind of thing is to be put down to be read and criticised by those who may be willing to lightly treat their course of conduct.
Now, Mr. President, under all the circumstances, the fact that we do not get this matter in the nature of a bound book, but only in the nature of a newspaper supplement; in view of the fact that it will really result in darkness to have laid upon the desk of the members of this Convention a great mass of undigested matter every morning, instead of a revelation of the truth, I think that we ought not to print it. What we want is light today. Those who live after us will receive the light they need. The Journal, which will be kept, the memorandum of those matters which will be found in the daily papers, and the Calendar which this Convention
will probably print, will furnish to us as much matter and as much refreshing of recollection as we will be able advantageously to use, and I therefore, Mr. President, believe that it will be to the interest of this State for the minority report to prevail.
MR. BROWNE--As a member of the Committee, I desire to say a few words in regard to this resolution. I desire to state for the information of the delegates that this proposition to print embraces the same idea as the proposition of the gentleman who did not secure the bid. Mr. McGauly proposes that this printing shall be done by The Advertiser and The Advertiser proposes to place in each copy that it sends out over the State, these proceedings in the shape of a supplement. Now when I was first appointed upon that Committee, I was opposed to the publication of this stenographic report and saw no necessity for it. But it occurred to me that it would be a good plan for us not only to report to out constituents, to those who sent us here, our work, but at the same time to report to them the reasons for our work, and also an explanation of it. The same argument, and the same discussion that convinces the members of this Convention and causes them to adopt or to propose a Constitution, when sent out broadcast to all of our constituents and the people of the State of Alabama, will, if we were properly convinced, in turn convince the people of the State of Alabama and will cause them to ratify the Constitution that we propose.
Those, Mr. President, are the reasons that caused me to change my mind, and to be in favor of a stenographic report when I was at first opposed to it. I do not know now that I would have favored it if it were not for the fact that by this means we get a thousand copies laid upon our desk for our own use, and at the same time we send to all of the people of Alabama every day, a full stenographic report of every thing we do, and the reasons therefor and explanation thereof.
MR. SPRAGINS--The minority report of this committee has not received at the hands of this convention the attention which I think the merit of the controversy entitles it to, and it urges me as a member of this Convention at this time to put in my oar. The members of the majority urge upon this Convention many reasons for the adoption of the majority report. It may be said, sir, with equal truth, that there are many reasons more potent in support of the minority report.
It is said that the public is entitled to a free and untrammeled inspection of what occurs before this Convention, as if the omni-present newspaper reporter had not found a local habitation and name in Montgomery. The gentleman from Jefferson on my extreme right says in protection of the married man, that if a stenographic report had been preserved of his proposal, that many of us would be sowing our wild oats. To the strangers in this Convention to the gentleman from Jefferson, that is a confession that the
gentleman is a married man, and seems to think that he and all of us are anxious to get out from under the bond and yoke that our wives have upon our collars. (Laughter.)
Mr. President, we have come here to discuss matters that will be submitted before this Convention, but I submit, sir, that we have not come here for the purpose of preserving these discussions at the expense of the State of Alabama. (Applause.) If there is any man within this Convention who desires to preserve his eloquence, I am sure that The Advertiser can furnish him with as many copies of The Advertiser as will be necessary to carry out the scheme. The only argument, sir, that the advocates for the adoption of the majority report have urged upon this floor is that in the event this Constitution is to be considered by the courts of the country, what we say in making that Constitution will be valuable to the court in getting at our intention. The Honored Chairman of the Committee, who makes the majority report, has confidence in the intelligence and the patriotism of this body. He talks much to you about relying upon the wisdom of the members of this Convention, but he tells you at the same time, sir, that we must put a clause in the Constitution and then in the record of the Convention we must say, gentlemen, what we mean by it. I have, sir, a higher respect for the wisdom and learning of the members of the Convention than has the gentleman from Montgomery. I believe, sir, that we will frame a Constitution that will be so plain that it can be understood by all men, even by the Supreme Court of the United States.
I hope, gentlemen of the convention, that you will not put the State of Alabama to this useless expense.
MR. SAMFORD--Mr. President, I hesitate and did hesitate for some time before I decided to make any remarks on a question that had been passed upon by a committee of members for whom I have such high esteem, but it occurs to me that to the observing man, one thing has been made plain to the members who form this convention, and that is that every thoughtful man in this convention is advancing towards the work that has been allotted it to do, with extreme caution, and in a very gingerly manner. It is an open secret in Alabama that a majority of the people are in favor of eliminating "the negro from politics, without interfering with the rights of any white man, and while I agree with the gentleman from Jefferson in saying that we ought to take into confidence every citizen of the State of Alabama, and every person who has any interest in this matter, I hold to the view that outside of the confines of this State, nobody has got anything to do with our business, and adverse criticism is never relished from one's enemies, and if the verbatim reports of this convention could be confined to those who are vitally interested in its work, I might favor, the passage and the adoption of the majority of this committee, notwithstanding the unnecessary expense that the State of
Alabama will be put to on account of it. Now, Mr. President, the question of expense is no small item. They speak of a thousand or two thousand, or three thousand dollars as if money grew on trees, and we had it to squander, or to expend as our caprice or whims might dictate. I will state for the information of this body, perhaps some of the members are not aware of the fact, that only a limited amount has been set apart and appropriated for the proceedings of this convention. I will also state for the benefit of others, that it is not incumbent upon us to expend every dollar that has been appropriated. Eighteen hundred dollars -- two thousand dollars, three thousand dollars, what does it avail? What does it avail? In the first place, it goes to our enemies beyond the confines of the State, perhaps furnishing sticks to crack our heads with in times of trouble that are likely to follow. And within the confines of the State it gives to some men--some men I say---there are very thoughtful men who desire to have their views recorded in bound volumes for the enlightenment of posterity, but it gives to some men in this convention, and I will say only a few men, the opportunity of airing their views before an admiring public, and that is the extent--(applause) that is the extent, Mr. President, of the benefits to be derived from a stenographic report of these proceedings. The milk in the cocoanut, the germ in the nut (smiles) all that will be necessary to guide future generations (laughter) will be gotten out of it, as my friend from Madison said, by the enterprising newspaper man, and I have been taught to believe that he gets the best of everything. (Continued laughter.)
Now, Mr. President, the lapsus lingue of the speaker is a strong argument against a stenographic report. And I trust it will not be recorded in that way.
Now, Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, I trust that this--the minority report of the committee will be adopted. In my humble opinion, while there are some reasons why the other would be good, the reasons are not sufficient to warrant the outlay of money that is necessary for it, when taken in connection with the serious objections that go along with the question of expense.
MR. HARRISON--I think, Mr. President, that a moment's reflection would satisfy my friend from Pike and other gentlemen, that he need not be uneasy about the expense of these stenographic reports. They are mistaken. To my mind, it is one of the strongest reasons why we should have our proceedings reported. There are 155 delegates in this convention. If we sit six hours a day, the cost will be over $50 for the time that it would take to read the journal in the morning. If it is printed and upon the desk of each member, we, could with safety dispense with the reading of the journal, and the saving of a half an hour alone would, in my judgment, and I believe if the delegates will make the calculation it will be found to more than pay the expense of these report-
ers. This is to say nothing, Mr. President, of the time that will be saved. I do not know whether you can take that from the class to which the gentleman who made the minority report has referred to~~those gentlemen whom he says desire to speak in a plain and simple way; or others, who may, as some others have charged, simply desire to have this means of speaking to their constituents, but I submit upon every class that it will have the effect to save time to provide these reports--time that I think the delegates themselves will see--and I appeal to you to ask yourselves the question, whatever class you belong to, if you know your remarks are to be recorded, and you read them the next morning, as I said to a friend of mine in the Senate who was going to Congress, I was glad he was going, that he would be more careful with his speeches when he got where he could read them the next morning in The Record. And, it will have that effect on the delegates. Delegates will not consume so much time of the convention, because when they desire to be heard, they will prepare themselves, and when they have finished they will take their seats, and that amount of time and expense to this convention, I believe, will treble every day when in session in actually saving money to the State of Alabama. And, if for no other reason, I would favor the report of the majority of this committee, but what is the great reason, Mr. President? To my mind, it is this: that it has become the best way of keeping the records of any and all proceedings. We do it in the courts. They do it in Congress. All of the recent conventions have done it. Why, you had just as well tell me that you may as well go back and come to the Capitol here by private conveyance and not use the railroad, as to say that we will not use the expert stenographer in this country. It actually saves money. Arrives at the truth, and saves money in doing it, and should we simply hesitate here because some gentleman, perhaps, may desire twenty years from now to change his opinion. We have not time to wait. Let the gentleman prepare, and think well before he acts. Let us, gentlemen, give not to the people of Alabama, but to the people of the United States, the reason that actuate us in anything we may do here. Let us stand by the truth. Publish it to the world, let it be whatever it may. There will be no expense incurred by this. You will find that it will be a saving to the State of Alabama. We will do another thing that is very much needed here, delegates. We have not taken the people of Alabama sufficiently into our confidence on the call and the election for this convention. The majority, and a large majority, have a hesitancy. I was proud this morning of the motion of the gentleman from Dallas, where we have said that the people shall pass upon it. If we wish the people of Alabama to pass intelligently upon it, let us keep them posted day by day. Let us take our people into our own confidence. Let us assign our reasons, and let them read them, and upon the justice of our cause, and of whatever action we may conclude, let us be men, and stand by it. It is too small for a Constitutional Convention of the State of
Alabama to be undertaking to hide or cloak anything. Let us give it to the world, that is the best way to do it, gentlemen. It is a money saving proposition, and I do hope with all due respect to my young friend who offers the minority report, that this Convention will proceed in a business-like way saving money to the State of Alabama, taking our people into our confidence, and assigning publicly to the world whatever reasons we may have for the action we shall take and I feel satisfied that they will never regret it.
MR. SANFORD--I have listened with a great deal of interest to the arguments that have been made pro and con on this proposition, but it does seem to me that if we are to take the people into our confidence, as the gentleman from Pike says we are to do, how can we take them into, our confidence when they do not know a thing of what we wish, or a single word that we utter. We should remember that we stand here in the presence of eighteen hundred thousand people that are outside of these walls. In the absence of being able to hear they are equally solicitous as to what they shall read. The reading takes the place of an audience--
MR. SAMFORD~~Will the gentleman from Montgomery permit me to ask him a question.
MR. SAMFORD~~How many of these eighteen hundred thousand read the Advertiser?
MR. SANFORD--It is not for The Advertiser alone,--
It will be taken all over the country. The Advertiser will be extracted. Every man who utters a wise sentiment will be quoted. It is a matter of enlightenment to the people. Look at Madison's papers, how valuable have they been in understanding correctly the Federal Constitution. Not national. That very word was stricken out of the proceedings of the Federal Convention of 1787, no less than twenty-six times. It is Federal. Some gentleman speaks of it as national but it is not a nation. That word was expunged from the proceedings--
MR. MALONE--Will the gentleman permit me to ask a question.
MR. MALONE--What is it good for? how many will read it?
MR. SANFORD--It will be known all over Alabama, and I do not see if my eighteen hundred thousand people are standing out here, why you should talk so softly that only one hundred and fifty-five should hear it. (Applause.) They wish to hear everything and in the absence of hearing, give them the right to read and comprehend it. You speak of expense. Why, my country-
men, no money was ever expended more wisely than that which enlightens the people, and which secures their liberties.
The very arguments made here will instruct them as to why they should either reject or ratify the Constitution and that is the reason why these reports are made everywhere. It is for the enlightenment of the people, and therefore I say that there is no better mode of doing it than the recommendation made by the Committee by the report of the majority of the Committee on this question. He says if it is confined to the State of Alabama he would have no objection to it. What objection has he to the fact that Georgia and Mississippi and Tennessee and Florida may know what we are doing. If we can benefit Alabama, why not let our wisdom, if we are wise, benefit all the other States surrounding us. I see no reason to confine it to Alabama. I see no reason for confining your argument to this hall. It presents every argument in the very words, and the logical sequence in which it was uttered, infinitely better than a mere hap-hazzard report. Therefore I say that this majority report should be adopted.
MR. MALONE--I just want to ask one question. Who will it practically benefit? Who will it practically save expense--to us or to the newspapers?
MR. SANFORD--It will benefit the people.
MR. MALONE--Who will it save expense, to us or to the people?
MR. SANFORD--I do not hear the question.
MR. BROWNE--I would like to answer the question~~
MR. SANFORD--It is not saving expense; it is paying expense. The State does that. It does not merely benefit the newspapers, it benefits the people.
MR. MALONE--You misunderstood the question. I want to know who gets the benefit of it?
MR. SANFORD--The people get the benefit of it. It is intended for their benefit. It is intended to give them the arguments why they should adopt or reject this constitution, their organic law. It is for their benefit. And what is the expense for two million people? Eighteen hundred dollars, two thousand dollars, how much per man is it? A cigar or a glass of beer and they understand everything connected with the proceedings of this great convention, engaged in making the organic law of our State. I therefore hope gentlemen, that you will adopt the report of the majority. The expense is trifling; the benefit is infinite to the people and for these reasons I hope that you will sustain the report.
MR. GREER--I regret exceedingly to be compelled to dissent from the views of the distinguished and eminent gentleman
who has preceeded me in support of the report of the majority of the committee, but, sir, the divine word of God says to us "be ye doers." The people of Alabama today are not so much interested in what we say in this convention; it is what we do, and the journal read there shows what is done here. That is what the people of Alabama, I say are interested in, and not what we say. I am compelled to repeat what has been said on the floor of the convention, that the orators of this convention alone will be benefited by the adoption of the majority report; we have not come here to make speeches but to do the will of the people who have sent us here. They might appear somewhat to disadvantage, if that report were adopted. It is not to be assumed, Mr. President, and we do not admit that the constitution framed by this convention will ever go to the Supreme Court. I believe that the wisdom and judgment of this convention will so frame a constitution that all will be satisfied that it will be within the scope and will not be in violation of the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments of the Constitution of the United States. I do not believe, I cannot believe that the discussion on the floor of this convention would shed any light upon what is done here, and should the question not be raised in the Supreme Court, and should it be raised in the Congressional halls in an effort to cut down our representation, the very gentlemen who are so anxious to have their remarks published would like very much to have them erased. In view of those facts, Mr. President, I call for the question.
MR. HEFLIN--Mr. President, I desire to say a word or two. It appears to me, Mr. President, that it is out of order entirely for this Convention to have this stenographic report, because the newspapers,--it is their business to get up this news, and they do it, and they are to be congratulated on giving to the people of Alabama whatever has occurred here. It is the duty of the Secretary of this Convention to keep the Journal of the proceedings of this Convention, and it occurs to me that this is a useless expense to have a stenographic report, and also to have a Secretary and an Assistant Secretary for this Convention. The newspapers, day by day, will give the proceedings of this Convention. The Secretary will keep the journal of this Convention, and that is all, it occurs to me, that is necessary. Besides that--
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale)--Mr. President, my information is that The Advertiser published the stenographic reports as a matter of courtesy to these reporters. Now does the gentleman undertake to state if this majority report is defeated that The Advertiser will continue to furnish stenographic reports of the proceedings of this Convention.
MR. HEFLIN--No sir, I do not, Mr. President, and the gentleman misunderstood me.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale)--My information from The Advertiser and the other papers is that stenographic reports will not be published unless there is a reporter employed.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) -- I simply desire to say, Mr. President, in reply to that, that we do not expect The Advertiser and these daily papers to give out to the people of Alabama stenographic reports at their own expense. We do not ask them to do it. But, Mr. President and gentlemen of this Convention, it has been my experience with these papers in the Legislature of Alabama, that you see on the following day all that occurred yesterday in the General Assembly. They owe it to the men who patronize their paper. Mr. President, and they delight in doing it--
MR. WEATHERLY--I will ask you if the ordinary newspaper report would be considered as an official account of the proceedings of this Convention? As I understand it, this will secure an official and permanent official report that will be a part of the archives of the State. Now I ask you whether or not that will be done by a mere newspaper report?
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers)--I reply that I do not consider that it will be, nor do I think it is necessary that it should be.
MR. DENT--I would like to ask the speaker a question.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers)--Yes sir.
MR. DENT--I believe you were a member of the Legislature?
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers)--No, sir, I was not.
MR. DENT--Well, whether you were or not, is it not a fact that there was a great deal of confusion and uncertainty about the records of the Legislature, and a great many charges of irregularities.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers)--Yes, sir, that is my information.
MR. DENT--And it would have been avoided if there had been a stenographic report of the proceedings.
MR. HEFLIN--That is my information, Mr. President; that there was some talk about irregularities in the last General Assembly, but when I was here in '96-7-8-9, we did not have any of those irregularities. (Laughter). I am now undertaking, Mr. President, to keep them from getting into irregularities and making mistakes. Mr. President, we would appreciate, morning after morning, reading the well-rounded periods of the eloquent gentlemen who will speak time after time, upon the grave questions of this convention, but when you go, as one gentleman preceding me has already said, into the purse of the people and take out two thousand, twenty-five hundred dollars to preserve our speeches here, day after day, we are going to step too far, and must not
make that step. Another strong point to my mind has been suggested by the gentleman from Walker. There will be things done and said in this convention that we do not want the Northern papers to have. There will be, Mr. President, when the battle comes between the Anglo-Saxon and the African, things said here that we do not want to go before the court of the United States in determining the plank in our constitution of the suffrage question. We will say things down here in our Southern way, and in the great old commonwealth of Alabama, that we do not want read and criticised day after day as we deliberate in this body. Mr. President, having here a secretary to keep a journal, having here newspapers who take a delight in giving the news and information from this convention to their people over the State, and having a desire to save this expense to the State of Alabama, I certainly hope that the minority report will prevail.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--Mr. President,
in reply to the remark of the gentleman as to what the Northern
papers would say about us, I desire only to say that I do not
know of any section of this nation that is as much in need of
enlightenment from a Southern standpoint as our Northern friends,
(applause), and I,
therefore, at this time demand the previous question.
MR. OATES--Mr. President, I would ask my friend from Talladega--
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--I withdraw it in behalf of the chairman of the committee to close his remarks.
MR. ESPY--I am in favor of the adoption of the majority report. There have been about four reasons assigned why it should not be adopted. The first, by the gentleman from Walker, who says that no other convention has ever done a similar thing. Another is that these eloquent gentlemen say, indirectly charge that the purpose of it is to perpetuate the eloquence of certain members of this convention. Another is that there is a probability that the members of this convention, during its deliberations, will say something that in the future will rise up before them as a ghost and which they cannot see. The other is a matter of expense. These are the only objections that I have yet heard.
In answer to the first, that no other convention has ever done likewise: Why if that is an objection at all, then the Legislature of Alabama has done a very poor thing in calling this convention and putting this great State to the expense of holding this convention, if we are to be limited, and are to do nothing more than our ancestors did in this hall in 1875. If that be true, why, then, we would not be authorized to deal with the suffrage question. If we are not authorized here, and it is not proper to have a stenographic report made of the proceedings of this body, then the
argument would apply with equal force, that in 1875 and these prior constitutions the question of suffrage was not discussed at all. What are we here for, Mr. President? Why it has been proclaimed by the press, from the platform, from the mountains to the seaboard, that the prime purpose of this convention was to disfranchise the negro. If it is morally wrong, and it is not for the best interest of the State of Alabama to do that then we ought not to do it. If it is morally right, and it is to the benefit of the people of the State of Alabama, we ought to do it, and we ought to make a record of our actions, and file it in the archives of our State, so that future generations will not only see what we did, but they may know the reasons why we did it. Talk about fear! Why, never did I dream that the great State of Alabama one that has produced a Wheeler, and a Hobson, would produce a convention of men that did not have the nerve and the manhood and the bravery to stand up and proclaim to the world the reasons why they did a particular thing. Now the next reason is with reference to the perpetuation of eloquence. This is a most remarkable thing. Doubtless it has already occurred to the members of this convention that nobody raises that point, except the eloquent men. Nobody at all. There is the sweet singer from Chambers, the last; there is the eloquent gentleman from Pike--I do not know, but perhaps I would be pardoned if I would call him the lapsus-linguist of this convention--he is the next man; the next man is the good looking and sweet toned speaker from Madison, and I ask this convention and I ask this Chair, where is there a single man that is opposed to this report except those who lay claim to oratory.
MR. LONG (Walker.)--May I ask a question?
MR. ESPY--Why my friend you are the most eloquent man in this hall; don't deny it.
THE PRESIDENT -- Will the gentleman consent for the gentleman from Walker to ask a question?
MR. LONG (Walker)--I want to know if we had not better adopt the plan of Congress and let speeches be published and not spoken on the floor?
MR. ESPY--Perhaps we had better do it. Indirectly Mr. President they charge that the purpose of those who advocate the majority report to be to perpetuate their eloquence, when it is a well known fact that eloquence is not handed down from generation to generation. Why the men who live after us a quarter of a century, will never know of the eloquence that comes from these eloquent gentlemen in this hall during this convention. That is not it. Would they pardon me if I would mildly suggest to them, it is not because they do not want the eloquence perpetuated, but is it not because they do not want to see their utterances without the eloquence, placed in cold type, and read fifty years from to-
day? Now these are the reasons--all except that matter of expense. I do not care to discuss that, because the expense is so nominal in this matter until I do not think there is a member of this house that could and would possibly give that serious consideration. I therefore hope Mr. President, that the majority report will be adopted.
MR. OATES--Mr. President, being in charge of the bill, I have not insisted upon action earlier, so as to allow all gentlemen who so desired to express their views upon this subject a fair opportunity. Some gentlemen seem to be very much afraid of a stenographic report. Now my friends from Walker, from Madison, and from Pike, all aspiring and able young men, who doubtless expect ere long to turn up in Congress, and I would be glad to see them there and I would say they better get used to being stenographically reported before they go there, for everything they say will be reported and reported in full. Now, sir, some mistakes have been made in regard to these publications. Some gentlemen alludes to the fact that we get in The Advertiser every day full reports. Why, sir, that is a sort of test to show people, the members, delegates and others, what may be done. These stenographers who are desirous of obtaining the position of official stenographer have been making reports and The Advertiser has been publishing them, but, sir, that cannot continue, and that newspaper, nor any other can afford to pay for the stenographic reports, fifty, sixty or seventy dollars a day, and keep it up. They cannot do it. So that the reports that we get from the newspapers would be the ordinary reports that we find in the newspapers of proceedings, not stenographic reports. Now, sir, the stenographic report some suppose would not be near so bulky. We would like to have them some in book form, like The Congressional Record, but that cannot be done because there is not a printing establishment in Montgomery that can do that work day by day. The information your Committee received from the stenographers, who were familiar with the printing, is that we must take it in newspaper forth at last, and both sets of bidders for this work report to us that The Advertiser is the only newspaper that has sufficiently large facilities for doing this work every night so as to have it next morning. So that both bidders - both sets of them, are dependent upon that newspaper for the printing, and I have no doubt but it can be done. Not as the gentleman see from the report as a newspaper, but with the heading recommended by the Committee, an official report of the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of Alabama, to be printed in The Advertiser office, but with that heading, and when they are brought in here, they will be apportioned to all members and they can send them to newspapers, and prominent men among their constituents, and it will give them a large circulation and readers desirous of knowing what we are doing will get hold of them and read them, and doubtless feel a deep interest in what is done.
MR. LONG (Walker) -- I desire to ask a question. Do you think it would be advisable to start a Convention Record, something like The Congressional Record, so that it would be cheaper to print speeches, and circulate them among the people?
MR. OATES -- It would not, and there is no such printing establishment in Montgomery. Mr. President, I think the Convention and every member of it is fully in possession of the reasons given in favor of this report, and the objections that have been urged, and I cannot see that in the latter there is anything very substantial. There must be a beginning to all work of this character. Now, in this State, while we have no law requiring courts to have stenographic reports, yet stenographers are employed in a great many of them. Many States have a law on the subject, that provides for stenographers for the Courts, and it is found to facilitate the business very largely, and make it much cheaper than the old style of doing it, puts an end to controversies between lawyers and Courts with reference to the bills of exceptions and things of the kind. My friend from Lee has stated very clearly how this moderate expenditure will be very wise and a source of economy to this Convention. Now, sir, as I do not desire to prolong the time and believing that the Convention is ready for a vote, I move the previous question.
THE PRESIDENT -- The question is whether the main question shall be put. (Carried.)
THE PRESIDENT -- The question recurs on the motion of the gentleman from Lauderdale to substitute the minority report for the majority report, and the ayes and noes have been called for.
MR. BROOKS -- I would like to have the chair state what proposition we are voting on. Probably it is misunderstood by some of the members of the Convention. Are we voting on the question of substituting the minority report for the majority report?
The President re-stated the question.
The roll was called.
MR. BURNS -- I would like to explain my vote. I vote not to expend the people's money unless I think it is necessary.
MR. GREER -- I desire to change my vote from aye to no, for the purpose at the proper time of moving to reconsider this vote.
The vote resulted 60 yeas, 80 nays.
So the motion to substitute the minority report was lost.
THE PRESIDENT -- The question recurs on the adoption of the original resolution as reported by the gentleman from Montgomery.
MR. BROWNE--I move to reconsider the vote by which the motion to substitute the minority report was lost, and I now move to table that motion. (Seconded.)
MR. GREER--I rise to a point of order, as I have given notice that I would move a reconsideration--
MR. LONG (Walker)--After the announcement of the vote, the gentleman from Talladega moves to lay the motion on the table and it comes too late.
MR. BROWNE--There is nothing in the point of order because he cannot give notice before the vote is announced.
MR. SOLLIE--We are acting under general parliamentary rules and a motion to reconsider under general parliamentary law is in order at all times, as I read the books on the subject, without previous notice.
MR. JONES--I think it is in order to lay that motion on the table at any time when it is made and therefore the gentleman from Talladega is in order.
The President overruled the point of order.
THE PRESIDENT--The question is on the motion of the gentleman from Talladega; those in favor of laying the motion to reconsider on the table say aye: those opposed no--
A division was called for.
MR. WHITE--It is too late to call for an aye and nay vote, because a division has already been called for.
MR. LOMAX--State the question, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT--The gentleman from Talladega moved to reconsider the vote whereby the Convention refused to substitute the minority report for the majority report, and thereupon he moved to lay that motion on the table. Those voting aye vote in favor of the motion to table; those voting no, vote in favor of not laying it on the table.
The vote resulted 75 ayes, 48 noes.
So the motion to table was carried.
THE PRESIDENT--The question recurs on the adoption of the majority report of the committee.
MR. LONG of Walker--Mr. President, I have a substitute to offer for the majority report.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale)--I hope that the distinguished chairman of the committee won't object to that until it is read; if he does, I will withdraw it.
The resolution was read as follows: "Resolved, That five thousand dollars be, and is hereby, appropriated to purchase a printing press and to issue a daily pamphlet to be known as The Daily Conventional Reporter, and each member be, and he is hereby authorized to print one speech each day, whether or not the same was written by himself or delivered before the convention, the same as now practiced by the Congress of the United States.
THE PRESIDENT--The motion is out of order. The question is on the adoption of the majority report of the committee.
A vote being taken, a division was called for.
MR. JENKINS--I make the point of order, the decision of the chair was announced, and the division comes too late.
MR. LONG (Walker)--I make the point of order that the decision was not announced.
The chair ruled that the decision was not announced.
MR. BROWNE--I make the point of order that you cannot call for the aye and nay vote, after you call for the division. It is too late to call for the ayes and nays after the vote has been taken and a call for division--
THE PRESIDENT--It seems to the chair that the point of order is well taken.
MR. LONG (Walker)--What was the point of order made by the gentleman?
MR. BROWNE--The point of order is that a vote has been taken and then there was a call for division; on the call for division after a vote has been taken, it is too late to call for the yeas and nays.
THE PRESIDENT--The vote had been taken. The ruling of the chair will be that when the chair submitted the question to the convention, it was in order for the gentleman from Walker to call for the yea and nay vote, but not doing so, he waived his right to do so. The call for division was in time. Do you still insist on the division.
MR. LONG (Walker)--It depends on what kind of division it is; there is long division and short division (laughter).
The question was put and carried.
MR. EYSTER of Morgan--I offer a resolution.
The resolution provided for a test as to the competency of the various corps of stenographers by transcribing and reading their notes on the floor of the convention.
MR. SAMFORD--Mr. President, It strikes me that comes too late.
MR. WATTS--I rise to a point of order. We have awarded the work by the adoption of the majority report--
MR. SAMFORD--I rise to a point of order; that the adoption of the report as I understood it made a trade with the reported. The contract has already been made.
MR. WATTS--I rise to a point of order--
The point is sustained.
MR. PETTUS--I move the resolution go to the Committee on Rules without debate.
MR. CUNNINGHAM--I make this point of order; that the resolution offered by the gentleman from Morgan is tantamount to a reconsideration, which motion has been made and laid on the table.
THE PRESIDENT--The Chair will state for the information of the gentleman from Jefferson that the same point of order has been made by the gentleman from Montgomery and sustained by the Chair.
MR. LONG (Butler)--I move that we do now adjourn.
MR. MERRILL--I ask that he withdraw the motion; I desire to ask leave of absence for next Monday.
THE PRESIDENT--Does the gentleman consent to withdraw?
MR. LONG (Butler)--Yes.
Leave was granted Mr. Merrill of Barbour for Monday next.
MR. LONG (Butler.)--I renew my motion.
THE PRESIDENT--Before putting the motion to adjourn, the chair is requested to make the following announcement. It is mutually agreed that the caucus of the Democratic party which was to meet at 4 o'clock this evening to dispose of the case of Mr.Williams of Elmore, shall be continued until Monday afternoon next, 4 o'clock. Signed Gregory L. Smith; William C. Fitts.
MR. OATES--Before the motion is put to adjourn I wish to make a remark if it is pertinent to the offer which was made to test the skill of these stenographers. I am aware there is nothing before the convention to which my remarks apply, but the gentleman's proposition was tantamount to a motion to reconsider, but any motion to test the skill of the stenographers may be made
not in conflict with what has been done, if they wish to test it, but not to annul the resolution for a contract.
THE PRESIDENT--The question is now on a motion from the gentleman from Butler, that this convention do now adjourn until Monday at 12 o'clock.
The motion to adjourn was carried and the convention adjourned.