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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

FIFTY ‑ SECOND DAY

MONTGOMERY, ALA.,

Tuesday, July 23, 1901.

The Convention met pursuant to adjournment, was called to order by the President, and opened with prayer by Rev. Dr. A. L. Andrews, as follows:

“O, Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth. How worthy Thou art of the praise and worship of all of Thy creatures. Our Father we would this morning praise Thee, and worship Thee from the very depths of our hearts, ascribing


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to Thee the thanksgiving which wells up from our hearts for Thy mercies and for all of Thy kindness. We thank Thee for a night’s refreshing sleep. We thank Thee that we are again in our places of duty, face to face with the responsibilities of a new day, and we pause upon the threshold this morning, our father, to ask Thy presence with us, and Thy blessing upon us. Give this convention Thy richest blessing. Bless the presiding officer, and hells him in the delicate, difficult and responsible work that devolves upon him. Help him, that he may have the sympathy and help of every delegate in this hall; and O, Lord,  may this day's proceedings be characterized by a spirit of fraternal love upon the part of each man; and, O, Lord, may the work that is done be not only acceptable unto Thee, but be serviceable to the people who are here represented; and grant, our gracious Father, that in the difficult work that this convention shall undertake this morning, they may have special direction from On High. O, Lord, plans men may devise, but God alone can give us the solution of that difficult question upon which this collection is to enter, and we look to Thee, O, Father, praying that Thou will guide Thy servants. Oh, help them, that they may enter soberly upon the task that lies before them, and pity the man who enters lightly upon the task that is now to be taken up; but O, Lord, may each one, realizing the responsible work that rests upon him, realizing the  importance of his vote, and of his influence, and of his stand, may each one, thus looking unto Thee, do faithfully as his, conscience shall dictate, the work that is given him to do. O Lord, we pray that Thou will bless our entire people; bless their of every type; bless them of every nationality; and, O Lord, God, our Father, may prosperity smile upon our people and may success attend them in all of their work. We pray Thee that Thou will rule the elements, that the temporal interests of our people may prosper, that the fields of our rich and growing State may bring  forth an abundant harvest, and that this may be an era of prosperity to our entire section. We pray Thee to bless our land and country. Bless Thy people everywhere. Relieve the distressed; be kind to the poor, and may the Lord graciously hold in His keeping every soul that calls upon Him for help. Again we pray Thee to bless this Convention ; guide them in their deliberations today ; bless them in their work, and grant, our Father. that each of us may do faithfully the work that is assigned us to do, and during, all the days that lie out before us in life, and when we can serve Thee no longer here, grant that we all may die in the faith of the Christian's hope, and may an abundant entrance be accorded us in the everlasting home of the good, in the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, and in that better land we will praise Thee forever, through Christ, our Lord and Redeemer, Amen.

Upon the call of the roll 101 delegates responded to their names.


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Indefinite leave of absence was granted to Mr. Greer of Calhoun.

MR. PETTUS-I desire to call attention to an error in the stenographic report, on the third page, bottom of fifth column: “PRESIDENT PRO TEM ‑ The question is upon the adoption of the section." The question was upon tabling of the section, and the chair so stated.  The correction should be made.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Secretary will call be made.

The report of the Committee on journal was as follows: The Committee on the Journal beg leave to report they have examined the journal for the fifty ‑ first day of the Convention, and the same is correct."

The report of the Committee on the Journal was adopted.

MR. LOMAX ‑ I rise to a question of personal privilege. On yesterday afternoon I was compelled to be in court, and I requested the gentleman from Lauderdale to pair me on the adoption of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Randolph to a certain section of the Legislative Department, in reference to internal improvements.  Inadvertently the member omitted to do it.  If I had been here I should have voted for that amendment, and as to be paired in that way.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Secretary will call the roll of delegates.

MR. SMITH (Mobile)-There is a motion for re ‑ consideration pending.

MR. PRESIDENT ‑ There was a motion to re-consider the vote whereby this convention adopted Section 59. There was notice given with reference to another section, but the motion was not formally entered.

MR. BROOKS- I desire to say that I do not care to press the motion to re-consider.

THE PRESIDENT- The Secretary question will be upon them motion to re ‑ consider Section 59.

MR. GRANT ‑ I don't really know-----

THE PRESIDENT- The gentleman from Mobile has the floor.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ Section 59 provides, in the first place, that no obligation or liability of any person, association or corporation held or owned by this State, or by any county or other municipality thereof, shall ever be remitted, released or postponed or in any way diminished by the Legislature." That is a provision,


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it seems to me, unsafe. "Nor shall such liability or obligation be exchanged or transferred except by payment thereof into the proper treasury." There may be, and frequently is, the enforcement of liability through the courts, and in their enforcement through the courts, property is sold and money of the debtor realized upon the judgment; that under our law is, and should lie, an extinguishment of the liability; but under this provision, it would not, until the officer collecting that money, paid it into the proper treasury, making the debtor to the State, county or city, responsible for the official acts of the Sheriff or clerk of the court, into whose hands the money that was realized had been paid. It is practically the same provision that insurance companies undertake to make in regard to their premiums. That is, they authorize an officer to collect the money, but make the assured responsible for the faithful performance of his duties to the company in paying it into the treasury. I have no idea that was the purpose of the committee, but it seems to me to be plainly the operation of that portion of the section, and I think therefore it should be stricken out. As to the provision: "Nor shall such liability or obligation be exchanged or transferred except upon payment of its face value." I have not been able to call to mind the evil that is sought to be redressed. I do not quite understand that provision. It may have some operation, or some force; there may be some evil that it seeks to reach, but I cannot call it to mind, and therefore I include that in the motion. Then it is provided that "this section shall not prohibit the Legislature from providing by general law for the compromise of doubtful claims." It seems to me that the word "doubtful" ought to be stricken out. There is in the administration of governmental affairs frequently a policy or reason for adjusting controversies with its citizens, that is not dependent entirely upon the doubtful character of the claim. There be matter of public policy. Now I do recall one instance in which I personally am interested, but not interested upon the side for which I am now making the motion, because really it is an effort being made to compromise what I do not consider a doubtful claim, or the effort to compromise come up when the claim will not be doubtful. and that it would not be to my interest for them to be able to compromise, but greatly to the interest of the city. It is a matter of this character, and there may be other cities in the same position, where the city of Mobile claims to own certain waterfront and there are adverse claims by the citizens.

If the city established that claim, it would have on its hands a large amount of waterfront that it would not have money to improve. The improvement of that water front would be beneficial to commerce, and the business of the place, yet the claim would not be doubtful: If the city could settle that claim with the individuals the individual could improve it and enhance its value to the commerce of the place, and create a large class of paying proper‑


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ty.   There would be no question as to the claim itself.  It would not be a doubtful claim, but it would be one where it would be both to the interest of the city and the citizens, that an adjustment of some sort should be made.   I merely call attention to that not that I am interested in this particular section because of that matter but it is only one instance of many that might that exist where a municipality should adjust a controversy which does not depend entirely on whether the claim is of a doubtful character.  I think the word “doubtful” ought to be stricken out, and I ask the reconsideration of this section for the purpose of introducing amendment such as I have suggested. I will say to members of the Convention that it was not a matter of oversight, of carelessness on my part in not amending the section when it was presented. I was on my feet just before it was read, and stood there until it was passed, but did not catch the eye of the Chair, and the Chair submitted the question, and a vote on the section was taken.

MR. GRANT- Mr. Chairman, that is what I tried to get the floor for the other day when this section was under consideration. My young friend from Limestone thought I was after another article. Now, this is what I wanted. I want to raise the same objection that the gentleman from Mobile has to the proposition. In cases like this you cannot provide by a general law for various cases  that arise under a  proposition of the gentleman from Mobile, to, reconsider this section.

MR. OATES-Mr. President, the purpose of the committee in  reporting this section is plain, the phraseology may be a little doubtful. It is perfectly plain what is meant by the language: "No obligation or liability of any person, association or a corporation, held or owned by this State, or by any county, or other municipality thereof, shall ever be remitted, released or postponed or in any way diminished by the legislature." That is, a clear proposition. "Nor shall such liability or obligation lie extinguished except by payment therefore into the proper treasury." There is probably no necessity for those words "into the proper treasury." "Payment thereof" would meet the wishes of the committee and the purposes of the gentleman. I do not know but that in the event of the Legislature, in legislating on it, might suppose that it so directed them that they would have to provide there would be no release until the money ‑ was paid into the treasury. "Nor shall such liability or obligation be exchanged or transferred except upon payment of  its face value." Of course that is to prevent any officer from trafficing in claims in favor of the State, and in favor of munipalities. etc.  "Provided, that this section shall not prevent the legislature from providing by general law for the compromise of doubtful claims." Now mark you, that is a limitation upon the prohibition that nothing herein shall prevent or restrict the Legislature from providing by law for the compromise of doubtful


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claims. Now, it may be doubtful in the sense that it may not be considered entirely just or due, or it may be in the sense that it is doubtful of collection, but does not restrict the Legislature that it cannot enact proper legislation, and effectuate the clear intention to be gathered from the language of this section? I think not.

MR. GRANT ‑ May I ask the gentleman a question?

THE PRESIDENT ‑ Does the gentleman yield to the gentleman from Calhoun?

MR. OATS ‑ Yes, sir.

MR. GRANT ‑ Do you think in that sort of a case that you can enact a general law that will apply to all cases that will rise in the various counties?

MR. OATS ‑ There is a law now in regard to such things. I don't remember the extent to which it goes, which authorizes the Governor and some of the State officers to compromise.

MR. GRANT ‑ But I am talking about the counties.

MR. OATS ‑ I have no doubt it is just as easy to embrace in that general law the power to compromise as to counties as well as to the State, and I do not think there is any difficulty about that.

In the use of the language "compromise of doubtful claims," evidently the purpose of the Committee was in not striking out "doubtful," and saying for the compromise of claims, not to allow the persons charged with the compromise, too much latitude. We all know, gentleman, that one who is liable to the State or county or municipality, is generally very persistent and persuades those who have power to compromise to yield to them, to make compromises quite favorable to them, through sympathy. Now if you strike out doubtful and leave it for the compromise of claims that destroys in effect the preceding portion of the section so as to say in substance that the Legislature may have power to authorize the compromise of claims of the county or municipality, to compromise all claims authorized to be compromised. It seems there would be no limit whatever. That word was used, no doubt by the Committee, to indicate the class or kind of claims which might be compromised, and much less taken for them, than is demanded or supposed to be due. Now, I do not see that there is anything in this section which may be feared as going to the extent or anything like it indicated by the delegate from Mobile. There might be possibly in this fourth line where the language used is, "except by payment thereof into the proper treasury," such a difficulty, I can conceive of a case where an execution might be in the hands of the sheriff, if he should collect the money on that and not pay it into the treasury, embezzle it, how can you know whether the


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debt had been paid, but under the subsequent provision, gathering the spirit of it. from the whole language. I do not think there would be any, difficulty even in that case in adjusting it. It is only my duty in this connection to represent the committee and to present their views. I have done that probably in  not such an elaborate manner as it might be done. Having discharged that duty, it is with the convention whether they consider and amend it or not. I am satisfied with it, myself.

THE PRESIDENT-The question upon the motion of the gentleman from Mobile to reconsider the vote whereby this Convention adopted Section 59. Is the Convention ready for the question?

On a vote being taken, there were 54 ayes and 19 noes, and the motion to reconsider was adopted on division.

MR. COBB ‑ I would like to ask the gentleman from Mobile a question if he pleases.  If you strike out  the word doubtful, what remains of that section ?

MR. SMITH-The power of the Legislature to define what class of claims can be compromised without limitation.

MR. COBB-Does it not utterly destroy the inhibition attempted to be placed by this section upon the power of the Legislature, to dispose of claims due the State?

MR. SMITH ‑ I Think not, I do not think the power of the Legislature to dispose of anything has anything to do with the power to authorize municipal authorities to dispose of it.

The Secretary proceeded, for the introduction of ordinances, resolutions. etc.. to call the roll.

MR. GRAHAM (Talladega) ‑ I have two petitions, one of which is very short, and I ask permission to have the body of the petition read.

The Secretary read the petition as follows:

To the Honorable Constitutional Convention, sitting at Montgomery, Alabama:

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.


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We therefore request that your honorable body will give us a commission elected by the people and place all franchises, which have power to tax, within their review.

Wellington Vandiver, C. W. Vandiver,  J. W. Hubbard, P. J. Williams, J. B. Woodward, R. H. Woodward. T. D. Boynton, R. Thomas, B. Anderson, T. B. Best, McAlpine & Son, R. L. Sanger, J. H. Samuel, T. R. Williams, S.D. Kyser,  J.  A.Woodward, John Smith, A. T. Smith, J. W. Treadwell, S. D. Treadwell, W. A. Speer, E. O. Hobbs, R. H. McMullen, L. W. Chardy, S. A. Austin, Otis Cook, J. R. Pullen, B. W. Linden, J. S. McMillan. M. Jackson, R. J. Cunningham, P. L. Howard. J. W. Cowen, E. M. Burr, J. F. Wanorck, J. T. Adams, Jr., J. W. Hurt, W. F. Handley, W. M. Graham, W. R. Thompson, R. B. Baxter, Geo. P. Kyser, R. T. Hicks, H. M. Burt. J. W. Bowman, C. S. Weaver. J. M. Long, George M. Thornton, O. R. Grey, A. O. Riser, G. T. McEldery, H. L. Sims, W.B. Castleberrv, James H. Harden, Ullman Bros., Z. Katzenstein, L. L. Williams, J. A. Edwins,  E. R. Hurston, News Reporter, Talladega Mercantile Co., by W. L. Miller. General Manager; Talladega Hosiery Mills, W. T. Billue, W. E. Dickinson, B. B. Simms, W. M. Franks, M. G. McCargo, J. T. Elliott, John C. Williams, C. C. Whilson, J. A. Powers & Co., D. P. McDiarmid, George W. Chambers, J. D. Davis.

To the Honorable Constitution Convention, sitting at Montgomery, Alabama:

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 us a commission elected by the people and place all franchises, which have power to tax, within their review.

Fanghender & Sharpe, J. B. Robertson, J. T. Barnes, W. C. McMillan, T. H. White, H. H. Kyser, James M. Thornton, Jr., Gohlherz & Lewis, N. Lewis, A. W. Anchors, John M. Jones, J. G. Fowler, J. T. Adams, J. H. Conway, D. R. Van Pelt, W. R. McCary, S. H. Henderson, J. W. Whatley, E. P. Haynes & Co., C. W. Lokey, F. H. Manning, J. P. Klein. P. A. Stamps, W. R. Bishop, E. H. Dryer, S. R. Wheeler, W. Taylor, George Banorlin, J. A. Banorlin, R. L. Barnett, R. W. Henderson, G. A. Mattison, W. H. Moody, W. H. Dillon, S. Witkarskt, Goldstein Bros., R. Heine, W. J. Hubbard. NN'. B. Hubbard, P. B. Bowie, J. D. Lewis, J. W.


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Kind, W.R. Golden, H. L. McElderry, A. E. Bartlett, Rowland & Co., Talladega Fertilizer Co., W. H. Boynton, Highland City Mills, J. H. Hicks, H. Stark Bon.

The resolutions were referred to the Committee on Corporations. Mr. Heflin (Randolph) introduced the following resolution:

Resolution No. 266, by Mr. Heflin of Randolph:

Resolved, that Capt. John F. Burns, who is the quartermaster of the State Cavalry, and who has served the State faithfully for years without pay, be granted leave of absence for a few days during the encampment that he may perform the duties of his position.

MR. HEFLIN ‑ I  move that the rules be suspended and the resolution be placed upon its immediate passage.

A vote being taken, the rules were suspended, and on a further vote being taken, the resolution was adopted.

Leave of absence was granted to Mr. Bulger for today.

Mr. Lowe (Jefferson) introduced the following ordinance:

Be it ordained by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled:

Section 1. Every male citizen of the United States, and every male citizen of foreign birth who may have legally declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States before he offers to vote, who is not under 21 years of age, possessing the following qualifications, shall be an elector, and shall be entitled to vote at any election by the people except as hereinafter provided.

First- He shall have resided in the State at least two years, in the county one year and in the precinct or ward three months immediately preceding the election at which he offers to vote; provided, that any elector who within three months next preceding the date of election at which he offers to vote, has removed from one precinct or ward in the same county shall have the right to vote in the precinct or ward from which he has so removed, if he would have been entitled to vote in such precinct or ward but for such removal; and provided also, that no soldier, sailor or marine in the military or naval service of the United States shall acquire a residence by being stationed in this State.

Second ‑ He shall have made a contribution to the public schools of $3, by all electors under 45 years of age, and $1.50 by all electors over 45 years of age, by, paying that amount to the Tax Collector of the county during the months of January, February or March of each year subsequent to the last general election and preceding the year in which the election is held at which he shall


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offer to vote. The contribution herein provided for shall be called "the school contribution," and the amount received therefrom, less the commission allowed by law to the collector, shall be applied to the public schools of the State; provided, however, that the General Assembly may by law provide that the school contribution made by the residents of the several precincts may lie used for the support of and maintenance of the public schools in such precincts. It shall be the duty of the Tax Collector of the county to issue to each person who shall make the school contribution a receipt showing correctly the date of payment, the name of the said person and the precinct and county of his residence, and immediately upon said payment being trade, the Tax Collector shall enter the name of the person contributing in a well ‑ bound book to be kept for the purpose, or allow such person to write his own name in said book, which shall be ruled and marked to show the date of payment of the school contribution, age, color and precinct of resilience of the persons who make the same. And on or before the 15th day of April of each year the Tax Collector shall certify under oath and file in the office of the Judge of Probate of his country an accurate list of all persons who during the next preceding month of January, February and March have made the school contribution, and the Judge of Probate shall within ten days from its filing cause said list to be recorded in a well ‑ bound look to be kept for the purpose and designated Registration of Electors. The list as certified by the Tax Collector and as recorded in the probate office shall designate the name, age, color and precinct of resilience of the persons whose names appear thereon. The Judge of Probate shall give notice by posting at some convenient place at the court house and by publication in one or more newspapers of general circulation, if any be published in the county once a week for three successive weeks, that the list has been filed in his office, and that said notice shall be given, or the first insertion thereof, be made within ten days from the date of said filing of the list by the Tax Collector, and any citizen whose name does not appear on said list may before the 31st day of May of each year have the right to apply to the Judge of Probate to enter his name thereon, and upon due proof that the school contribution was made by such person within the time allowed therefor, it shall be the duty of the Judge of Probate to enter his name as an elector at the foot of said list as recorded with appropriate remarks indicating that said person's name had been improperly omitted; and upon the refusal of the Judge of Probate to enter the name of any applicant as an elector the latter may appeal from the judgment or decision of the Judge of Probate to the Circuit Court of his county, and the judgment of the Circuit Court upon such matter shall be final. The General Assembly shall provide by law a method for expunging from the Registration of Electors any name or names improperly placed on the list certified by the Tax Collector or recorded by the Judge of Probate


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or added to either of said lists by any person. The Tax Collectors of the several counties shall remit to the State Auditor within the first fifteen days of April of each year the amount received by them respectively upon the school contribution, less their commission. It shall be unlawful for any Tax Collector to receive any school contribution for any year after the 31st day of March of that year, and any Tax Collector who wilfully or intentionally adds to or omits from the list herein required to be certified and any Judge of Probate who wilfully or intentionally fails to accurately record the list certified, shall be guilty of a felony. No person whose name does not appear on the said certified list and registration of electors for the year next preceding that on which the election is held, shall be entitled to vote, except that in case of application by a citizen to have his name added and the judgment favorable thereto of the Judge of Probate of Circuit Court, such person may vote, as though his name were on said list; provided, that nothing herein shall be construed to exclude from voting any soldier or sailor who has fought or was actually enlisted on either side of the war between the States, or who has fought or was a party, but all such soldiers and sailors otherwise qualified may vote without having made the school contribution.

Sec.2. All elections by the people shall be by ballot, and all elections by persons in a representative capacity shall be viva voce.

Sec.3. The following persons shall be disqualified both from registration and from voting, namely:

All idiots and insane persons; those who shall by reason of conviction of crime be disqualified from voting at the time of the ratification of this Constitution; and those who shall be convicted of treason, murder, arson, embezzlement, malfeasance in office, larceny, receiving stolen property, obtaining property or money under false pretense, perjury, subornation of perjury, robbery, assault and battery on the wife, bigamy, living in adultery, sodomy, incest, rape, miscegenation, crime against nature, or of any crime punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary or of any infamous crime or crimes involving moral turpitude; also any person who shall be convicted as a vagrant or a tramp, or of selling or offering to sell his vote or the vote of another, or buying or offering to buy the vote of another in any election by the people, or in any primary election, or to procure the nomination or election of any  person to any office, or of suborning any wit-       ness or registrar to secure the regislation of any person as an elector.

Sec.4. No person shall be qualified to vote or participate in any primary election, party convention, mass meeting or other method of party action of any political party or faction, who shall


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not possess the qualifications prescribed in this Article for an elector or who shall be disqualified tinder the provisions of this Article from voting.

Sec. 5. No person not registered and qualified as an elector under the provisions of this Article shall vote at any State, county or municipal election, general, local or special, held subsequent to the general election in 1902; but the provisions of this Article shall not apply to any election held prior to the general election in 1902, and all electors who shall comply with the provisions hereof in the year 1902 shall be entitled to vote in said elections.

Sec. 6. Any elector whose  right to vote shall be challenged for any legal cause before an election officer shall be required to swear or affirm, that the matter of the challenge is untrue before his vote shall be received, and any one who willfully swears, or affirms falsely thereto shall be guilty of perjury.

Sec. 7. In the trial of any contested election, and in proceedings to investigate any election, no person other than a defendant, shall be allowed to withhold his testimony on the ground that he may criminate himself, or subject himself to public infamy ; but such person shall not be prosecuted for any offense arising out of the transaction concerning which he testifies, but may be prosecuted for perjury committed on such examination.

Sec. 8. The General Assembly shall pass laws not inconsistent with this Constitution, to regulate and govern elections, and all such laws, shall be uniform throughout the State, and shall provide by law for the manner of holding elections and of ascertaining the result of the same, and shall provide general registration laws, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Article, for the registration of all qualified electors from and after the first day of January, 1903. The General Assembly shall also make provisions lay law, not inconsistent with this Article for the regulation of primary elections, and for punishing frauds at the same, but shall not make primary elections compulsory.

Sec. 9. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to pass adequate laws giving protection against the evils arising from the use of intoxicating liquors at all elections.

Sec. 10. Elections shall in all cases, except treason, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at elections, or while going to or returning therefrom.

Sec. 11. Returns of elections for all civil officers who are to be commissioned by the Governor, except Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, Attorney General and Superintendent of Education, and for members of the General Assembly, shall be made to the Secretary of State.


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Referred to Committee on Suffrage and Elections.

MR. MERRILL  (Barbour)–I have a petition to offer. I ask that the body of it be read, and that the petition be referred to the proper Committee:

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 review.

J. T. Roy, R.A. Ballowe, H.R. Shorter, E. H. Graves, J. Clafo, G. W. Whitlock,  Shelly & Co., J. E,.Capp, Hiram Hawkins, B. B. McKenzie, C. A. Sentrey, Henry H. Parker, W. M. Stokes, J. A. Davis, Ch. S. McDowell, W. Petry, C. G. Caldwell, A. M. McLendon, C. R. Spurlock, J. D. Holmes, J. D. Schwab, Theo. Pruden, L. Y. Dean & Son, A. Scheuer, M. Scheuer, Henry Bloom, J. Stern. J. E. Watkins, C. M. Thompson, H. Schloss, Thos. L. Moore. C. S. McDowell, Jr., Geo. C. McCormick, W. L. McCormick. E. L.  Brown, E. B.  Powers, Geo. N. Hancock, W. C. Dunnaway. R.F. Nance,  J.B. Searcy, J. W. Hurdbut, J. P. Foy, J. M. Johnson, S. M. Carroll, W. S. Goldsbee, J. E. Engram, J. L,. Ross, A. F. Peak, M.W. Sanders, W. C. Standifer, R. F. Bradley, L. W. Troy, T. J. Ramser, C. A. Martin, B. C. Bell, C. P. Roberts, E. M. Jones, J. B. Garland.

Mr. Sanford (Montgomery) introduced the following ordinances:

Ordinance 432, by Mr. John W. A. Sanford:

An ordinance to empower the legislature to construct a canal from the city of Birmingham to the Warrior River by the employment of convicts on such work.

Be it ordained by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled, That the legislature shall have power to authorize the construction of a canal from the city of Birmingham to the Warrior river by the employment of persons convicted of crime, on such work, and to provide for the collection of tolls on freight and fares from passengers, for the benefit of the State.

Referred to Committee on Legislative Department.


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Ordinance 433, by Mr. Jno. XV. A. Sanford:

An ordinance to limit corporations in the holding of lands in Alabama.

Whereas, the growth, power and influence of corporations are a menace to the rights and welfare of the people.

Therefore, Be it ordained by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled, That no corporation, domestic or foreign, or any combination of such corporations, shall purchase, own or hold in any manner, more than a thousand acres of land in Alabama, without the permission of the legislature of the State.

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery) ‑ I ask that that ordinance be referred to the Committee on Amendment of the Constitution and Miscellaneous Matter.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ It seems to the Chair that the proper reference would be to the Committee on Corporations.

MR. SANFORD ‑ That Committee has not been heard from any more than the searchers for the north pole, and if referred to it will not be heard from any more than we do of the chariots of Pharaoh.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ Does the gentleman wish to enter a motion to refer the ordinance. In the opinion of the Chair, the proper reference would be to the committee on Corporations. The gentleman may enter a motion, and it is within the power of the Convention to give a different reference if it sees fit.

MR. SANFORD ‑ Then I move Mr. President, that it be referred to the Committee on Amendment of the Constitution and Miscellaneous Matters.

Upon a vote being taken, the motion to refer to the Committee on Amendment of Constitution and Miscellaneous Matters was lost.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The ordinance is referred to the Committee on Corporations.

When Mr. Sentell's name was reached on roll call, he yielded to Mr. Weatherly of Jefferson.

MR. WEATHERLY ‑ I have a petition to offer, which I introduce by request.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ Does the gentleman desire to submit a motion that the petition be read before the Convention? Without a motion, the rules do not provide for the reading of petitions.

MR. WEATHERLY ‑ I ask that it be referred to the Committee on Suffrage and Elections.


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     THE PRESIDENT ‑ The petition will be referred on request of the gentleman to the Committee on Suffrage and Elections.

    Does the gentleman desire the petition included in the stenographic report?

     MR. WEATHERLY ‑ Yes, sir.

     THE PRESIDENT ‑ The stenographers will be requested to take note of the petition.

Anniston, Ala., July 20, 1901.

To the Constitutional Convention of Alabama :

    Gentlemen ‑ Being deeply interested in the work of the Convention, especially in the suffrage plan, proposed by the Suffrage Committee, and having been requested by several members of your body to make such suggestions as might seem to be pertinent, I have take the liberty to prepare, with some care, certain amendments, which seen to me to be necessary to properly safeguard the registration under the plan proposed by the committee, in order to secure a complete and perfect registration of the qualified electors in the State.

     The suggestions I make relate alone to the regislation of the life electors, as provided in the report of the committee. The entire plan for such registration is contained in Section 10 as reported by the committee. (See page 9 of Report, Section 10). This section provides: "The General Assembly shall provide by law for the registration, after the first day of January, 1903, of all qualified electors. Until the first day of January, 1903, all electors shall be registered under and in accordance with the requirements of this section, as follows." Then follows seven subdivisions of Section 10, setting forth the plan of registration. which the committee proposed.

       It is provided in one of said subdivisions that "unless he shall become disqualified ‑ any one who shall register prior to the first day of January, 1903. shall remain an elector during life, and shall be required to re ‑ register only in case of a change of residence, on production of his certificate." (Report, p. 13, line 13). It will be noted therefore. first, That the persons registered under the plan proposed in Section 10 swill be voters for life ‑ will constitute a life electorate whose status as such will be beyond the control of the Legislature.

     Second ‑ If there is a defect in the plan proposed by the committee, it will be beyond remedy after the ratification of the Constitution, because that section purports to be complete in itself; to set forth all that it is proposed shall be enacted on the subject embraced in said section. It is self ‑ executing. The Legislature cannot change it. This being true, gives to this section an in‑


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creased importance. Any plan of registration, which may fix the status of every voter in the entire State during life, should be well hedged about to prevent fraud in the registration. No plan of ballot reform based upon a fraudulent registration, or based upon a plan of registration under which fraud is possible, is deserving of a name. These considerations make it necessary that the plan of registration should be hedged about with proper safeguards, so as to provide not only for a full and fair registration, but also to prevent any fraud in its execution. Unless proper safeguards are thrown around the registration, the Convention will discredit itself before the thoughtful men of the State. The greatest argument made in. favor of the calling of the Convention was to purify the ballot. If the plan proposed by the committee admits of greater fraud than now exists or if it admits of ally fraud whatever, it should be amended so as to prevent it. No plan who really desires the purification of the ballot call object to any amendment of the plan proposed, which will insure the people of the State a full, correct, and honest registration. And no man who is appointed Registrar, and who intends faithfully and honestly to perform the duties devolving upon him as such can or will object to any reasonable amendment, which will insure the proper performance of that duty, by fixing penalties for any failure on his part honestly to perform those duties. No Registrar should be held, or sought to be held liable for any mistake of judgment on his part, but he should be held liable criminally for a dishonest or corrupt performance of his duties. The plan proposed by the committee does not do this. I, therefore, suggest the following amendment:

    First ‑ The first amendment I suggest is to provide that no name can be registered except on the personal application of the voter, and that no one man can register for another. If the Registrars can register a man without his knowledge, they call register a, name without their being any voter of that name, and they can register a man against his will; and they call register one man for another. Unless it is provided that no registration shall be made except on the personal application of the voter, and that one man cannot register for another, the flood gates of fraud and corruption will be open wide, and our State will be more than ever at the mercy of those who are willing to commit fraud at the ballot box. The danger of such a course, it seems would be apparent. 'That a life electorate of this State can be registered without the personal application of the voter would be revolutionary. The report of the committee does not require a personal application by the voter before his name can be registered on the list of life voter. It does not even require an application under oath to register. Section 5, page 12, line 62, simply gives the Board of Registers "power to examine under oath or affirmation all applicants for registration." It does not require the application to register to be made under


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oath, it gives the Board power to examine the applicant under oath, but does not in express terms require the application to be made under oath. Under the plan embodied in the report, the registrars can ride along the road or sit in their office, and register any name that may come into their minds. They can register every lean who lives in the county, none of whom need know that they are being registered.

     They can register every man who ever did live in the county, whether living or dead. It may be replied that the Registrars will not do this; that is not the question, can they? If they can, the plan should we amended so they cannot. I therefore suggest, as an amendment, the following:

     "Insert between line 61 and 62 on page 12, the following: No person shall be registered, except on his own personal application, under oath to the Board of Registrars, upon a blank furnished by the Secretary of State, and prepared under the advice of the Attorney General, with the view to testing fully the qualifications of each applicant for registration, and to furnish full and accurate evidence afterwards as to his personal identity. The Board of Registrars shall endorse on each application its correct date, and whether registration is granted or denied to the applicant."

     "Second ‑ The second amendment pertains to the purging of the list of registered voters filed by the Board of Registrars. The plan as reported has no stick provisions. Under it there is no way provided for getting a name cuff the list after it once gets on; nor is there a way to revise the registration list at any time. This, it seems to me to be absolutely  necessary. It is true the plan provides for an appeal in favor of one who is denied the right to register.        'There can be no reasonable objection to that provision. But an appeal should also be given to any citizen of the State who desires to contest the right of any voter to register. Means should be provided for purging the list of names of dead men, and men removed and those who become insane, and those convicted of crime, or otherwise disqualified. It seems to me that the necessity of some such provision as this would be so apparent as to render argument unnecessary. I would suggest therefore, the following amendment:

    First ‑ Insert after the words "qualified electors" in line 2 on page 9, the following:

   "For purging the registration lists of names illegally entered thereon and of persons illegally registered, and of those who may die, become insane, convicted of crime. or otherwise disqualified as an elector under the provisions of this Constitution, and for keeping in proper form the list of male idiots and insane persons and all males convicted of crime."

     Second ‑ Insert after the words "of the board," in line 74, on page 12 the following :


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"Any citizen of the State may at any time have a list of registered voters purged of any names illegally entered thereon, or the name of any person who, at the time of registration; is qualified under the provisions of this Constitution, or who afterwards become so disqualified.”

     Third-The third amendment is intended to secure absolute fairness and accuracy in the registration.  No citizen who honestly favors the purity of the ballot, can object to this amendment. And no registrar who intends honestly and faithfully to perform his duties will object.  It does not in any hamper the Registrar in the honest discharge of his duty, nor seek to hold him liable in any way for any mistake of judgment on his part.  It does not in any way affect him in the honest discharge of his duty.  This amendment is as follows:

     “Insert between lines 91 and 1, on page 13, a new section to read as follows: any elector who registers for another, or who registers more than once; and any registrar who enters the name of any elector on the list of registered voters, without such elector makes application in person and under oath on a form provided for that purpose to be registered as hereinbefore provided, or who knowingly registers any person more than once, or who knowingly enters a name upon the registration list as a registered voter when no one of that name applied to register, shall be guilty of a felony.”

     Fourth – The fourth amendment requires all applications and testimony offered before the Board or against the application, to be returned by the Board for or against application, to be returned by the Board of Registrars along with the list.  It will take two amendments to properly provide for this.  I have prepared said amendments as follows:

     First–“Insert after the word ‘person’ in line 4, on page 13, the following:

      “Together with all applications to register, which were filed before them, and all evidence introduced before them for all evidence introduced before them for or against each application.”         

       Second—“Insert between lines 10 and 11 after the word ‘original’, and before the word ‘list,’ on page 13, the following :

      “Applications for registration, and all papers relating thereto, and the.”

     It will be noticed that none of the amendments which I suggest will in any way embarrass the Registrars in the honest discharge of their duty.  These amendments all seem to me to be necessary in order to perfect the plan of registration proposed by the Committee.  If the suffrage is to be regulated so as to secure


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honest elections, and remove any excuse for pretext for fraud, on account of the presence of the large number of ignorant and vicious voters, we cannot be too careful in providing a system of registration. If we would eliminate the class of voters in whose hands the right to vote is a menace to good government and good morals, proper safeguards must be placed around the plan of registration, and stringent penalties provided for the corrupt registration of any voter. If the Convention does that, its work will command the respect of patriotic and thoughtful men everywhere. If it fails to do that. it will discredit itself before the people of the State. I cannot believe that the intelligent and patriotic members of the Convention will object to any amendment of the plan proposed by the Suffrage Committee that will secure to the people of the State a full and honest registration of the qualified voters of the State.

    None of the amendments herein suggested are offered in the interest of any man or set of men, nor in the interest of any section. The only object sought to be accomplished is to provide safeguards around the plan of registration, affecting all the people of the State, which will result in the registration being had according to the purpose intended by the Committee. Not being a member of the Convention and there being but a very short time until the Convention will begin the consideration of the suffrage plan as proposed by the Committee, I am under the necessity of availing myself of this method of presenting these suggestions. If there is any merit in any of them, I feel very sure that they will receive the consideration they deserve. With great respect,

I am very truly,

Richard B Kelly,.

     Referred to Committee on Suffrage.

     THE PRESIDENT ‑ The next order is unfinished business.

     MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ I desire to offer an amendment to Section 59 of the report of the Committee on Legislative Department.

     THE PRESIDENT ‑ The present order is unfinished business. The next order will be the special order, the consideration of the report on Legislative Department. This report was concluded on yesterday, but this morning there was one Section reconsidered. It seems to the Chair that it would be in order to proceed with the consideration of that Section at this time.

    MR. OATES ‑ There was notice given on yesterday that there would be a motion this morning to reconsider another Section. I do not know whether that will be insisted on or not.

      THE PRESIDENT ‑ Was that Section 47 ?


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     MR. OATES ‑ I believe so.

     THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman from Mobile (Mr. Brooks) indicated that he did not care to press the question to reconsider Section 47.  The special order will now be consideration of the report of the Committee on Legislative Department having under consideration Section 59, which was reconsidered by the Convention this morning.  The gentleman from Mobile offers an amendment, the Secretary will read the amendment.

     The Secretary read the amendment as follows:

      “Amend Section 59 of the Article of the report by the Committee on Legislative Department by striking therefrom all of the Section after the words ‘by the Legislature,’in line 3 of the Section, and preceding the word ‘provided’ in the sixth line, and by striking out the word ‘doubtful’ in the seventh line.”

      MR. SMITH – I have no argument to make.  I have stated the purpose of the amendment, and it is the amendment to which I referred at the time I moved to reconsider.

      MR. JONES (Wilcox)–I wish to offer an amendment to the amendment of the gentleman from Mobile.

      The Clerk read the amendment as follows:

      “Strike out in the fourth, fifth and sixth lines the words ‘into the proper Treasury; nor shall such liability or obligation be exchanged or transferred except upon payment of its face value,’ and add the word ‘the’ before ‘payment’ in the fourth line; also strike out in the seventh line for the compromise of doubtful claims,’ and add ‘for adjusting, compromising or settling claims on such items as any be just and reasonable.’

      THE PRESIDENT – The question will be on the adoption of the amendment to the amendment offered by the gentleman from Wilcox.

      MR. JONES (Wilcox)—In Code 3753, there is a provision made for the compromise of claims in favor of the State.  There is nothing said about whether claims be doubtful or not.  It reads in this way: “The Governor, Attorney General and Auditor have authority to adjust, compromise, and settle on such term as they may seem just and reasonable, any claim of the State against any person or any public officer or his surety or because of the negligence or default in the safe-keeping, collection, or disbursement of public monies, or funds or property by any officer having charge or custody thereof,’

       Now the amendment to the amendment uses the language of that statute, leaving out the word “ doubtful,” and substituting the language of the Statute, “authorizing the adjustment, compromis-


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

ing and settling of claims.”  In line 4, the words “into the proper Treasury” are stricken out, leaving it so it will read in this way: “Nor shall such liability or obligation be extinguished except by payment thereof.”

MR. PITTS (Dallas) ‑ I would like to ask the gentleman a question.

THE  PRESIDENT ‑ Does the gentleman yield?

MR. JONES ‑ Yes sir.

MR. PITTS ‑ You propose to leave it, “nor shall such liability or obligation be extinguished except by payment thereof.”  I would like to ask this question: Suppose a bond is forfeited, and the Judge has good reason to believe that the bond ought to be reduced, would this prohibit him from reducing the bond?

MR. JON ES ‑ I think not.

MR. PITTS ‑ A bond for the appearance of a defendant, and that bond is forfeited, and he has a good excuse, and it ought not to be made final for the full amount, does it prohibit the Judge from reducing that bond to a less amount?

MR. JONES ‑ No sir, it would be merged in the judgment and the payment of the judgment would be the extinguishment  of the claim for the full amount.

MR. PITTS ‑ It says “No obligation or liability of any person, association or corporation held or owned by this State, or by any county, or other municipality thereof, shall ever be remitted, released or postponed or in any way diminished by the Legislature; nor shall such liability or obligation be extinguished, except by payment thereof.”  Wouldn't that entirely prohibit it.

MR. JONES ‑ No, I think not. The claim would be merged in the judgment, and the payment of the judgment would be settlement of the claim in any Court.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ I have no objection to the amendment offered by the gentleman from Wilcox. It is perfectly agreeable; I don't know that I am at liberty to accept it personally. There is nothing between the two views that appeals to me at all. One does for me just as well as another.

MR. FERGUSON ‑ If I and in order. I have an amendment which I wish to offer.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The subject that the Convention has under consideration now is Section 59. The gentleman may withhold his amendment and offer it at a later period.

MR. FERGUSON ‑ I will do so.


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MR. MERRILL ‑ The introduction of Section 51 by the Committee in this Article is what I regard as a departure from the policy of the State established by the laws now in existence, and it is an encroachment or entry upon the Legislative powers that has no place in the Constitution. The Code, Sections 3753 ‑ 54, prescribes and creates a Board of Compromise in the State whose duty it is to take charge of all these claims in favor of the State, and arrange and settle them as to the board seems proper. It gives them almost plenary power over these matters, and if the State should possess the power of compromising its debt, why not allow counties and municipalities the same right and power.  Why is it we want to go into these matters. Has any evil arisen? I know of none, and I know of no reason why the policy of the State should be changed by the incorporation of this article into the Constitution. I therefore move that the section and all amendments to it be laid upon the table.

MR. OATES ‑ I will ask the delegate from Barbour to withhold that motion for a moment. I will yield the floor to him.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ Does the gentleman from Barbour withhold temporarily his motion.

MR. MERRILL ‑ Yes, sir.

MR. OATES ‑ I want to say on behalf of the committee, that some of the members of it—

MR. GRANT ‑ The gentleman is not in order, the motion is to lay upon the table.

MR. OATES ‑ It was withdrawn.

MR. MERRILL ‑ I withdrew the motion for the purpose of giving the chairman of the committee an opportunity.

MR. OATES ‑ Some members of the committee seem to have had a wider scope of information than the gentleman from Barbour, and the object and purpose of this section was in the minds of the committee who reported it, to put a limitation and restriction upon that plenary power which he says the statute gives the State Board and those of municipalities and counties, because it had come to the knowledge of some of the members of that committee that this plenary power had been abused, and that compromises had been made which were unnecessary and were sacrifices of just demand and demands which have been made available to the State, counties and municipalities, and it was an effort on the part of the committee–

MR. MERRILL ‑ Will you permit an inquiry. Under this section as you have it, allowing the compromise of doubtful claims, is it not a fact that if a compromise is effected on that idea, that it is a settlement of it and the end of it?


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MR. OATES– As a matter of course.  It is first a denial to the Legislature to dispose of these claims– “No obligation or liability of any person, association or corporation held or owned by this State, or by any county or municipality thereof, shall ever be remitted, released or postponed or in any way diminished by the Legislature.”  The Legislature shall not do it, “nor shall such liability or obligation be extinguished except by payment thereof, into the proper treasury.”  I admit that “into the proper treasury” are unnecessary and they may as well be stricken out: “nor shall such liability or obligation be exchanged or transferred except upon payment of its face value; provided, that this section shall not prevent the Legislature from providing by general law for the compromise of doubtful claims.”  That is entirely proper. The Legislature should have that power, but under the law as it stands, boards have a right to compromise any claim whether doubtful or not.  Their sympathies may be worked upon, and in a government like ours, by the people in which all officers are candidates for re-election to the same office, or for some other office, it is very easy to persuade them that a claim between the citizen and the State or county or municipality should be compromised.

MR. GRANT– Is the motion to table?  And is not the gentleman speaking to that motion?

THE PRESIDENT ‑ It was withdrawn temporarily in order that the chairman might discuss the question.

MR. OATES ‑ I am doing this in justice to the committee that the Convention may see exactly what was aimed at. The language may not be perfectly apt all through, but I insist that the idea is a good one. There ought to be a restriction upon this power, and for the reasons I have already stated, you invest men, a board, representative of the county or municipality with authority, and it may be that the liability is a hard one in some respects, but a just one to the county, State or municipality, and yet against some person or persons who are of great influence, and may appeal to those who have the right to compromise, and they say, Oh, well, it is a pretty hard case on him, and the State, county or municipality can stand it, and they are disposed to compromise and do compromise some claims every day, which ought to be paid, and it is to remedy this evil and put a proper restriction upon those who have the authority to compromise and settle, that the word “doubtful” was used so as to indicate to the Legislature in carrying out this provision, that it was not for the compromise of liabilities which are collectable and just, but such as were doubtful, in some sense. Therefore, I do not think the amendment should be adopted.  Now the amendment offered by my friend, the delegate from Wilcox,  if that be substituted, following the statute, it is no restriction, and you may just as well strike out all after the word


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“Legislature,” as is the amendment of the delegate from Mobile. I think it is much better to perfect the language of this section so as to effectuate the object of the committee in making the report which was a good one. I now renew the motion of the gentleman from Barbour to table the section and the pending amendments.

A vote being taken, the motion to table was lost.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The question will be upon the amendment offered by the gentleman from Wilcox to amendment offered by the delegate from Mobile. Is the Convention ready for the question?

MR. DUKE ‑ I ask for the reading of the amendment. I would like to have the original section read its amended with all the amendments, as it will read when amended.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ There are two amendments. It is very difficult for the Secretary to just place the amendment as the section would read amended.

MR. DUKE ‑ Then just read the two amendments.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman was the section before him. The Secretary will read the section.

MR. JONES (Wilcox) ‑ As I understand the gentleman from Mobile, the amendment offered was accepted by him and therefore there is but one before the house.

MR. SMITH ‑ I did not understand that I could accept ; I was perfectly willing to accept; I thought it was the property of the Convention and I had no right to accept it.

THE  PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman can obtain unanimous consent, perhaps, to accept the amendment.

MR. SMITH ‑ Very well, sir.

THE  PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman asks unanimous consent.

MR. PITTS (Dallas) ‑ I object.

MR. OATES ‑ Probably I have authority of the Committee and I ask unanimous consent to amend in the fourth line, by striking out the words “into the proper Treasury.”

There being no objection the amendment was allowed.

MR. GRANT ‑ I want to ask the gentleman a question. Will the gentleman strike out the word “general?”

MR. OATES ‑ I think that would destroy largely the purpose of the section.


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THE  PRESIDENT ‑ The question would be upon the adoption of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Mobile as modified and accepted by the gentleman from Wilcox.

MR. COBB ‑ The gentleman from Chambers has asked to have the section read as modified by the amendment of the gentleman from Wilcox.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Secretary will read the amendment of the gentleman from Wilcox, and if the members  will follow the reading of it and compare with the original section they will be able to understand.

The amendment was again read.

MR. BLACKWELL ‑ I move to lay the amendment on the table.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ There was a motion to lay the section and the amendment on the table voted down. The question will be upon the amendment offered by the gentleman from Wilcox, which the gentleman from Mobile has obtained unanimous consent to accept.

MR. OATES ‑ As I understand the motion of the gentleman from Morgan is to lay the section and the amendment on the table.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ To lay the amendment

MR. PITTS ‑ I objected to the acceptance of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Wilcox.

THE  PRESIDENT ‑ I thank the gentleman for calling the attention of the Chair, the Chair overlooked that fact. So the question will be upon the amendment offered by the gentleman from Wilcox. As many as favor the adoption of that amendment will say aye.

A vote being taken the amendment was lost.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The question will be upon the adoption of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Mobile. The Secretary will read the amendment.

The Secretary read the amendment as follows: “Amend Section 59 by striking therefrom all of the Section after the words “by the legislature” in line three of the section, and preceding the word “provided” in the sixth line, and by striking out the word “doubtful” in the seventh line.”

THE PRESIDENT ‑ Is the Convention ready for the question?

A vote being taken the amendment was lost, on a division, by a vote of 35 ayes and 44 noes.


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MR. OATES ‑ I move the previous question on the adoption of the section as amended.

A vote being taken the previous question was ordered, and a further vote being taken the section was adopted.

MR. FERGUSON ‑ I have an amendment to offer.

The Clerk read the amendment as follows: “Amend the Article on Legislative Department by adding the following section: The legislature may dispense with the necessity of indictment in cases of grand larceny, but justices of the Peace shall have only preliminary jurisdiction in such cases.”

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The question will be on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson to add a section to the article.

MR. FERGUSON– There are no politics whatever in the amendment proposed.  There is no play to the gallery in it, there is not a vote in it, Mr. President.  I simply offer it as a means of securing speedy trials in that class of cases in this State, a class of cases that predominates all other crimes in the State of Alabama. There is an average of 1,200 cases of that character in the State of Alabama year by year.  I have had occasion when the Article on Preamble and Declaration of Rights was under consideration, to offer in substance the same amendment to Section 9 of that article. I understood from a number of delegates, Mr. President, that they opposed it upon the ground that it gave jurisdiction to justices of the Peace in that class of cases.  I have so amended it in the proposed section here so as to cut of any idea that justices could have jurisdiction in cases of grand larceny.  Now, Mr. President, I desire to present it again for the consideration of this Convention in order to save the State of Alabama a great deal of money in the feed or prisoners, and to give speedy trials to many that are accused of crime.  As I had occasion to say before, when the matter was under consideration, there are many cases where a party accused of grand larceny who has been committed by a justice of the peace for the offense of grand larceny, has to lay in jail five or six months before he can ever get a trial.  Now, gentlemen of the Convention, the proposed amendment simply gives the legislature the power to dispense with the necessity of indictment in that class of cases.  It does not say that they must do it, it leaves it to the sound judgment and discretion of the legislature as to whether they will do it or not.  If they exercise that discretion and that sound judgment, it will enable many a man that has to lay in jail perhaps five or six months to go before some court of competent jurisdiction and enter his plea of guilty where a warrant is sworn out in the case, or if he does not desire to plead guilty he may be tried before some court of competent jurisdiction under the warrant which may be sworn out in that particular


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case. As I said before, when the matter was under consideration, the distinction between grand and petit larceny is of the most shadowy character, has long been shadowy and indistinct in some cases. The maximum penalty for petty larceny is twelve months hard labor for the county and a fine of $500 in addition, at the discretion of the court. or jury trying, the same; the minimum penalty for grand larceny is $100, hard labor for the county or one year's imprisonment in the penitentiary. It is rare, indeed, Mr. President, that the maximum punishment is ever given in a case of grand larceny. Now for these reasons, gentlemen, I merely ask you to put it in the power of the Legislature of this State to put it within their power to dispense with the necessity of indictment in that class of cases. As the Constitution now stands, and as it will stand if you do not adopt this Section, it will never be within the power of the Legislature of Alabama to change it, it will have to remain as it is that where a man is bound over for grand larceny that he must lay in jail at the expense of the State and be deprived of the means of a speedy trial, and it is for these reasons that I ask you to pass this amendment.

MR. OATES ‑ I most heartily concur with the views expressed by the gentleman from Jefferson and the purpose aimed at. But the Section has no proper place in the Legislative Department, it belongs in the Judicial Department, and I am not only in favor of his proposition as he presents it, but I am in favor of enlarging it, and would, if I had an opportunity to amend it myself, so that the courts may dispense with an indictment by a grand jury where they cannot get them in cases of outrageous murders, because you cannot suppress crime of that kind in any other way in the State of Alabama. Therefore I will move to lay the amendment offered on the table, and will co-operate with my friend to take it from the table and put it in the Judicial Department when that comes up.

MR. FERGUSON ‑ Am I in order to reply?

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The motion to table is not debatable.

MR. FERGUSON ‑ I will ask the gentleman from Montgomery to withdraw his motion to table the amendment.

MR. OATES ‑ I am not disposed to cut off a delegate from anything he wishes to say, but I am greatly desirous of finishing this report.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman from Jefferson is not in order, as no delegate can speak more than once except the Chairman of a Committee.

MR. FERGUSON ‑ May I ask the gentleman from Montgomery a question, then?


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THE PRESIDENT ‑ Does the gentleman from Montgomery yield ?

MR. OATES ‑ I will yield.

MR. FERGUSON ‑ Wouldn't that have the effect of weighting down this amendment that I propose. I want it to go through on its individual merits.

MR. OATES ‑ It tends to do that, to weigh it down, but I will vote for your proposition ‑ I will vote to insist on your amendment.

MR. MACDONALD ‑ I rise to a point of order. There is a motion to table.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Chair will call the attention of the delegate from Jefferson to Rule 14. No delegate shall speak more than once to the same question. The question is on the motion of the gentleman from Montgomery to lay on the table the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson.

Upon a vote being taken, the motion to table was carried.

MR. WHITESIDE ‑ I have an amendment to offer.

The Secretary read the amendment as follows:

“ To amend the Article on Legislative Department by adding Section ‑ as follows:          “The Legislature shall have no power to take away any right of action or destroy any defense to any suit after such suit has been commenced.’”

MR. WHITESIDE ‑ I move the adoption of the amendment.

MR. OATES ‑ I ask that it be read.

The amendment as offered by Mr. Whiteside was read.

MR. OATES ‑ That is already provided for and is wholly unnecessary, and therefore I move to lay it on the table.

On a vote being taken, a division was called for and the motion to lay on the table was carried, 78 ayes to 13 noes.

MR. OATES ‑ I move that the Article on Legislative Department----

MR. BROOKS ‑ I will ask that the gentleman yield to me until I offer an amendment.

There were expressions of dissent.

MR. BROOKS ‑ I think I ought to have the right to offer an amendment.

The amendment by Mr. Brooks was read as follows:


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Section—.

Any person holding office under this State who shall directly or indirectly ask, demand, accept, receive or consent to receive for his own use or benefit, or for the use or benefit of another, any free pass or transportation, or pass or ticket at a discount, other than is sold to the public generally, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined in a sum not exceeding two hundred and fifty dollars ($250) and at the discretion of the court trying the same, in addition to such fine, may be imprisoned for a term not exceeding two months, and upon such conviction shall be subject to impeachment and removal from office.

Any railroad or transportation company, or officer or agent thereof who shall grant a free pass or shall at reduced rates not common to the public, sell tickets for transportation to any such person, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and is liable to punishment, except as herein provided.

No person or officer or agent of a corporation who gives any such free pass, free transportation or sells ticket for transportation at rates hereby prohibited, shall be privileged from testifying in relation thereto, and he shall not be liable to civil or criminal prosecution therefor if he shall testify to the giving or selling of the same. But this shall not prohibit the Legislature from authorizing the State to contract with any such railroad or transportation company for the transportation at reduced rates of State officers while traveling in the discharge of their official duties.

Any solicitor who, shall fail faithfully to prosecute a person charged with the violation in his county or circuit of any provision of this Section which may come to his knowledge, shall be removed from office by the Governor, after an opportunity of being heard  in  his defense.

MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ I rise to a point of order. On yesterday, just before the hour of 6 arrived, a motion was introduced and passed the Convention to the effect that this Convention remain in session until the Article on Legislative Department had been concluded. The Article on Legislative Department was concluded on yesterday, and notice was given that a motion to reconsider a section would be made this morning, under the rules of the Convention, that motion would have to be heard this morning, but as the Article was concluded on yesterday, the amendment offered by the gentleman is not now in order.

MR. BROOKS ‑ It is a little singular that two other gentlemen were allowed to offer amendments this morning and I should not be allowed.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ It seems to the chair that the motion to reconsider the section which was passed upon this morning


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brought the Article on the Legislative Department back before the Convention and that it would be in order while the Article is up for consideration, for the Convention to amend it and add additional sections if they see fit so to do. The Chair will overrule the point of order.

MR. BROOKS ‑ I have very little to say on this subject. I simply wish to call the attention of the Convention to the fact that this ordinance affects both parties to the contract or to the agreement by which a pass is issued or accepted.  There is an ordinance now pending before this Convention which makes no provision for a penalty against a railroad that grants a pass or sells a ticket at rates below those common to the public.  This proposition refers to both sides of the contract by providing a penalty against the issuing of a pass or sale of a ticket below the usual rates on the part of a railroad or by the acceptance of the same on the part of an officer of this State. It goes further than that.  It provides some means of getting the evidence which is necessary to successfully prosecute and convict the parties who accept the pass.  According to the present resolution or ordinance as it is now pending, there is nothing of that sort, and it would be difficult to get the evidence necessary to convict.  Then it reduces the penalty from $1,000 as an outside penalty to $250 and, instead of allowing the court, upon conviction, to imprison for six months, it limits the time of imprisonment to two months.  It also provides that the State may have authority to contract for a special rate for all officers of the State while engaged in the discharge of their duty. Then it provides that the solicitor shall be dealt with who does not faithfully discharge his duty.  Now, all I have to say is that I hope the friends of the measure will not allow this to be laid upon the table. If it is desired that it be amended in any particular, come forward with your amendments, and let us make it such an ordinance as will be acceptable to this Convention at large, but I pray you that you do not put it on the table.  Let us decide the question now while we are on this Article on Legislative Department.  Now is an acceptable time, and now is as good a time as any.

MR. SAMFORD– I desire to state to the Convention what nearly every member of the Convention already knows – that is, that this matter has been referred to the committee on Corporations– a committee composed of honorable delegates of this Convention – with instructions to report an ordinance along this line. Everybody, or every member of this Convention, and everyone who is familiar with the proceedings of this body, know my attitude upon this question, and , therefore, they will understand that it is not in antagonism to the spirit of the amendment that I make the motion I intend to, but it has been thoroughly ventilated before the Convention during the consideration of this ordinance,


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and it has been thoroughly discussed. The members know what they want upon the subject. The Committee on Corporations, as is generally known amongst the members, is preparing an ordinance along that line, to be considered with the report from the Committee on Corporations.

MR. BROOKS– Will the gentleman from Pike allow me to interrupt him a moment?

MR. SAMFORD (Pike) ‑ No, sir.

THE PRESIDENT– The gentleman from Pike decline to yield.

MR. SAMFORD (Pike) ‑ For that reason, and to enable this question to be taken up decently and in order, and at the time it should be taken up and incorporated in the proper place in the Constitution, and that it shall be well considered at the time, along with the proper Article in the Constitution I move that this amendment be laid upon the table, to be taken up and considered with the report of the Committee on Corporations.

MR. BROOKS ‑ I desire to say that I accept that; that was the purpose of my asking the gentleman to allow me to interrupt him.

Upon a vote being taken, the motion to lay the amendment on the table was carried.

MR. OATES ‑ I move that the Article on the Legislative Department be engrossed and ordered to a third reading and be printed.

MR. SANFORD ‑ I will inquire if he wants it printed before it is read the third time?

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The rule provides for its printing after it is passed on the third reading.

 Upon a vote being taken, the motion of Mr. Oates was carried.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The special order this morning will be the consideration of the report of the Committee on Suffrage and Elections.

MR. WHITESIDE ‑ Before that matter is taken up, I ask unanimous consent to have a petition read and referred to the proper committee.

The petition was read as follows:

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


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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 tag should be limited by the State. We, therefore, request that your honorable body will give us a commission, elected by the people, and place all franchises, which have the power to tax, within their review.

R. N. Warnock & son, D. P. Haynes & Bro., J. M. Ragan, P. M.; C. J. Dodd, W. F. McCully, W. O. Turnipseed, Miller & Sons, Thos. H. Barry, T. A. Howle & Co., Blue Spring Mills, Thos. Sprinkle, Burton & Co., X. H. Bagley, Oxford Oil Co., W. F. Hanna, J. M. Mims, A. W. Ligon, J. S. Kelly, S. W. Hingson & Son, Draper & Co., J. F. Smith, Jno. H. Ingram, J. R. Drafper, W. C. Gray, Gunels Bros., Humphries & Co,. E. A. Walker & Co.,W. F. Higgins, F. C. Moorefield, C. S. Phillips, J. B. Privett & Co.,  A. O. Humphries, A. Harrison, J. H. Yoe, Thad M. Gwin.

Referred to Committee on Corporations.

THE PRESIDENT– The special order this morning will be the consideration of the report of the Committee on Suffrage and Elections.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene)‑ sought recognition.

MR. OATES– I rise for the purpose of making an inquiry in regard to this discussion.

THE PRESIDENT– Does the gentleman from Greene yield?

MR. COLEMAN ‑ If I knew what his inquiry would be.

MR. OATES ‑ From the rule which I understand was adopted in regard to it, I do not understand whether there is to be a preliminary general discussion before taking up the measure for consideration section by section.  The course in the progress of the consideration of bills and ordinances is to agree upon a time for general discussion and when that ends, to consider the measure by sections under a more limited and restricted time for speeches. I would like to hear from the delegate from Greene and to have the ruling of the Chair on that proposition.  I think we would not lose time, but would probably save time to have a general discussion say of an hour and a half or two hours, or less as the case may be, preceding the taking up of it by sections.  I make that suggestion in the interest of fair discussion, and I think it is in the interest of economy of time.  I believe we will save time by it.

MR. COLEMAN ‑ I had thought that this question would be considered differently from the rule which we have adopted in the consideration of other articles. I do not know where a general


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discussion would lead to.  So far as the committee knows, the agreement of the committee was unanimous except upon one or two question.  Of course, the whole Convention will have an opportunity to present its views as it sees proper, but I had supposed that the articles; that there would be a statement by the chairman– a mere statement– and that we would then proceed to consider it section by section.  I have no objection myself personally.

MR. OATES– I make the suggestion because of the universal interest in the measure and its importance.  It may be that time would be saved in this way to have a general discussion.  Of course, a limit of thirty minutes has been fixed by the order of the Convention.  But it we have a general discussion, some delegates who have not served upon this committee and have not heard the discussion of the various questions might from a general discussion get more fully into it, and probably less time would be consumed in amendments to sections as we proceed than would be if no such general discussion proceeded.

MR. COLEMAN– I believe if we undertake to pursue that course, we will be discussing this report for a week or ten days without making any progress at all.  With the number of delegates here having different views upon the wording and principles involved all the way through, there would be no end to the discussion.

MR. OATES ‑ My suggestion was made hoping that the delegate would make a motion to put a limit upon it, to have a general discussion not to go beyond a certain time, and not to turn the Convention loose on it as a general debating society.

MR. COLEMAN– I will ask then, who shall engage in this discussion?  Is the Chair to pick out certain men to discuss it, or the chairman or the whole Convention?  How could we make any progress at all?

MR. OATES ‑ I will state that the course  pursued. I know in the Congress of the United States (a pretty good authority) is that where there is a difference of opinion and gentlemen desire to discuss the question, they give their names to the presiding officer and he will take a list of them.  Of course a good many bet in, but they cannot run beyond the time fixed.

MR. BEDDOW ‑ I make the point of order that there is nothing before the House.

MR. COLEMAN– This is the hour appointed for the consideration of the report of the Committee on Suffrage and Elections.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ There has been some discussion between one or two gentlemen and myself as a member of the Rules


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Committee. Conferring, however, with the chairman of this committee with the view of determining what will be the proper time for the consideration of substitutes for the entire article that will be presented, and thereby preventing interruptions, I understood under the rule that the proper time to introduce a substitute for the entire article would be after the article had been passed upon section by section, and was offered to the Convention for adoption as a whole, but gentlemen interested in substitutes desire that question be presented, so there would be no confusion, and these substitutes would not be offered during the discussion, and if permissible to ask the Chair whether my understanding to the rule is not a correct one?

THE PRESIDENT– The rule on that question, as the Chair understands it, is that the friends of the measure will have a right to perfect it, amend it and put it in whatever shape they desire before the Convention would entertain a substitute to the entire article.  After the Convention has considered the article and put it in such shape as desired, a substitute would then be in order to the entire article.

MR. COLEMAN– That Mr. President, is my understanding of the rule.

MR. BANKS – After an article or ordinance has been completed, would it then be necessary to reconsider the whole ordinance before a substitute for it could be introduced?

THE PRESIDENT– The Chair thinks not.  The attention of the Convention is called to the fact that the substitute would be offered.  The Chair will try to conduct the proceedings in such a way that a motion to reconsider will not be necessary.

MR. LOWE (Jefferson)– That was about the question I was rising to.  I introduced this morning an ordinance covering this matter with the view that it might appear in the stenographic report, and in order that each member might have an opportunity of considering it this morning.  In this report, as I understand it, it will be practically impossible to amend it Section by Section, because several sections apply to and cover the same matter and I thought it would be better that the Convention should have the advantage of the discussion coming from the members of the Committee who had so long and carefully and patiently considered this question, and that, after having the benefit of that discussion, a substitute might then be offered without requiring a suspension of the rules, and as I understand the Chair the substitute would be in order at the close of the debate, and the action of the Convention upon the report of the Committee without a suspension of the rules?

THE PRESIDENT– Yes.


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. JONES (Montgomery) ‑ If a substitute were offered, would that be treated as an amendment so as to limit the debate to ten minutes?

THE PRESIDENT ‑ Under the rule as reported in this case, the debate has been extended to thirty minutes and a substitute would be regarded as an amendment.

MR. LOWE– The thirty minutes rule?

THE PRESIDENT– Yes sir. The Chair does not see how we can avoid a motion to reconsider, unless there is a special rule brought in on the subject, except by pursuing this course; that a Section of the report would be read and amendments would be entertained and either accepted or rejected and when the Convention has offered and considered such amendments as it may desire, without finally adopting the Section proceeding to the next Section, and so on through the Article, and then the question would be upon the adoption of the Article as read.

MR. SAMFORD– It occurs to me in that connection that with a matter so important as this and so lengthy, it is going to result in endless confusion, because, if you go through this Article without adopting it, Section by Section, when it comes to the offering of a substitute for the entire Article, I fail to see how it can be confined to a substitute to the entire article.  But why would not every Section be open to any substitute or any amendment that the Convention might see fit to propose?  And it occurs to me that we are going to get among the breakers along this line if we do not make some special preparation for it, if special preparation is necessary.  I make that merely as a suggestion.

THE PRESIDENT– It might be well to adopt some special rule on the subject. The Committee on Rules might bring in some rule to the effect that the adoption of this Article Section by Section would not cut off a motion for a substitute for the entire Article.

MR. LOWE (Jefferson)– It was in view of that parliamentary difficulty as I understood it that in that consultation the gentleman from Mobile, from the Committee on Rules, suggested an agreement. If the Convention unanimously agree, there need be no report from the Committee on Rules. The gentleman from Mobile suggested that it would be agreeable to the different contending interests here that upon the conclusion of the consideration of the report of the Committee, that then the substitute might be offered to the report of the Committee as amended, as it stands, upon the conclusion of the consideration of the report. Of course, that substitute would be open to amendment. If this Convention now agrees to that proposition, there is no necessity for a report from the Committee on Rules; however, I have no objection to the


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matter being referred to the Committee on Rules, I simply desire to reserve the right to myself to offer a substitute to the report of this Committee, it being absolutely impossible to amend it Section by Section, because there are many Sections bearing upon the same subject, and if the Convention now agrees to the proposition as stated by the gentleman from Mobile, from the Committee on Rules, it will be the order of business as I understand it.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ It seems to the Chair some provision should be made on that subject. The Chair will entertain a motion.

MR. COLEMAN ‑ If the President and the Convention will consent, I move that we dispense with business for five minutes and a rule can be prepared and presented to the Convention which will meet the end and difficulty suggested, and I move that we suspend if necessary for five minutes.

MR. FITTS ‑ I offer this resolution.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman from Greene moves that business be suspended for five minutes, in order that some rule be prepared to cover the question.

Upon a vote being taken, the motion to suspend was carried, and a recess taken for five minutes.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ I desire to notify the members of the Rules Committee that the Committee will meet in the Senate Chamber immediately.

MR. FITTS ‑ I offer that resolution and ask that it be referred to the Committee on Rules.

The resolution was handed to the Committee on Rules, but not read.

The Committee returned at the end of the recess.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ I am instructed by the Rules Committee to offer the following resolution

The Clerk read the resolution as follows:

Resolved that the article reported by the Committee on Suffrage and Elections be considered, adopted or rejected section by section and after every section has been so considered and adopted substitutes for the entire article may be offered and acted upon without any motion to reconsider the prior action of the Convention.”

MR. SMITH (Mobile) ‑ I move the adoption of the resolution as reported by the Rules Committee.

Upon a vote being taken the resolution was adopted.


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MR. COLEMAN (Greene)– Mr. President and delegates of the Convention; it is not my purpose to undertake to make a strictly legal argument at this time upon the various provisions contained in the report of the Committee on Suffrage and Election, but rather to state the conditions which confront us, the circumstances which led to the calling of this Convention, and the way in our opinion to relieve the people of the State of Alabama from the great burden that now rests upon it.  I think it pertinent in this connection, in order that our conditions may be understood, not only at home but abroad, to review, by a statement of facts, which transpired many years ago, that the people who were disposed to criticise us in our conduct may better understand what we have passed through and the end which we aim to attain.  That this Convention was called by the Democratic party cannot be denied and that it was made a party measure, and as such, sustained by the party.  The duty rested with us to construct an organic law which will operate fairly and justly to ever inhabitant in this State without regard to party or previous condition.  I do not believe that the article prepared is properly understood.  There has been an effort made to impress the people of Alabama that the delegates of this Convention were under no obligations or pledges to the people of Alabama.  It should be remembered that the three Conventions of Alabama which last assembled as a Convention of the Democratic party, declared that no white man should be disfranchised except for crime.  Mr. President and delegates of the Convention, it has been said that this provision was hastily adopted, without deliberation.  I cannot conceive how three Conventions, successive Conventions, could unanimously adopt the same provision without having attention called to it, this provision, or the charge made that action was without due consideration. It may not be improper to state here that the platform adopted by the Convention which last assembled in Montgomery was not framed without consideration and deliberation. Present at that time were two members, one a member of Congress, and an ex member, a distinguished editor of a leading paper in this State and leading delegates from various sections of the State.  It may not be improper to state here that they Chairman of the committee, instead of writing the word “white man,” wrote the words “qualified voted,” in order to obviate some of the difficulties and troubles which seemed to have arisen since that time, and it was after due consideration, due deliberation, that the Committee on Platform inserted the words “white man.”  Those are the facts in regard to the preparation of the platform which was presented to the Convention.  In addition to that, Mr. President, at a time when it seemed that the calling of this Convention was in danger, hanging between adoption and rejection, the chairman of the Campaign Committee issued a circular to every member, and they met in pursuance to that call in Birmingham, and in order that the people of the State might be assured thereof without a dissenting voice,


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pledged themselves to stand by the pledges made to the people in Convention assembled, and it was, I have no doubt, that assurance which succeeded in calling together the Convention that is now assembled. Under these circumstances, Mr. President and gentlemen of the Convention, I cannot see, myself, how any man can claim exemption from these obligations, except he be convinced in his own mind that to stand by them would involve his honor under the oath he has taken to support the Constitution of the United States. I would ask no man to violate his oath, but if he can comply with the oath that he has taken, and perform his pledges to the people of Alabama, I see no escape from the duty imposed upon him, not only by the successive meetings of the Democratic party in Convention assembled, but by reason of his personal pledge to carry them out. And I think, Mr. President and delegates of the Convention, that a delegate should examine, impartially, without bias or preference of opinion, desiring to arrive at the truth, and the truth only, as to whether or not he can comply with these pledges and at the same time not violate his oath. I do not think that he should consider it in any other light but simply the light is arriving at the truth, and the truth only. If, therefore, the Committee on Suffrage and Elections has presented to this Convention a system upon the subject of franchise which will enable it to comply with the pledges and at the same time not violate our oaths, it seems to me it is our bounden duty to do so. Mr. President and delegates of the Convention, this government was founded by white people. Its institutions have been preserved and enforced by the white race of this country, and it is within the past few year, that the negro became a qualified voter, and citizen of the United States. In most of the States of this Union the proportion of such voters is so small that their influence is not felt in the general election. It is only in the Southern States that he has become an important factor, and under the present laws is a menace to our civilization, our happiness and prosperity. I would not violate any provision of the Constitution, but it is my opinion that we should go to the utmost limit allowed us to continue in control of this State and its political interests, that race of people which so long has preserved its institutions and brought us through so much trouble, to our present prosperous condition. (Applause.) I hope the Convention will bear with me as I proceed to show that this conclusion is not reached by any prejudice against the negro. There are but few, comparatively, of the old slave ‑ holders who are alive at this time, and who are present in these deliberations. Mr. President, I am not ashamed to say that I was among those few. Not only myself, but my ancestors before me were slave ‑ owners in this State. The third generation back was one who in his feeble way undertook and put at stake his life in order to give validity to the Declaration of Independence, and which resulted in the framing of the Constitution of the United


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States. Protected in his rights, as others were, no man, read in the history of his country, will undertake to say that without such provision the Constitution of the United States would ever have been adopted.  We felt sure, and so did they, that they had a right to regard these persons as property, and that it was secured by the organic law of the country.  So far as the moral question arises, I am one of those old fogy men who believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures, and we are told that Abraham was a friend of God, and Moses was an inspired law-giver, and until some higher authority than the Creator and omniscient God Himself shall arise and declare a different code of morals, I am one prepared to stand justified by the record of that book.  Now, Mr. President and delegates of this Convention, bear with me a few moments.  Born on a plantation, raised up with the negro, I have had an opportunity to know his weak points and his good traits.  Mine may have been the history of others, but I remember well during the Civil War, or the war between the States, sending my negro man from Vicksburg, surrounded as it was, with Federal troops, with a letter to my wife, and he carried it safely home and I never doubted that he would do so.  I wish to say in behalf of this race that at the battle of Missionary Ridge, when I had the misfortune to be shot down, he was inside of the Federal lines for two or three days, and he worked himself out, and found me in the hospital, and waited upon me for three months, and accompanied me home. I wish to say, moreover, for these people that upon my plantation for the great part of the time there was no white man but a negro was in command as superintendent, and my wife and children apprehended no trouble or danger whatever from our slaves.  He was as loyal as a man could be.  This is the history of the negro, as a slave. In 1865, the year that emancipation became effective, I had the fortune to be elected solicitor of the Fifth District, including the counties of Greene, Marengo, Sumter, Pickens, Choctaw, where the negro was most numerous, or perhaps as numerous, as in any counties in this State in proportion to population.  As Solicitor at that time I had every opportunity to judge him and his characteristics, and I venture to say that during that time we heard not of a single case of assault upon our fair women, or of murder, waylaying, or other violations of the law by them of an aggravated character except that of theft, which was then characteristic of the race.  That was his attitude from the year 1869 to the days of reconstruction.  At that time the carpet-bagger arose, and the scalawag in this country, and I do not wish to be understood as saying that all of those who came from the North, and designated as carpet-baggers were bad men, but the majority of them who came here, came not for a good purpose.  Then we had the midnight meetings.  Thousands would gather upon the word sent; inflammatory speeches were made to them, and this peaceful race, within a short time, had developed the character of savages.  The race


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which had been quiet so long converted this whole country into pandemonium. I have seen, with my own eyes, a thousand of them around a ballot box, and not a white man was permitted to reach the ballot box. I have known, delegates of this Convention, 1,500 armed negroes to enter a little village on one occasion, for the purpose of creating consternation and fear among the whites. I have known a judge trying a case, and a Republican judge at that, and under the testimony came to the conclusion that the defendant should be held or committed for trial. I have known these defendants to rise from their seats and deliberately shoot the judge through the head, scattering his brains upon the floor. I know, and the parties are living now, who dressed in Federal uniforms met by appointment known leaders of the negroes and they declared that they  were ready to arise with the axe and the torch and burn and slay men, women and children. I have been told by a delegate upon this floor that he knew of a negro boy 16 years of age who voted sixteen times, once for every year of his age, and defied arrest or investigation under the laws passed in reconstruction days when that race was in power.  We know that our State was pillaged, our counties strangulated, and the main purpose seemed to be that of plunder and destruction. Now I mention these facts for this purpose. Here was a peaceable race of people, obedient in law, and here was pandemonium raised when they were no longer retrained by law, and were inflamed and led. Now what happened at that time ?

MR. GRANT (Calhoun) ‑ Will the gentleman allow cite to interrupt him? I want to say‑

THE PRESIDENT ‑ Does the gentleman yield?

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) ‑ I am discussing the question at this time.

MR. GRANT (Calhoun) ‑ I have a very perfect recollection of all those kind of performances‑

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman will be seated.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene)– At that time, and under those circumstances arose the organization that was denominated Ku Klux. This organization was guilty of excesses and were not countenanced. It soon disappeared.  That was the condition of this country when the people resorted to a more peaceful and effective method securing predominance in this State through the ballot box. I wish the fact of our condition to be known, and while there are those of us alive yet who know these facts. I think they  should not be forgotten. Now if the delegates will consider, since that time, the white race has predominated in this State, and the people who have voted at all elections, and preserved us, have been the white race, and that with regard to literacy or illiteracy.


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They  have all voted, and they have voted from the first establishment of government in this country down to the present time. Contrast these two people.  See what condition we were in when the negro predominated in this State, and made our laws for us, and enforced them, and see our condition when it passed from them back into the hands of the white men. Can anybody look upon those two pictures and come to any conclusion other than that the negro, as a race, is incapable of self-government? and has no appreciation of the duties and obligations of a citizen of a Republican form of government or that the white man, by reason of belonging to the white race, or his education, or some other characteristic, is competent to rule and can be trusted with the State’s government with perfect safety.

The facts cannot be denied, and seem to me sufficient to satisfy everybody of the truth of the preamble to the platform of the Democratic party, that the one race is capable of self-government as a race and the other as a race should not be trusted with the right to vote.  Now, Mr. President, and delegates of the Convention, having these matters in view, having our pledges before us, we have tried to frame an article upon suffrage, which would preserve our institutions, and we have at the same time tried to comply with the Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution, and have admitted to the exercise of suffrage every competent negro in the State.  I do not doubt, and I have heard no man yet say, that every person of the negro race who ought to vote has not been admitted to vote, and the only question that seems to trouble some of our people is whether the white man shall vote, and not the negro. That is what confront us today.  I think it is our duty as Democrats, and as citizens of this State, to comply with our pledges, and admit to the exercise of the franchise every white voter if it can be done legally.  So far as the details of the plan submitted are concerned they will come up as we proceed section by section.  The Committee is not partial to anything they have said or written in the article.  We have presented to you that which seemed to us the best solution, but if any man has anything better than that which we have presented to you, no one will join in its adoption more readily and satisfactorily than my self.  I know full well delegates of this Convention, that during the few years that will be spared to myself and to men of my age, we will be sure to maintain our supremacy and good government.  But we look to conditions that may exist fifteen, twenty or thirty years from now, when the old men will be gone, and when the question will be for the younger members of this Convention, and our children who have not yet arrived at the state of manhood.  That is what we are looking out for; that is what we desire to provide for, and I shall most sincerely invoke your earnestness and ability in solving this great question, which is now under consideration.  We do not believe that it is an insult to confer the franchise upon the descend-

 


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ants of those who wore the gray. It is recorded that Moses of old said to the children of Israel, “Teach the statutes to your children, as you lie down; teach them as you walk in the way and as you get up;”  and we believe that the old Confederate soldier has taught his children to love their country and its laws and government. Mr. President, it is no dishonor to say to a Confederate soldier's son that the State recognizes that you are a better citizen and have a better right to vote than the negro who can read and write. I think it is due him, and I would rather this right hand of mine would become palsied rather than it should write “disfranchise” against one of their names. I would rather my tongue would cleave to the roof of my mouth, before I would pronounce so unjust a sentence against him. Those art, my sentiments upon this question, and I have no doubt, as a lawyer who has investigated the case, that his enfranchisement is perfectly constitutional. Mr. President, I play have been betrayed into saying too much, and I will not say anything more—

Cries of “Go on, Go on.”

MR. COLEMAN ‑ Now, then, to refer rapidly to another provision. Men who have objected to what might be called the “understanding clause” surely have not apprehended its true meaning. Surely, they have not understood that it embodies the Federal law of the United States with reference to naturalization of foreigners; surely they have not considered that before that could be declared unconstitutional, the courts would have to declare unconstitutional the laws which have been adopted by Congress, applicable to the naturalization of foreigners. The thing that troubles me, is not what is now to transpire or to transpire within the next few years, but that which comes after that, and whether the permanent requirements are sufficient or not to protect the people in their rights, the civilization of this country, and the happiness of the people, in the permanent plan. That prescribes a property qualification, are understanding qualification to read and write, and it also provides for those who have been regularly engaged in solve lawful employment for a year. There never was a sentence, or provision, more preverted, or less understood, than that provision in the Article reported by the Committee on Suffrage and Elections. The Committee was at least a day, and a half or two days selecting those words. They used the word "engaged" because it had been often interpreted by the Supreme Court of this State, and it is not, as I have well in the papers, a provision which requires not only that a man should always be employed, but that he should have some profitable employment. There is nothing further from its meaning. We all know that a man is engaged in business when he holds himself out as a party ready for employment. As has been often illustrated in the case of a lawyer ‑ he is engaged in the practice of law whether he has a client or not.


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A physician is engaged in the practice of medicine if he holds himself out as a physician and is really. That is his business without regard to the number of patrons that he may have. The purpose of the qualification was to reach people passing from place to place without employment ‑ tramps, as it were, though not strictly within the definition of the word tramp, as defined in the Code of Alabama. I would willingly accept any substitute or amendment which could reach or supply the end intended by that provision. Mr. President, I believe I will say nothing; more at this time, and move that we take up this report section by section in accordance with the rules of this Convention.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ In the opinion of the chair, the rule adopted this morning will cover the object intended to be secured by the motion just made. The Secretary will read the first section.

The Secretary read Section 1 as follows:

Section 1. Every male citizen of this State who is a citizen of the United State, 21 years old or upwards, not laboring under any of the disabilities named in this Article, and possessing, the qualifications required by it, shall be an elector, and shall be entitled to vote at any election by the people.

MR. BEDDOW ‑ I desire to offer an amendment.

The Secretary read the amendment as follows : “Amend by adding after the words ‘United States’ in the first line of Section 1, the following words, ‘and every male person of foreign birth who, before the adoption of this Constitution, may have legally declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States.”

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The question will be upon the adoption of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson, Mr. Beddow.

MR. BEDDOW ‑ Mr. President, I feel safe, after hearing the learned argument of the chairman of this committee, that this amendment will be adopted without a dissenting voice. As he has truly stated in his argument, the Democratic party of this State is pledged in framing the suffrage Article for our new Constitution. to do it in a manner so as not to disfranchise any white person now entitled to vote under the present Constitution. If Section 1 is adopted as submitted by the committee, there are no doubt thousands of persons throughout the State of Alabama, who are good white citizens, who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States under the laws made and provided therefor, that will be deprived of the right of suffrage. In order to post myself upon this question. I put myself in correspondence with the clerks of the courts of record in my county, and I find that in the


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County of Jefferson there are at least 1,500 white citizens who have declared their intention to become voters, who have not, by reason of the law requiring a residence of five years, been enabled to perfect their citizenship. I feel sure that no member of this Convention has any desire whatever to go back on the pledges so recently made by us to the people of this State, and that this amendment as offered by me will be adopted. By scanning the amendment, it will be seen that it relates only to those who at the time of the adoption of this Constitution have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States. The amendment will speak for itself.

MR. WATTS ‑ I would like to ask the gentleman a question. I understand you to say there are 1,500 citizens who are willing to become citizens of Alabama, but for the inhibition of the law declaring against their voting until they have been here five years.

MR. BEDDOW ‑ No, sir; under the law, the intentions has got to be declared, and they cannot perfect their citizenship for five years.

MR. WATTS ‑ But does not the present Constitution of Alabama give such citizens the right to vote on declaring their intention ?

MR. BEDDOW ‑ It does; yes – but under Section 1 of this Article, they would not be entitled to vote if this Constitution is adopted.

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) ‑ I rise to second the amendment of my colleague, the gentleman from Jefferson. I did not care to interrupt the argument of the distinguished chairman of the committee, because it appeared to me that the first section of the report of the committee does not support what is said. I do not care to tell him we were unwilling for one side of this controversy to get up a monopoly upon the wearing of the grey. I did not care then to say that no one side of this controversy should have a monopoly upon an appeal to history and the recollection of reconstruction times. I thought, Mr. President, as the report of the committee of which the distinguished gentleman from Greene is chairman, was read, it would be found how far the inconsistency existed between the remarks which the gentleman submitted, in so pathetic a manner, and the report and the language that the gentleman sought to put not upon the statute books, but in the organic law of Alabama. The gentleman referred to the declaration often repeated in Democratic conventions, that no white man was to be disfranchised. There is no such provision anywhere in the report of this committee, and the first section of the report of the committee aims to disfranchise those now entitled to vote in Alabama. Mr. Chairman, I second the adoption of the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson.


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MR. CUNNINGHAM ‑ I had in mind precisely the same amendment that was offered by my colleague from Jefferson, Mr. Beddow. I shall not take up the time of the Convention in discussing the merits of  this question, except to say this: I believe that the inhibition  resting upon us in regard to the disfranchisement of white men  applies to those citizens of foreign birth who, under the existing Constitution, have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, and, therefore, have been permitted to vote in State, county and municipal elections.  If I understand the gentleman’s amendment aright, it does not apply to citizens of foreign birth who may hereafter undertake to qualify as citizens in this State.  I will ask the gentleman from Jefferson if that is not his amendment?

MR. BEDDOW– That is my amendment.

MR. CUNNINGHAM– It applies only to those who are here now, and I sincerely hope, Mr. President, and I appeal to this Convention, to adopt that amendment.  I believe it will be a mistake not to do so, because you undoubtedly knock out a great many white citizens of this State who are now qualified voters.  In conclusion, let me say, Mr. President, that for the last eighteen years I have had a very large, and rather extensive, personal experience and business relationship with the foreign population in Jefferson County, and during that entire time, Mr. President, to my personal knowledge, not exceeding half dozen have been convicted of crimes in the State of Alabama.  Only about three have reached the penitentiary of your State and possibly as many or a few more, have been sentenced to hard labor for the county.  In their debt-paying capacity, Mr. President, there is perhaps no one class of citizens in the State of Alabama that excels them; their credit, as a rule, is good; they pay their debts; they are law-abiding citizens.  I will say the majority of them at least vote the ticket of the dominant party of this State.  Already there is some dissatisfaction among this class of our people who believe they are indeed disfranchised under the first section of this ordinance, and I sincerely hope the committee will accept this amendment and urge its being adopted by this Convention.

MR. LONG (Walker)– I am heartily in favor of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson.  I can see no reason why foreigners from the land from which our forefathers came should be disfranchised and others should be infranchised by simply wearing the gray.  I cannot conceive of any banks that would honor the draft of a Confederate soldier and yet recognize the rule of honoring the draft of the son of the Confederate soldier. I cannot conceive why the people in the county of Jefferson, and in my own beloved county of Walker, who have come there to gather the crops that nature makes, and toil beneath the surface of the earth, should be disfranchised because they have not been in the


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State of Alabama five years. I call testify to their virtue, their manhood, and their right of self-government. I can testify further to all that is said, that these people are white people, coming from the land that bore us long, long centuries ago, and from which our forefathers came from across the sea.  If we intend to adopt a war measure, why not go back and adopt European laws as well as the laws of the United States. Why should we say that foreigners are required to reside in the State of Alabama for five long years, when a simple fellow or something of the kind of a Confederate soldier, has not the same restriction placed around him? I appeal in justice and for humanity’s sake, to this Convention not to ignore the right of any white man in my country to vote, who has worked down beneath the soil with a lantern on his head guiding his way, and disfranchise him under this first Section of the report of the Committee on Suffrage.  If we want to do justice to the white man, let us put in the word “white” right in front of the word “male” between the word “male” and “citizen” in the first Section of this Article.   I for one, am in favor of, and strictly in favor of, and will vote for, any amendment to that end, and will take my medicine like a man.  We should say every white male citizen of the United States, or a white person who has declared his intention of becoming a citizen shall have the right to vote, and no one else.  I am in favor of putting that in, and of meeting the issue like men.  There has never yet been a man in the halls of Congress that has dared to deny the right of a State to limit the right of suffrage.  They have put restrictions around it, and provided for punishment for those States that violate it.  What would be the effect if we should put in there “every white male citizen of this State, and every white male citizen of the United States?”  What would be the effect?  We would simply go up and pleat guilty to violating the Fourteenth and undoubtedly the Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution, like a man before the bar of justice that comes up and pleads guilty to carrying concealed weapons.  What is the penalty?  Why the penalty in this case would be to reduce our representation in the Electoral College, and in the Congress of the United States.  I would rather have one white man to represent Alabama then than to have nine now, if we had the words “white male citizens” in our Constitution. I am willing to vote for it. I despise a makeshift.  I detest it.  I am willing to come up to the rack and take my fodder, or no fodder, as the case may be. I do not like a makeshift, and I don’t like this makeshift which disfranchises any of the white people of Alabama. Put the word “white” in there and I will support it. Let us take our medicine like men. Let us go to the congress of the United States and say that Alabama, the first State upon the roll of the United States, recognizes only the white people to vote.  Let us do that like men and take the penalty. I cannot see any objection thereto.

 


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MR. GRANT ‑ Why don't you invite Mr. Pettus to offer his amendment for this thing and vote for it?

MR. LONG– How is that?

MR. GRANT– Why don't you ask Mr. Pettus to offer his ordinance introduced  some days ago and vote can vote for it.

MR. LONG– Mr. President, I have not the honor of knowing to what the gentleman refers.  I know nothing about Mr. Pettus’ ordinance, but if Mr. Pettus’ ordinance stated my proposition, I stand here today as one of 155 men in this Constitutional Convention who is ready, willing and anxious to vote for it.

 MR. GRANT– Why don’t you ask him to introduce it now?

MR. LONG–  Mr. President, what I  do object to is the action of the white people here assembled, that will disfranchise many men in my county simply because they have not been residents of the United States for five years.  I believe in justice to those who are entitled to it.  I believe when the Ark landed long centuries ago and the descendants of Noah started out, that Ham was cursed, and I believe that this is a white man’s country, and that not a single white man should be disfranchised, and I am opposed to the enfranchisement of any negro in the State in Alabama.  Let it be Booker Washington or any one else. I yesterday liked to have been mobbed here, because I wanted to maintain the purity of the Caucasian blood I wanted then and there to put the words “Indian and Chinese in a law prohibitory of marriage, and I heard men upon this floor get up and boast that the proudest blood in Alabama was the blood of the Indian.  I want to state if that blood is proud, it was made so by Caucasian blood, and I want to state further that ours is the blood that God intended to rule the world, and it is only that blood which I recognize that flows in my veins and I believe flows in the veins of the majority of the delegates to this Convention.

Now, Mr. President, I do sincerely hope that the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson  will be adopted. It does not mean the enfranchisement of a single negro, but it means the enfranchisement of many honest white laborers in the State of Alabama, and why should we, the sovereign people of Alabama, violate our pledges here in the first section of this ordinance upon suffrage, and ignore a right that has existed ever since Alabama has been a State in the American Union, and disfranchise some of our best citizens. As far as I am able to, I will always respect that home across the seas from which my forefathers came. I do not think the people that cross the ocean now are any worse than the people that crossed it long centuries ago. I do not believe that we are called here to disfranchise any man simply because he comes from a European country. I do not believe that we are ask‑


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ed to do that, or that the sovereign white people in the State of Alabama will endorse their disfranchisement by the first section of this ordinance on suffrage.  As I stated before, I am willing to allow none but white men to vote, and I shall offer that proposition of no one else does, before this suffrage clause is completed. I am willing to take my medicine like a man.

I am willing to go before the Federal Congress of the United States, before partisans from Ohio and other States, in which the negro holds the balance of power, and say we plead guilty to the charge.  I am willing to say we once hated the American Union. Have the manhood and stand up and say that no one but white people shall be allowed to vote in the State of Alabama. I believe that is the better way to do it.  I believe that this is the only fair way of doing it.  I have no respect for one of these dodging granddaddy clauses, that excuses everybody because his daddy wore the grey.  Some of the sorriest men I ever knew wore the grey. Some of the best men I ever knew wore the grey.  Some of those people, and the descendants of those people, carried with them the mark of rascality written upon their face.  I believe in a clause that will give the white men preference in the State of Alabama and to say that nobody but white men shall vote, but I do protest against the first section in this article, that disfranchises good white men because they have crossed the seas inside of the last five years.

Leave of absence was granted to Mr. Jones (Montgomery) for today, and to Mr. Reese of Dallas for today, and the Convention adjourned.

__________

AFTERNOON SESSION.

The Convention was called to order by the President, and the roll being called showed the presence of 105 delegates.

Leaves of absence were granted Mr. Kyle for tomorrow and Mr. Thompson for yesterday.

THE PRESIDENT– The special order of business for this afternoon will be the consideration of the report of the Committee on Suffrage and Election.  The Convention had under consideration when it adjourned at noon Section 1.  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Mobile.

Mr. Graham (Talladega) took the Chair.

MR. SMITH ( Mobile)– The question as to the difference between the Constitution of 1875 and the provision of the Article reported by the Committee on Suffrage and Elections was considered in the Committee at very considerable length, and the Committee intentionally changed the qualification so as to deprive foreigners who had not become citizens of the United States, but


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who had declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, of the right to become participants in the elections in this State. It was not believed by the Committee that that class of people as a general thing were interested in and attached to a Republican form of government. They come here from various classes, and the largest proportion of emigrants coming to this country are not of the most intelligent or the most desirable class. They are  people that come here for remunerative wages, who seek employment in the mines and the other industrial pursuits of this country. They come here, not seeking the benefits of our governmental institutions, nor seeking the freedom of the United States of America. They know little and care less about the governmental affairs of this country, and many of them live here from year to year and raise families without really knowing the organization of our government, or the system of its laws and legislative enactment. Experience has taught the United States that they are not safe and good citizens until they have lived here at least five years, and shown to the satisfaction of the court by their conduct during that period that they are men of good moral character and attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to our Government and the welfare of the same. If it be true that it takes that length of time to test them, and to test if their purpose here is to enjoy the advantages that are to be derived from this Government, and if we must have an opportunity to observe them and observe their conduct, in order to determine whether they are proper for citizens of the United States, it seemed to the Committee that it would he turning loose an unfit element into the electorate, to allow them to participate in elections in Alabama, until some opportunity is afforded our people for judging of their character and their conduct and their attachments to our form of government. In my section of the State there is a diversity of elements. The Italian comes in, ignorant not only of our law, but of all existing law. The Swede is left there from the ships, with a tendency to freedom and a belief in it. The German, the Scotch and the English of the better classes come there with money and invest in the material interests of our country, but few of them, however, come under all idea that then are bettering themselves in the governmental sense. They come not for freedom, but for business advantages, and there are gentlemen in our community of high standing, of high education, good men and good citizens, who have raised families there, but who are still devoted to the institutions and laws of the country from which they came. I have in mind one who is a good, intelligent, honest, prosperous man, that has been there nearly thirty years. He is married to an American wife, has raised a larger family of children, his every interest is there with him, but he still believes in the government and laws of the Fatherland, and is today sending his children back to Germany to be educated and imbued with the laws and institutions of that country.


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MR. SANFORD (Montgomery) ‑ Has he never declared his intention to become a citizen?

MR. SMITH ‑ Never has, and never will, so far as that is concerned. We have another such there, one of the finest men I ever knew, of fine intelligence and a good citizen. He has become a citizen of the United States, but he has been twenty years making up his mind to see if he is attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and because he was unwilling to say so until recent years, he has waited until this time to take out his papers of citizenship. If men of that character so cherish the memories of the countries from which they come, and remain attached to their principles, what can you expect of the laborer, the man who is without any knowledge as to our form of government, has the customs and laws of his native state instilled into him from childhood, what do  you expect of him, when he comes here? Do you expect him to appreciate our Government, do you expect him to exercise properly the privileges of the franchise, and to do it for the advancement of a Republican Government ?  I think not. Our country is not yet filled with inhabitants, but the tide of immigration increases year by year, and the day may come when the majority of this country will be largely of a foreign element. To allow the foreign element the electorate would place it in their hands to at least modify, if not to control, our institutions, and I believe it to be dangerous to admit any of them to the electorate unless they have not only declared their intention, but have actually become citizens. Many gentleman of the Convention know that a number of them will declare their intention, not because they want to become citizens, but because as voters they want to be brought together in classes, or bunches of twenty ‑ five of fifty, and have their votes sold to candidates for office, and there may be hundreds of their who declare their intention without ever becoming citizens or ever expecting to become citizens of these United States, and I do not believe that the electorate ought to be thrown down before these people to be used as a mere matter of merchandise. It was in consideration of these views that the Committee changed the language in the old Constitution and excluded these people. The argument here, however, has been made that a number of these people were already qualified voters at the time the declaration was made by the Democratic Convention that no white man would be disfranchised, and while, when I came here I was so green in politics as to believe that the State Convention had exceeded its powers, and had no power to bind me as a member of the Constitutional Convention, and ,while I came here I had no idea of obeying the dictates of that platform; yet, when I got here and found myself in association with a large number of gentlemen who looked at it from an entirely different standpoint, who thought they were bound by that platform, and had pledged themselves to the observance of it, I


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thought, therefore, whatever might have been my individual views, the fact that this Convention, as a Convention, was bound and tied by the platform, I would become ridiculous to set myself up to kick against the great majority of its members, and I concluded to lay aside my personal views and to act in all other matters in this Convention as if I believed that the platform was binding on me in every word and letter, and I shall, therefore, vote consistently throughout for the observance of the terms of the platform, because I believe that the majority of the Convention are bound to do so.  Now, in considering this question, it had not occurred to us that there was anything in the platform that made it necessary that we should admit any portion of this vote which we thought ought not, upon principle, to be admitted to the electorate, but the discussion that has taken place here inclines me to think that I was mistaken in that, and I am inclined to think that under the platform, we are obliged to allow those white people of foreign birth, who were qualified voters at the time of their declaration was made, to remain qualified voters under this Constitution, and, therefore, I think it is the sense of the committee to accept that modification that has been made by the resolution that has been offered, but I desire to offer an amendment providing that if these same people who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States shall fail to become citizens after they have had an opportunity to do so, that then they shall cease to participate in the electorate of this State, and I offer that resolution.

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery)– When it says any white man, didn’t it have reference to citizens of the United States born or naturalized?  It could not have reference to men who were not citizens of this country.

MR. SMITH– As I said, I am not a good interpreter of that platform, because I was a kicker against it, and I have taken the interpretation of the gentlemen who feel themselves bound by it, and they think that every man who could vote at that time was within the meaning of the platform, whether he had become a citizen of the United States or not, and I am abiding by the interpretation that I have received.

The Secretary read the amendment of Mr. Smith as follows:

“Provided, that all such foreigners who had declared their intention  to become citizens of the United States, shall cease to have a right to vote if they shall fail to become citizens of the United States after they are entitled to become such citizens."

MR. SAMFORD (Pike)‑ I would like to have both of the amendments read together.

The Secretary read the amendments as follows: "Amend by adding after the words ‘United States’  in  the first line of Section 1,


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the following words, 'and every male person of foreign birth who before the adoption of this Constitution, may have legally declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States; provided, that all such foreigners who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, shall cease to have a right to vote if they fail to become citizens of the United States after they are entitled to become such citizens.”

MR. SAMFORD (Pike)- I am not a member of the Committee on Suffrage, but no man in this Convention has the question closer to his heart than I have. There is no member on this floor who would go as far or further to protect the interests of every white man and every black man in this State than I would, and there is no man in this Convention who would go further to guarantee to the people of Alabama white supremacy than I would, and thee is no man within the sound of my voice who would be further from disfranchising any white voter of the State of Alabama than he who speaks to you now; but, Mr. President, the man who is not a citizen of the State of Alabama does not come within the pledges made by the Democratic party in their conventions that have preceded this Convention. I will admit that upon first blush, it occurred to me that the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson was the proper thing to do. That, perhaps, it would be wise, to incorporate it in our organic law, but we have no more right to extend the right of franchise to men who are not citizens of the State of Alabama—

MR. SAMFORD (Montgomery)- And of the United States.

MR. SAMFORD (Pike)- And who lived within its borders, than to those who own property here and live on the outside of its borders.

MR. LOWE (Jefferson)-Will the gentleman permit an interruption?

MR. SAMFORD (Pike)-No, sir-yes, I will: I beg pardon; I will permit the interruption.

MR. LOWE-I want to ask the gentleman if there is such a thing in the platform changing any provision of the Constitution regulating the right of a white man. I ask the gentleman in that connection, if the proposition of the committee does not alter the existing Constitution as to the right of a white man to vote?

MR. SAMFORD (Pike)-No man in this Convention would be further from violating a pledge of the Democratic party with reference to the suffrage than I would be, but when I say that, I mean the intent and spirit of the platform, and not its letter-not necessarily its letter. There can be no good reason why men who are of foreign birth, who have come to our friendly shores, and       who have engaged in our manufactories, engaged in working out


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mines for the dollars and cents that come to them, should be permitted to participate in our republican forms of government before they have learned the alphabet of a republican form of government. There is no sense in placing the elective franchise in the hands of a man who has not become familiar, either by, education or by study or by having it instilled into him from his youth up-I say there is reason why a man who has not become educated to a republican form of Government should have the right of exercising this two ‑ edged sword. He owes no obligation nor allegiance to this people, he owns no property in this State, he has no sympathy, perhaps, with the great destiny of this people, and yet, forsooth, we give him the right of casting a ballot which has been said to a two ‑ edged sword, and cuts on both sides. I, for one, am not willing to incorporate in our organic law a clause that will give to people of all entirely different view of government the right to exercise the franchise and assist in maintaining this government until they have at least had a few years in which to consider our forms of government. It may be true that at the present time there are comparatively few of these citizens within our borders. It may be true that for the present they are confined to a few hundred in the magnificent county of Jefferson and to a few more hundreds in the splendid county of Mobile, but as has been said by the gentleman from Mobile, the tide of immigration is turning our way. The  immigrants from the old countries are flowing into the beautiful southland, the immigrants-whenever  they call ‑ from China, are coming to the beautiful Southland, the people of the civilized world are beginning, to see the beauties, of our climate, and the glories of our soil, and the tide of immigration has turned in our direction. Put  within our borders a few thousand of the men who for some time have assisted in shaping the destinies of Chicago and the great cities of the Northwest, and I say to you here, I Would rather ten thousand times have the illiterate negro vote continue to cast the franchise. Mr. President, I hope that neither of these amendment adopted by this Convention, but that the Convention will submit itself to the wise, to the careful and to the powerful conclusions of this splendid committee that they have appointed to frame this instrument.

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery) ‑ I quite concur with the gentleman from Pike in supporting the report of the Committee as it came from that body. It give to every male citizen of this State, who is a citizen of the United States, the right to vote. The amendments propose to give to citizens of foreign countries the right to vote who may not even have resided two years in the State of Alabama. A citizen owning land here, a citizen of Great Britain owning land here may come to the city of Montgomery, for instance, be pleased with the social surroundings, and declare his intention to become a citizen. He goes back home, he remains several years, he comes back, he never has perfected his citizenship


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and yet an election is held and he chooses to vote. He votes for the electors for President, for the Governor, for your legislature, for your Congressman, for your judges of every court, from justice of the peace to the Supreme Court. Now it does seem to me that men who have no interest in this country should not be permitted to vote at the elections. To those gentlemen who have so much sympathy for the foreigner who has merely declared his intention, let me say that I have quite as much, and that I have canvassed Alabama in behalf of the rights of foreign citizens when many of those gentlemen were not born, or were playing, marbles in the school ‑ yards. I have always been the friend of the foreigner, it is a fact well known where I live but I do not believe that any  foreigner, however wise, virtuous or worthy he may be, has a right to participate in this government unless he is in a condition to bear its burdens. A foreigner here who has declared his intention cannot be compelled to bear arms in defense of the State, he cannot be enlisted in your police, he cannot be recruited for any purpose, and, therefore, it seems to me, that he who cannot be compelled to support the government should not have the privilege of making its policies and of voting for its chief officers. I hope that the amendments will not be adopted by this Convention I call see no reason why a man from Italy or Turkey or any of the Caucasian countries may have the privilege of voting in Alabama when he merely said, ‘I would like to be a citizen." The government requires certain facts to be proven. He must be proven to be a man of good moral character, he must be proven to be attached to republican institutions, and if that is the experience of the statute of naturalization, he cannot become a citizen of Alabama unless he is a citizen of the United States by birth or by the process required by its naturalization laws. It does not require him to be five years in Alabama ‑ as one of my friends suggested ‑ he must be a resident of the United States five years before he can become a citizen, and yet we give him all the rights of citizenship it he happens to declare his intention and comes to Alabama under the proposed amendments and remains two years in the State. I do not think it is just to other citizens of the country. Men may own thousands of acres of land here, they put their tenants, foreigners upon these lands, they may teach them to declare their intention, they become voters at once and then they have an influence in your elections far beyond what was contemplated when the tenantry was settled upon the lands of Alabama. I hope, Mr. President, that the section reported by this Committee will be adopted without amendment.

MR. KNOX ‑ I do not desire to discuss the question at any length, but I simply want to say that I fully agree with the gentleman from Pike and the gentleman from Montgomery who have spoken against these amendments. I may be mistaken, but my recollection is, Mr. President, that the States of South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and North Carolina, that have dealt with


2727

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

this subject have taken this view. They have embodied the same provision with reference to the participation of foreigners in the exercise of the right of suffrage that our Committee on Suffrage has done. It is not a disfranchisement of these people. It simply provides that they cannot merely declare their intention and remain citizens of foreign countries. Many of them, I am informed, declare their intention and never get any further. They never prove up and comply with the requirement of the act of Congress, and many of them, it may be, cannot comply, because the act of Congress, Mr. President, requires that they must be able and ascribe up to the conditions which our Committee on Suffrage have required. They must prove that they are men of good character, that they have behaved and conducted themselves as good citizens before they can comply, and it may be that many of them fail to comply because of their inability to do so. They are not disfranchised by this provision. They play go on  If their conduct and character is such as to enable them to do so and qualify themselves for citizenship. It seems to me that it is only reasonable to expect and to require that they should do so. I am in favor of the provision as it was originally reported by the committee.

MR. deGRAFFENREID-I desire to state that I agree with the gentleman from Pike and it seems to me that it is absolutely unnecessary for this section to be encumbered with either one of these amendments. It also seems to me that in refusing to adopt them we will not violate any statement that was made in the Democratic platform. If the members of this Convention will read carefully this report that comes from this committee, they will find that all men who are now entitled to vote under the laws of Alabama will be entitled to vote in all elections except the general election in 1902, and that this Constitution so far as its limitation upon suffrage is concerned, will not go fully into effect prior to 1903. If the majority report of the Committee on Suffrage is adopted by, this Convention, no election after the election in 1902 will be held for State officers until 1906, so that any than who has already declared his intention to become a citizen of this State will have the opportunity under the general laws of the United States to perfect his intention by becoming a citizen, before this Constitution goes fully into effect. I do not think. Mr. President, as we propose to cut from the electorate many men who have been born and raised to manhood in Alabama, and who are citizens of this State, that we should permit people who are foreigners by virtue of a mere declaration and who, perhaps, not only do not understand anything about our institutions, but are perhaps unable to speak our language, to aid us in electing officers who will in the future frame our laws. I believe that this provision as reported by the committee which comes with the endorsement of every member of the committee, appears in all the modern Constitutions of the


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States, and that it should be adopted by this Convention without change or amendment.

MR. KIRKE ‑ I rise to support the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson as amendment by the gentleman from Mobile. I think a strict adherence to the pledges of the Democratic party requires the adoption of that amendment.  That amendment, as I understand it, applies alone to those of foreign birth who, under the present Constitution, should have a the right of franchise. I would oppose the amendment if it went any further in extending the privilege of franchise to the foreigner. But I do believe it is the duty of this Convention to adhere literally to the pledges of the Democratic party upon that proposition, and I might say in this connection Mr. President, that notwithstanding the great clamor that has been made against the grandfather clause, I believe it is one of the best provisions that has been reported by the committee. It is true that that grandfather clause applies to the temporary plan, but if we adhere to the pledge, of the party, we must incorporate in the permanent plan the grandfather clause. I believe it is our duty to see that no white man in the State of Alabama is disfranchised by the Constitution that we, are framing; now. The pledges of the party have gone out to every white man, and as I said a moment ago, the great clamor against the grandfather clause does not emanate, Mr. President, from the masses of the voters in this State. They want it, and it is necessary that we incorporate that clause in the Constitution before we submit it to the people for ratification. But that question will be discussed later in the consideration of this report. I trust, gentlemen, that you will support the amendment to this section of the committee's report.

MR. FERGUSON ‑ I rise to support the amendment offered by my colleague from Jefferson, and also the amendment offered by the gentleman from Mobile, as I believe it to be reasonable. We have a clause in the Declaration of Rights declaring that emigration shall be encouraged in the State of Alabama. Can we encourage emigration to this State unless we give the right to people coming here as emigrants to participate in the affairs of government? I believe that was what induced the framers of the Constitution of 1875 to embody that provision in the Constitution of this State. I believe that is what induced the framers of the Constitution of the United States to recognize the naturalization of foreign citizens.

Now, Mr. President, I desire to add my mead of praise to what has been said of the foreign born citizens of Jefferson county. I have been a solicitor in that county for well nigh thirteen years, and have attended its courts and its grand juries and I desire to say that it is rare, indeed, when you find them defendants in the criminal courts of that country. They are frugal and industrious


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

people, as a body in the main. They are home ‑ builders. Mr. President, a great many of them. Many of them have builded homes in Jefferson County, and many of their little communities have erected churches there for the worship of Almighty God. It is true, as said by the gentleman from Mobile, that many of them do not conceive the good purposes of citizenship. That applies to but one or two nationalities; but the great bulk of the foreignborn citizenship of  Jefferson County do appreciate the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, and will know and recognize the principles of republican form of government. They have taken an active interest in politics, and as a general rule they have stood by the dominant party in this State in many close contests.  I will support, Mr. President, the amendment offered by my colleague from Jefferson, and also the amendment to the amendment offered by the gentleman from Mobile.

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery) ‑ There is nothing that prevents them from voting or holding office after they have been naturalized. It is before they are naturalized that we are objecting to their voting.

MR. FERGUSON ‑ I think the amendment offered by the gentleman from Mobile is entirely, reasonable and covers that point.

MR. DENT (Barbour) ‑ I just desire to add a word or two upon that amendment but before I do that, I desire to say I have heard a great deal said in reference to party pledges and the pledges contained in the platform. I do not propose to violate what a consider the spirit of the pledges of the Democratic party, but, while I am upon my feet, I propose to present my views of those pledges for what they are worth to this Convention. We are pledged here not to disfranchise any white man. I take it that that means that we are not to do it if we can avoid it and prepare and make a Constitution that will be beneficial and acceptable to the people of Alabama. But, Mr. Chairman, there is another view of this question , Which has occurred to me and which I have heard discussed, and I want to illustrate. Now, if the convention was going to adopt a Constitution without submitting it flack to the people, we should certainly be very careful to preserve the pledges that we made them ; but that, I presume, in fact, I am satisfied, is not to be the case. Whatever Constitution we make will be submitted back to the people of the State of Alabama for their ratification or their rejection. Now, let me illustrate my view of the principle that is involved. We represent the people of Alabama as their agents. Now, a principal sends out his agent to make a contract for him, and he limits him in making the contract, stating that he is to make the contract in a particular way and in a particular manner and have in it particular conditions. The agent goes and finds that it is impracticable to make such a contract, as his principal has prescribed, but he in the exercise of


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

his discretion, makes a contract upon the condition that it shall be ratified  by his principal. He makes that contract and submits it back to his principal and says: "Here, I could not make the contract literally as you gave me instructions to make it, but I made a contract as near to it as I could and which I think will be beneficial to you, and you have the right now to say whether you will stand by that contract or reject it." If he does that, I want to know who is hurt?

If we make a Constitution here, doing the very best we can, for what would be to the very best interests of the people of Alabama, suppose we do violate in letter some of the pledges made by the Democratic party in its platform; if we refer it back to the people, and they accept it, who is hurt by it?

But now I come back to the amendment. I do not believe that the man who is not a citizen of Alabama should have the right to select the men to make its laws and to enforce them. Do you know, Mr. President, that there are but five States in the forty-five that compose the Union of States in this country that have this principle engrafted in the organic law, Alabama being one of them? Take out Alabama, and we have about four or five left States in the Northwest where this element dominates and controls. You go to the great States like New York and Ohio and Illinois and Pennsylvania, and States like them, and they have no such provision. In fact, as I have said, only a few States like them, and they have no such provision. In fact, as I have said, only a few States in the Northwest, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin, and perhaps some others that I do not recall, have this provision of allowing aliens to vote.

I say take history. Isn't it worth something to the people of Alabama? Isn't it worth something as a guide to those who are making a Constitution for Alabama that out of forty ‑ five States in the Union less than five have this principle engrafted in their Constitutions? I hope the amendment will be voted down.

The President  here took the chair.

MR. DAVIS (Etowah) ‑ Mr. President, I favor the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson as amended by the amendment of the gentleman from Mobile. I believe that this is the time of all times when we should not stand on hair ‑ splitting technicalities and say that we are going to adopt the spirit of the platform, but that we are at liberty to depart from the letter of the pledge. I believe that this report of the Suffrage Committee is a magnificent production. It far exceeded  my expectations, although I expected a report from them that would be a credit to this State, and yet, as high as I have regarded it, I saw this morning, to the mind, an imperfection, and that will be cured if this amendment is adopted. Now, Mr. President, it occurs to me that if we should


2731

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

vote down these amendments, and thereby strike from the electorate of Alabama solve of the white people of the State who have heretofore enjoyed the privilege of voting, that when we go back in the hall to advocate the adoption of this Constitution, the people of Alabama, who are not so intelligent as those in this Convention may say, "You have stricken out a part of the white people of Alabama who where entitled to vote." They cannot understand this suffrage report as a whole, for we were so hedged in by the Fifteenth Amendment on the one side, and the pledges of the Party on the other, that it is necessarily complex, and I believe, Mr President, that a large number ‑ they large mass ‑ of the voters of this State will have to take that suffrage plank on faith from the members of this Convention, and others from the State, who will go out and advocate the adoption of the Constitution and of this particular plank,‑ I say I believe they will not be able to understand it thoroughly, and will have to vote on faith largely.

Now, then, if it is brought up on this plain, pure principle, this simple proposition, it will be urged by the opposition that you have disfranchised a part of the white people of Alabama, in that vote have taken from those who heretofore had the right to vote that right, and we cannot gainsay, it, but will have to stand silent and admit that we have disfranchised a certain part of them.

How, then, can we expect them to believe this suffrage report and believe that we have not disfranchised them further? There is no man in this Convention, who is more opposed to the foreignborn element coming in and usurping the functions of government and participating in shaping our laws than I am, and I heartily favor the provision in this report which says that after a certain day all foreigners coming in must hew to the line and become citizens of the United States before they can avail themselves of the privilege of voting, but those who are at present entitled to vote are a mere handful and the amendment of the gentleman from Mobile and which I thoroughly indorse goes to the extent of saying that even they shall not continue to enjoy the privilege of voting, if they do not carry out their intention of becoming citizens, indeed. I trust, Mr. President, that, in the incipiency of the discussion of this suffrage report, we will not violate either the spirit or the letter of the pledge, and I hope the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson as amended by the gentleman from Mobile will be adopted.

MR. BULGER- If I understand the Section as reported by the Committee and the purpose of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson, it seems to be that it would be unwise to change anything in this Section as reported by the Committee. The framers of the fundamental law of the whole country foresaw the question with which ,we are confronted this evening. They put in the first article of the Constitution of the United States a pro‑


2732

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

vision leaving to Congress the power to settle this question, and the Congress of the United States, in  their wisdom, saw that five years was little enough for a foreigner to come to this country and become a citizen. On the other hand, Mr. President, here is a young man of America, born on American soil, who is educated in the English language, trained in American colleges in the arts and sciences of our government, and who at 20 years of age is not permitted to vote, and yet right by his side, a foreigner who has only been in this country but a few days has only to declare – not to become a citizen, but to declare ‑ his intention to become a citizen, and he is entitled to vote. I say, Mr. President, it breaks down the theory of the government when you permit such a thing, The great moving principle that called this Convention together was to purify the ballot. You may pass all article on the suffrage that will strike down every colored voter in the land and if you leave the foreign element, about which I have heard, still to vote, the ballot will be far from pure. The honest, capable negro, who has been born and raised in America, in my humble judgment, is better qualified to vote even when the foreigner has been here for a term of five years. It seems to me that the Committee which has so faithfully and so ably presented to this Convention the Article on the great and all ‑ important question of the suffrage has acted wisely when they put this simple change from the old Constitution which, with the negro stricken out, the strange foreigner will be stricken out and our ballot will be pure. I desire to register not only my vote, but to register my voice against both of the amendments and in favor of the Section.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene)  ‑ Mr. President, no thoughtful man can underestimate the important of the question which are presented to you for consideration.  The  future prosperity of this State depends upon how these question are solved. As has been told you, the Committee struggled with this provision for nearly two days, discussing it in all its various aspects. We were aware of the views that had been presented by the distinguished gentleman from Jefferson, and there were counteracting views from other portions of the State. There were delegates who took the same view of some of the delegates here that there was a technical violation, perhaps in their own minds it may have been, but that question was not discussed before the Committee. The great question presented to the Committee was what was the best suffrage plan we could devise for the good of the whole State, and you have the result before you. It is the purpose of the Committee to present its view, to let this Convention know what it thought best, belt upon these points to place the responsibility of the choice with the delegates here assembled. The Committee will make no objection to any action taken by this Convention. We are after the very best plan that can be ascertained and adopted. I think the question has been sufficiently discussed, and while I would not cut off


2733

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

any gentleman from expressing his views, I believe it is time to move the previous question upon the adoption of the substitute of the gentleman from Mobile and the amendment by the gentleman from Jefferson and the original Section presented in the report of the Committee.

THE PRESIDENT-The question is, shall the main question be now put?

Upon a vote being taken the main question was ordered.

MR. BEDDOW ‑ Under the rules regulating the debate on the suffrage question, I believe I have the right to close.

THE  PRESIDENT ‑ The right to close would be with the Chairman of the Committee.

MR. BEDDOW- Upon reading this resolution, I believe I would have the right to close.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ Will the gentleman please read the resolution ?

Mr. Beddow thereupon read the resolution as follows:

Resolution No. 255, by Rules Committee:

Resolved, that the rules of the Convention limiting debate be suspended when the report of the Suffrage Committee is taken up for consideration, and that each delegate be allowed to speak once, and not longer than thirty minutes upon any proposition presented by the report of the Committee any amendment thereto, except that the Chairman of the Committee or mover of the amendment, or such delegate as such Chairman or mover may ‑ yield his time to, may, after the previous question has been ordered, close the debate, and in so doing may speak for a like period of thirty minutes; provided, that the time here limited may be extended by a majority of the delegates voting without a suspension of the rules.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Chair will state that the same question has been presented several times before, and the construction which the gentleman from Jefferson put upon it would be true if the motion for the previous question was limited to the amendment.  If the motion for the previous question in this case was limited to the adoption of the amendment, the gentleman proposing the amendment would have the right to conclude, but where the previous question, as in this case, is directed to the section, only one person can conclude under the rule, and the ruling of the Chair before has been (and the Chair still thinks it is correct) to give that right to conclude to the Chairman of the Committee, because upon this issue not only the amendment, but the original section is involved.


2734

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) ‑ I move that the rules be suspended and that the gentleman front Jefferson be allowed to close the debate.

THE PRESIDENT-It is moved that the rule, be suspended and the gentleman from Jefferson be allowed to close the debate. Possibly the Chairman of the Committee would yield the floor to him.

MR. COLEMAN- I  yield the floor to him, but still I retain the right to close if I see proper.

THE PRESIDENT- Chairman of the Committee yields ten minutes of his time to the gentleman from Jefferson.

MR. BEDDOW-I desire to thank the chairman of the Committee. There have been some good arguments on the question of who should not be allowed to vote in our elections, but the serious question in the matter eve are taking under consideration here is not who would be a good voter, but who would be a poor voter, in the contemplation of the new Constitution we are about to frame. The question that confronts us at the very outset, in the very first section of the article, and the first line of that section  is shall we, as the representatives of our constituents in this Constitutional Convention stand up and abide by the pledges that we made our people before we were elected to this Constitutional Convention. When the dominant party of this State met in convention, they adopted a platform in which these words were used: "That no white voter shall be disfranchised except for infamous crime." "No white voter." There is no other construction that can be put upon that than that no man who, at the time he voted for us as delegates for this Convention, and who had the right at that time to vote, should be disfranchised. When we met in Birmingham  to consult together, we, by the unanimous vote of every delegate present, in the rooms of the Commercial Club, indorsed, ratified and pledge ourselves to stand up to those pledges, and now we are confronted as I say in the very first paragraph ‑ the very first line ‑ and asked to go lack on our pledges, and disfranchise possibly 5,000 or 6,000 citizen; and voters of the State of Alabama. Some gentleman has seen fit to say that these foreigners are unworthy of a vote. There are men in my county who are the peer in intellect, who are of foreign birth, and who are not naturalized, of any gentleman upon this floor. There are men in my county who, if this clause was adopted, would be disfranchised, who favored the calling of this Convention and who thought when we made these promises that we made them in good faith. Some gentlemen seek to dodge the question by saying that it will be submitted back to the people for ratification, and the gentleman who spoke from the County of Barbour indicated as much. But if we violate our pledge in that respect, have we not the same


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

right to go further and say that we will not submit it in one instance, you may do it in another.

Mr. President, from the time of the landing of the Pilgrim fathers upon this continent, America has always been the refuge and the haven for the oppressed of other nations in quest of liberty and law.  Shall we refrain from holding out to them those same blessings? Shall we take a back step?  Shall we go back on our pledges? Go back on the friends who voted to send us here and stand up here as the poet says.

That friendship to us is ambition's ladder, Whereto the climber upward turns his face, But when he once attains the upmost round He then to the ladder turns his back Looks into the crowd and scorns The base course by which he did ascend.

These pledges I made to my people are just as binding to me today in the halls of this Convention as the day I made them, and if we never have suffrage reform until I am required to go back on the pledges I made my people, I say by my vote we will never have it. I believe that is all I care to say on this question. It has been discussed at length. It has been ably discussed from every standpoint, but I say to you, if you forget your pledges, this Constitution will not be ratified and we ought not to hope for its ratification.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) ‑ The provisions in the Democratic platform is as follows: "that we pledge our faith to the people of Alabama not to deprive any white man of the right to vote except for conviction of infamous crime," etc.

The question for you to consider is this: Whether it deprives any white man from qualifying himself to vote by becoming a citizen of the United States. If he fails to become a citizen of the United States, he cannot vote, but if he becomes a citizen of the United States, then he has the right to vote, if he possesses the other qualifications. As I stated before, you have heard distinguished men ‑ distinguished lawyers ‑ discuss that question. What is best for the people of Alabama under all the circumstances? There is a pledge, and you have heard the opinion of the attorneys learned in the law upon the question. I call for the previous question.

The ayes and noes were called for and the call sustained.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM. ‑ The question is upon the amendment offered by the gentleman from Mobile to the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson to the section as reported by the committee.


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

The amendment was again read, and upon the call of the roll the vote resulted as follows:

AYES.

Almon,

Heflin, of Randolph,

Palmer,

Ashcraft,

Henderson,

Parker (Cullman),

Barefield,

Hinson,

Parker (Elmore),

Beavers,

Hodges,

Pettus,

Bethune,

Hood,

Pitts,

Blackwell,

Howell,

Proctor,

Brooks,

Howze,

Renfro,

Burnett,

Inge,

Reynolds, of Henry,

Burns,

Jackson,

Rogers ( Lowndes),

Carmichael, of Colbert,

Jenkins,

Samford,

Chapman,

Jones, of Bibb,

Sanders,

Cobb,

Jones, of Montgomery,

Searcy,

Coleman, of Greene,

Jones, of Wilcox,

Selheimer,

Coleman, of Walker,

Kirk,

Sentell,

Cunningham,

Kyle,

Smith (Mobile),

Davis, of DeKalb,

Ledbetter,

Smith, Mac. A.,

Davis, of Etowah,

Leigh,

Smith, Morgan M..,

Duke,

Locklin,

Sorrell,

Eley,

Lomax,

Spragins,

Eyster,

Macdonald,

Stewart,

Espy,

Malone,

Thompson,

Ferguson,

Martin,

Waddell,

Gilmore,

Maxwell.

Walker,

Glover,

Merrill,

Watts,

Graham, of Talladega,

Miller (Wilcox),

Weatherly,

Grayson,

Norman,

Whiteside,

Greer, of Perry,

Oates,

Williams (Barbour),

Handley,

O'Neal (Lauderdale),

 Milliams (Marengo),

Harrison,

O’Neill, of Jefferson,

Wilson (Clarke),

Heflin, of Chambers.

Opp,

Wilson (Wash’gton),

Total ‑ 90.

NOES.

Messrs. President,

Foshee,

Reynolds (Chilton),

Altman,

Freeman,

Rogers (Sumter),

Banks,

Graham, of Montgomery,

Sanford,

Bartlett,

Knight,

Sloan,

Beddow,

Love, of Jefferson.

Spears,

Bulger,

McMillan, of Baldwin,

Tayloe,

Craig,

Moody,

White,

Dent,

Norwood,

Winn,

deGraffenreid,

Phillips,

Fitts,

Pillans,

Total ‑ 28.


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING.

Boone,

Haley,

O'Rear,

Browne,

Jones, of Hale,

Pearce,

Byars,

King,

Porter,

Cardon,

Kirkland,

Reese,

Carmichael, of Coffee,

Long, of Butler,

Robinson,

Carnathon,

Long, of Walker,

Sollie,

Case,

Lowe, of Lawrence,

Stoddard,

Cofer,

McMillan (Wilcox),

Vaughan,

Cornwall,

Miller (Marengo),

Weakley,

Fletcher,

Morrisette,

Willet,

Foster,

Mulkey,

Williams (Elmore).

Grant,

Murphree,

Greer, of Calhoun,

NeSmith,

By a vote of ninety ayes to twenty ‑ eight noes, the amendment offered by Mr. Smith (Mobile) was adopted.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) ‑ A parliamentary inquiry.  Does the defeat of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson have the effect to leave the section as originally reported by the committee?

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM.- In the opinion of the Chair it would.  The question is upon the adoption of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson.

MR. BEDDOW ‑ I call for the ayes and noes upon that.

A DELEGATE ‑ They have been ordered‑‑

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM. ‑ The Chair is not certain whether they were ordered on this proposition.  Is the call sustained?

The call was sustained and they amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson was read.

MR. CUNNINGHAM (Jefferson) ‑ I rise to a parliamentary inquiry. If the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson is defeated, leaving the present section as it stands, will it not have the effect to disfranchise white foreign voters who are now entitled to vote?

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM. ‑ In the opinion of the Chair that is not a parliamentary inquiry, but one for the courts of the country.

MR. deGRAFFENREID- I will ask if it would have that effect, if such foreigners should qualify themselves as citizens?

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM. ‑ The Chair is of the same opinion in regard to that inquiry.


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. OATES ‑ I rise for the purpose of making a suggestion.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM. ‑ The previous question having been ordered, discussion is out of order.

Upon the call of the roll, the vote resulted as follows:

AYES.

Almon,

Greer, of Perry,

O' Neill (Jefferson),

Ashcraft,

Handley,

O'Neal (Lauderdale),

Barefield,

Heflin, of Chambers,

Opp,

Beddow,

Heflin, of Randolph,

Parker (Cullman),

Bethune,

Hinson,

Pettus,

Blackwell,

Hodges,

Proctor,

Brooks,

Howell,

Reynolds (Henry),

Burnett,

Howze,

Reynolds (Chilton),

Carmichael, of Colbert,

Jackson,

Rogers (Lowndes),

Chapman,

Jenkins,

Sanders,

Cobb,

Jones, of Bibb,

Searcy,

Cofer,

Jones, of Montgomery,

Sentell,

Cunningham,

Kirk,

Smith, Mac. A.,

Davis, of Etowah,

Leigh,

Sorrell,

Duke,

Lomax,

Spragins,

Eley,

Lowe (Jefferson),

Stewart,

Espy,

Macdonald,

Thompson,

Ferguson,

Malone,

Vaughan,

Fitts,

Martin,

Weatherly,

Gilmore,

Maxwell,

White,

Glover,

Merrill,

Whiteside,

Graham, of Montgomery,

Miller (Wilcox),

Williams (Barbour),

Grayson,

Norman,

Williams (Marengo),

Total ‑ 69.

NOES.

Messrs. President,

Harrison,

Parker (Elmore),

Altman,

Henderson,

Palmer,

Banks,

Hood,

Phillips,

Bartlett,

Inge,

Pillans,

Bulger,

Jones, of Wilcox,

Pitts,

Coleman, of Greene,

Knight,

Renfro,

Coleman, of Walker,

Kyle,

Rogers (Sumter),

Craig,

Ledbetter,

Samford,

Davis, of DeKalb,

Locklin,

Sanford,

Dent,

McMillan (Baldwin),

Selheimer,

deGraffenreid,

McMillan (Wilcox),

Sloan,

Eyster,

Moody,

Smith (Mobile),

Foshee,

Norwood,

Smith, Morgan M.,

Graham, of Talladega,

Oates,

Spears,

 


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

Tayloe,

Watts,

Winn.

Waddell,

Wilson (Clarke),

Walker,

Wilson (Wash’gton),

Total ‑ 49.

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING.

Beavers,

Grant,

NeSmith,

Boone,

Greer, of Calhoun,

O'Rear,

Browne,

Haley,

Pearce,

Burns,

Jones, of Hale,

Porter,

Byars,

King,

Reese,

Cardon,

Kirkland,

Robinson,

Carmichael, of Coffee,

Long (Butler),

Sollie,

Carnathon,

Long (Walker),

Studdard,

Case,

Lowe (Lawrence),

Weakley,

Cornwall,

Miller (Marengo),

Willet,

Fletcher,

Morrisette,

Williams ( Elmore),

Foster,

Mulkey,,

Freeman,

Murphree,

So the amendment  to the amendment was stopped..

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM- The question recurs upon the adoption of the section as amended.

Upon a viva voce vote the section as amended was adopted.

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) ‑ I desire to move a suspension of the rules for the purpose of extending the privileges of the floor to the distinguished representative of the Fourth District. One who has done as much, I believe, as any other man to render possible the holding of this Convention. the Hon. S. J .Bowie.

Upon a vote being taken the rules were suspended. and upon a further vote the motion was unanimously adopted.

Section 2 was read as follows:

Sec. 2. To entitle a citizen to vote at any election by the people, he shall have resided in the State at least two years, in the county one year, and in the precinct or ward three months immediately preceding the election at any which he offers to vote, and he shall have been duly registered as in elector, and shall have paid on or before the first day of February next preceding the date of the election at which he offers to vote, all poll taxes due from him for the year 1901, and for each subsequent year; provided, that any elector, who, within three months next preceding the date of the election at which he offers to vote, has removed from one precinct or ward to another precinct or ward in the same county, incorporated town or city, shall have the right to vote in the precinct or ward from which he has so removed, if he would have been entitled to vote in such precinct or ward but for such removal.


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

THE PRESIDENT-The question is upon the adoption of Section 2.

MR. LOWE ( Jefferson)- I have an amendment.

The Secretary read the amendment as follows: “Amend Section 2 by adding after the words ‘to vote,’ in the fifth line, the words ‘and each year subsequent to the last general election next preceding.’”

THE CHAIR-The question is upon the amendment of the gentleman from Jefferson.

Mr . Coleman ( Greene) sought recognition.

MR. PILLANS- I desire to make a suggestion to the gentleman from Green which I think he will adopt.

THE PRESIDENT- Does the gentleman yield?

MR COLEMAN(Greene)- I will hear it.

MR. PILLANS-The first line of the section should be amended in view of the action on Section 1, by striking out the word “citizen” and putting in the words “any person.” I think to make it consistent with what we have done, it should entitle any person to vote instead of any citizen.

MR. LOWE (Jefferson)- If the chairman of the committee will give me a moment I can make my provision plain.

THE PRESIDENT-The gentleman from Jefferson asks the privilege of making a statement.

MR. LOWE-It will not take but a moment; I do not care to discuss it. The section, as I understand it, requires the payment of the aggregate poll taxes in February next preceding the election.  My amendment requires the poll-tax to be paid in the year in which it is due. I think it is salutary, for the reason that if it is required to be aid in the year which it is due, there will be no temptation to the candidates to supply the money to pay the poll tax.

MR. COLEMAN-I will say first, in reply to the suggestion made by the delegate from Mobile, that Section 1 has not been altered in any way to conflict with Section 2 as it now reads. It is the purpose of the committee to prepare the section just as it is. When a party offers to vote all the poll tax due by him at the time he offers to vote must have been paid by him. If he does not intend to vote until 1903 or 1905, he is not permitted to vote until he pays all the poll taxes which have accrued against him. The very purpose which the delegate by his amendment offers to secure, is          better secured, as we understand the reading of this section, as it is now framed, not only for the year of election, but for all subsequent


2741

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

years prior to the time he attempts to vote.  The latter clause of that section needs some little attention, beginning at the sixth line. “Provided, that any elector who, within three months next preceding the date of election at which he offers to vote, has removed from one precinct or ward in some county, incorporated town or city, shall have the right to vote in the precinct or ward from which he has so removed, if he would have been entitled to vote in said precinct or ward, but for such removal.” That is the provision to prevent parties from going out of one ward or precinct  into another a few days before the election or within a short time, and perhaps the managers of that beat or ward cannot ascertain whether he is an elector or not. But if he is required to go back into the ward where he removed from, he would be recognized, whether he is a qualified elector or not. The purpose was to prevent parties from voting who were not qualified electors, by simply stepping across the line of an agricultural precinct or from one ward to another in cities. The suggestion that it be made to apply to cities came from members of the committee who reside in large cities, and the precincts from those who are from the agricultural districts. We think it would remedy a great evil as to persons voting who are not qualified electors.

MR. LOWE-Will the chairman yield for a moment? I understand from some members of the committee, it is the purpose to require the payment of poll taxes in each year in which it was due by the first day of February.

MR. COLEMAN-Yes, sir.

MR. LOWE- That is the purpose of my amendment. I thought the language did not reach that.  The language of this section as I read permits the payment of the aggregate of poll tax before the first day of February preceding the election.

MR. COLEMAN-Is not that exactly what it says?

MR. LOWE- That would permit the payment of the aggregate poll tax. Now, for instance, we are having four-year term elections; general elections every four years. The report of the committee would permit the payment of the taxes for four years on or before the first day of February preceding the election.   MR. COLEMAN- I do not think it bears that construction.

MR. LOWE- I think it does. I have studied it carefully. Now, the purpose of my amendment is merely to require the poll tax to be paid each year so there will not be any temptation from any source to supply the money to pay poll tax.

MR. COLEMAN-If it does not mean that, I do not know what it does mean, and for each subsequent year refer back to the first day of February.


2742

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. LOWE ‑ Will the gentleman pardon me, if I am not intruding. It entitles a resident to vote at any election. “He shall have resided in the State,” etc., and he shall have been duly registered and shall have paid on or before the first day of February next preceding the date of the election at which he elects to vote all poll taxes due for 1901 and for each subsequent year; but he must pay all poll taxes, but it does not say that the poll tax shall be paid in the year in which it is due. Now my amendment merely says that it must be paid in the year in which it is due.

MR. COLEMAN ‑ Mr. President and delegates of the Convention. The purpose of the Committee was exactly my understanding now, to avoid what the gentleman desires. This election will come on in 1902. No election can come until 1902. It is to require him to go back and count from 1901 so as to pay poll tax for 1901, and if it comes off in 1902, also in the year 1902.

MR. LOWE ‑ Now, if the gentleman will indulge me, how would it be then as to poll taxes for 1903, 1904 and 1905, and we come to 1906. Under the report of the Committee could not the poll taxes for these four years be paid before the 1st day of February, 1906 ?

MR. COLEMAN ‑ Mr. President and delegates of the Convention, we are providing here a temporary vote providing for all elections up to a certain date. It can be paid at one time under the report of the Committee. It must be paid on the 1st day of February 1901, and for each subsequent year.

MR. LOWE ‑ Paid for the subsequent years preceding the general election. Can it not be paid for four years at one time?

MR. COLEMAN ‑ We do not so understand.

MR. LOWE ‑ That is the only point I wanted to arrive at.

MR. COLEMAN ‑ I think it is perfectly clear.

MR. LOWE ‑ That is the only purpose of my amendment, to require it to be paid in the year in which it is due.

MR. COLEMAN ‑ I do not know whether I have made myself understood. If the man pays up all his poll taxes he ought to be allowed to vote. I would not permanently disfranchise anybody because at one time he omitted to pay his poll taxes.

MR. LOWE ‑ Will the gentleman pardon me?

MR. COLEMAN ‑ I think I know the gentleman's view.

MR. LOWE ‑ I think the gentleman does not understand my views.  If the language correctly reported his ideas.


2743

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. PRESIDENT– Does the gentleman yield to the gentleman from Jefferson?

MR. COLEMAN ‑ Once more.

MR. LOWE– It is simply to arrive at an understanding. The purpose to disfranchise a man who does not pay within the year, but it is that at the general election he shall not vote unless his poll taxes are paid for the year preceding that general election and subsequent to the last general election.

MR. COLEMAN– Mr. President, the purpose of the Committee was that if a person paid up all the poll taxes when due, he should be allowed to vote.  If he was in default in the payment of his poll taxes he should not vote.  We did not desire to disfranchise anybody who would comply  with the law, who would pay his poll tax, but if he pays all the poll taxes during any year up, even if he misses four or five years,  if he comes in and pays all his poll taxes,  we have no disposition to disfranchise him. I think I have made myself sufficiently understood. By reading it you will see that if a man fails to pay at any time or fails within a year to pay his poll tax and in any subsequent year pays all the poll taxes accrued against him, he shall be allowed to exercise the franchise. It is not our purpose to disfranchise any one permanently because he fails to pay poll tax. I move, therefore, that the amendment be laid upon the table.

MR. LOWE ‑ May I ask the indulgence of the gentlemen of the Convention for a moment? It is merely on account of the remark of the gentleman just before he took his seat.

THE  PRESIDENT ‑ Does the gentleman front Greene withdraw—

MR. COLEMAN ‑ For the present.

MR. LOWE ‑ Does the gentleman understand it is the purpose of his amendment to disfranchise a man who fails to pay his poll tax– permanently disfranchise him ?

MR. COLEMAN ‑ It seems to have that effect to me.

MR. LOWE ‑ That is not the intention of the amendment as I understand. The provision as covered by my amendment ‑ we come to a general election. No man can vote in that general election who has not paid his poll tax within the time required each year since the last general election. He loses his vote only in that general election, but in the general election succeeding that, if he has paid his poll tax within the time prescribed each year, in which it is due he would be entitled to vote, and there is no permanent disfranchisement.


2744

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. COLEMAN ‑ I can only say that the purpose of the Committee was not to disfranchise a man who paid up all poll tax due from him; that he should not lose his right to vote if paid by the first day of the next preceding February. There is no provision there by which if he becomes disfranchised he can be enfranchised again. By reading this provision you will see that it is clear. He is required on the first day of February to pay his poll tax, and he is required to pay at each subsequent year at that time, but if he gets in arrears one, two, three or four years and pays up his poll tax he has the right to exercise the franchise. I move to lay the amendment on the table.

Upon a vote being taken a division was called for. And by a vote of 77 ayes and 27 noes the motion to table prevailed.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ I have an amendment.

Secretary read the amendment as follows: “To amend Section 2, by striking out of the first line the words ‘a citizen’ and insert ‘an elector.’”

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ The purpose of the amendment is simply this: We have so amended the first section as that other persons than citizens may vote and we certainly would not want any confusion about what is meant by Section 2. Those persons who are not citizens and who are entitled to vote certainly ought to be subjected to the same requirements as citizens.

MR. GRAHAM (Talladega) ‑ Mr. President I would like to ask the gentleman from Lauderdale if an elector is not already a voter ?

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ Sir?

MR. GRAHAM ‑ I would like to ask if an elector is not already a voter. I understand your amendment to read “an elector,” entitling an elector to vote.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ That is true, if he has all the qualifications that make an elector in the first section, but he cannot exercise the right of an elector, unless he fulfills the conditions in the second section. The first tells what shall be an elector, and citizens and persons who have declared their intention to be citizens or electors. He may be registered and still, if he fails to pay his poll tax he is not entitled to vote, although he has all the qualifications of an elector, and Section 2 refers to just such omissions as that of using the term elector instead of citizen.

MR. GRAHAM ‑ Would not he have to be a citizen?

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ No, sir; he may be a citizen, or a person who has declared his intention to become a citizen.

MR. COLEMAN ‑ Section 1 reads as follows, as amended:


2745

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

“Every male citizen of this State. who is a citizen of the United States or who has declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States.”  It requires that a citizen of the State only can vote. To entitle a citizen to vote is exactly in harmony with what is already provided in Section 1, I therefore move to lay the amendment on the table.

MR. PILLANS–  I would ask if the gentleman will not withdraw that a moment. I think I can satisfy him that he is in error.

THE  PRESIDENT ‑ Will the gentleman withdraw at the request of the gentleman from Mobile?

MR. PILLANS ‑ I will withdraw the request. I can offer it independently as a section.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ I yielded to the gentleman for the purpose of asking a question. I did not yield for the purpose of making a motion to table.

THE  PRESIDENT– It seems to the Chair that the point is well taken.  He is entitled to the floor.

MR. COLEMAN– I recognize it.

THE PRESIDENT– The question is on the motion to table the amendment of the gentleman from Lauderdale.

MR. HOWELL ‑ I have an amendment to Section 2.

“Amend by striking out the word ‘two’ in the second line and inserting in lieu thereof the word ‘one,’  also strike out the words ‘one year,’ in the same line and insert the words ‘six months.’

MR. HOWELL– Mr. President, if I remember correctly I have been a voter in Alabama for nearly fifty years, and that has been the law all these years, requiring a residence in the State for one year, and six months in the county. I think that is the provision in our present Constitution, and I see no good reason why we should change it. Therefore, I move the adoption of the amendment.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The question is upon the amendment offered by the gentleman from Cleburne.

MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ I move to lay it on the table.

MR. PROCTOR ‑ I move that the amendment be laid on the table.

The motion to table was carried.

MR. PILLANS ‑ I offer this amendment:   “Amendment to Section 2 was read as follows : “Amend Section 2 by striking out


2746

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

of the first line thereof the words ‘a citizen’ and insert in lieu thereof ‘a person.’”

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The question is upon the amendment offered by the gentleman from Mobile.

MR. PILLANS ‑ I regret that my voice is not in very good shape for presenting my views to the Convention, but I am so persuaded that an error will be committed by the adoption of this section, if the first line is unchanged, that I offer this amendment. I know the Chairman of the Committee has stated in his statement here to the Convention that persons who are authorized to vote by the first section are declared to be citizens of Alabama.

MR. deGRAFFENREID ‑ I want to call your attention ‑ It has been adopted already by the Convention, under the Bill of Rights in Section 3.

MR. PILLANS ‑ I think if the Chairman of the Bill of Rights Committee is here, he will bear me out that we struck cut that entire section. We had in the old Constitution, the existing Constitution of the State of Alabama an absurd provision and an unconstitutional provision that every person who has declared his intention to become a citizen was a citizen of the United States and a citizen of Alabama ; that was absurd, because unconstitutional under the Federal Constitution, which distinctly ‑ declares that Congress alone should pass uniform laws of bankruptcy and naturalization, wherefore the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1875 erred grievously in attempting to make an unnaturalized person a citizen of the State of Alabama. Well, we have not done that today. We have been wiser than they. We have struck out that absurd proposition from the projected Constitution, and we have no pretense in this Constitution that a person who is not a native born in the United States, or one who is naturalized by the processes provided by the act of Congress can become a citizen. We have struck down any other idea. Now comes the suffrage report, harmonized as originally written, and I have no complaint of it as originally written, but we have amended it this very afternoon by declaring that persons who may vote shall be male citizens of the State who are citizens of the United States, or foreigners not citizens of the United States who have declared their intention to become citizens, so far as those foreigners have so declared prior to the ratification of the Constitution. Now, I undertake to say, and I say it without the fear of successful contradiction from the chairman of the committee or any other member of the committee or any other member on the floor, that does not make of those persons so privileged, who have declared their intention prior to the adoption of this Constitution, citizens of this State. They do not become citizens of Alabama and they cannot be made citizens of Alabama until you strike down the Federal Constitution. I heard an argument this morning that led me to suppose


2747

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

that some of the members of the Convention seem to think that we can traffic with the Constitution of the United States as we will, and even repeal the Fifteenth Amendment, but I do not think this Convention is of that opinion.  Now as we cannot strike down the Constitution of the United States, and cannot make citizens out of aliens except by the power furnished by Congress, their declaration of intention and five years residence, and adjuraction of their former allegiance to the foreign country from which they came, then it goes without saying that persons whom we have undertaken to privilege as electors in the State, aliens, by the action taken on the amendment adopted this afternoon, are not citizens of the United States, and therefore if this provision stands as it does, you will put burdens on your native born and naturalized citizens, who have simply gone through the form of declaring his intention to become a citizen.

MR. BLACKWELL ‑ If the gentleman will allow a question, suppose a citizen, a person, should come here and upon landing should declare his intention to become a citizen the day he landed, and thereafter he should come to the State of Alabama with that declaration, could not he vote immediately without staying here two years?

MR. PILLANS ‑ I think so, if you declare that all persons declaring their intention to become citizens prior to the ratification are electors. Elector is the word used, and elector means entitled to vote, but, in the first section you put an additional burden on the citizens and I do not think that is right.

MR. BLACKWELL ‑ I will ask the gentleman the additional question, if that would not be giving to the foreigner who has just landed and knows nothing of our government privileges we are denying to the citizens of Alabama.

MR. PILLANS ‑ Of course.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) ‑ This was written as a whole altogether, and I believe after hearing the gentleman from Mobile, the committee is prepared to accept the proposition offered by him.

Upon a vote being taken, the amendment was adopted, and upon a further vote the section as amended was adopted.

Section 3 was read as follows:

Sec. 3. All elections by the people shall be by ballot, and all elections by persons in a representative capacity shall be viva voce.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) ‑ I move the adoption of the section.

Upon a vote being taken the section was adopted.

Section 4 was read as follows:


2748

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

Sec. 4 The following male citizens of this State, who are citizens of the United States, 21 years old or upwards, who, if their place of residence shall remain unchanged, will have, at the date of the next general election, the qualifications as to residence prescribed in Section 2 of this article, and who are not disqualified under Section 6 of this article, shall, upon application, be entitled to register as electors prior to the first day of January, 1903, namely:

First– All who have honorably served in the land or naval forces of the United States in the war of 1812, or in the war with Mexico, or in any war with the Indians, or in the Civil War between the States, or in the war with Spain, or who honorably served in the land or naval forces of the Confederate States, or of the State of Alabama in the war between the States; or

Second– The lawful descendants of persons who honorably served in the land or naval forces of the United States in the war of the American Revolution, or in the war of 1812, or in the war with Mexico, or in any war with the Indians, or in the Civil War between the States, or in the land or naval forces of the Confederate States, or of the State of Alabama in the war between the States; or

Third ‑ All persons of good character and who understand the duties and obligations of citizenship under it republican form of government.

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery) ‑ I have an amendment.

THE PRESIDENT – The Secretary will read the minority report.

MR. OATES– I have an amendment to offer to a part of the section that precedes the minority report. I desire to offer an amendment to insert a word in line three.

MR.  HOWZE ‑ I think it should be taken up by subdivisions.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ Probable it would be more convenient to discuss it first as a complete section.

MR. OATES ‑ Is it not in order to offer an amendment to the first part of the section before reading the subdivision.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The Chair will consult the wishes of the minority committee. The regular order under our rules would be when this section is read, to consider the minority report as all amendment, but if the gentlemen making the report wish to offer another amendment they may do so.

MR. OATES ‑ It is not touching that, Mr. President. I want to offer a short amendment which I think aids in perfecting the first part of the third line of this section.


2749

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery)– The amendment which I propose does not reach the second section to which the minority report is addressed.

THE PRESIDENT– To what section does it refer.

MR. SANFORD– It reaches the first subdivision of Section 4.

MR. COLEMAN– I desire to amend Section 4, in the first line, in accordance with the amendment which has already been made to Section 1, so as to make them correspond.

THE PRESIDENT– The chair will first entertain amendments offered by the chairman of the committee.  The amendment was read as follows:

“Amend by adding after the words ‘United States’ in the first line of Section 4, the following words; ‘And every male person of foreign birth who, before the ratification of this Constitution, may have legally declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States; provided, that all such foreigners who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States shall cease to have the right to vote if they shall fail to become citizens of the United States after they are entitled to become such citizens.’”

MR. COLEMAN– I ask unanimous leave to make that amendment.

There being no objection, the amendment was allowed.

Another reading of the amendment was called for.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene)  ‑ The word “person” should read “resident.” You could not mean a man residing in Nebraska, but it should refer to a resident of this State.

By consent, the amendment was amended to read “every male resident of foreign birth,” etc.

MR. BEDDOW ‑ I ask unanimous consent that the word “resident” be inserted in the amendment offered by me to Section 1.

There being no objection, the amendment was ordered.

MR. ASHCRAFT ‑ Section 2 provides “who shall have resided in this State two years.”  I do not see why it should be necessary to use the words prior to that, because before he is entitled to vote he must have resided in the State two years.

MR. WEATHERLY– I desire to ask if that amendment applies to Section 1.

MR. COLEMAN (Greene) ‑ We are trying to make them correspond.


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. WEATHERLY ‑ The chair did not so state it, or at least I did not so understand it.

THE PRESIDENT– The chair stated that the gentleman from Jefferson desired his amendment to be so altered as to make it read “every male resident,” instead of “person.”

MR. COLEMAN (Greene)  ‑ According to the procedure heretofore adopted to take up sections which are sub ‑ divided, subdivision by sub ‑ division, as the minority report is directed simply to the second sub ‑ division and not to the first, if we pursue the course heretofore followed, we must consider the first sub ‑ division of the section, and when we come to the second sub ‑ division to which the minority report applies, then the minority report would come up for consideration. That seems to have been the course heretofore pursued, and it would be acceptable to the committee, and I suppose to the chairman of the minority of the committee.

MR. OATES ‑ I would like to offer an amendment to line three of Section 4, which, I think, needs a few words to make it more definite.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The chair will state under the rule they Convention is considering this Article by section and not by paragraph.

MR. OATES ‑ It is not a paragraph, but in line three of Section 4 of the section at the beginning of the section.

THE PRESIDENT ‑ The gentleman will send up his amendment.

The amendment was read as follows:

“Amend Section 4, in line three, by inserting after the word ‘election,’ the following, ‘after the ratification of this Constitution.’”

MR. OATES– I offer that because I think it will make it more definite and certain. The next general election is not absolutely certain, it ought to be after the ratification of this Constitution.

MR. MERRILL ‑ I rise for the purpose of making a motion to suspend the rules that we may continue in session.

There were loud expressions of dissent.

MR. CARMICHAEL (Coffee) ‑ I move that this Convention be now adjourned.

The motion was carried and the Convention adjourned.