3248

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

SIXTIETH DAY
_________

MONTGOMERY, ALA.
Wednesday, August 1, 1901

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


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Oh Lord, our Father, we bow humbly to Thee this morning with grateful hearts for all of Thy mercies toward us. We thank Thee for that providence which has been upon these, Thy servants, during this session. We thank Thee that their lives and health have been precious in Thy sight, and we come to Thee today, Lord, as we face the responsibilities of a new day, to ask divine guidance. Be Thou with these Thy servants. May they have righteousness and truth as their ideal. May the spirit of the Lord save from error, and if in our human weakness we shall make mistakes, Oh Lord, overrule Thou even our words for good. May the blessings of our God be upon these Thy servants. May that blessing be upon all of our people and all of their interest. May peace and prosperity be our heritage. Accept us in these our prayers, forgive all of our sins, was us from every stain of iniquity, guide us in all of our efforts. and finally bring us to the land of everlasting life through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Mr. Bulger here took the chair.

Upon the all of the roll 112 delegates responded to their names.

MR. SAMFORD- I rise to a point of personal privilege. In some of the remarks which I had the honor to make yesterday I find some of the sentences were misunderstood, and they have been incorrectly reported. In the fourth column nearly midway, I asked "Why should you make such a qualification as that?" That is proper. "How many would you qualify if you put in a mere property qualification? Many of the best men in Alabama.” I did not say that at all. and that should be stricken out. "How many men would you disqualify by that first subdivision of the fifth section– men who cannot read nor write." That is proper. A little further down, speaking incidentally of Voltaire, the report, "Believing in nothing, he did not believe in God." I said "He did believe in God, but actually repudiated the great truths of Christianity." A little lower down it is said, "Your general literary attainments teach you nothing except a capacity may be to acquire," etc. That is not it. I said, "Your general literary attainments teach you nothing except to acquire great moral truths," etc. I wish to have those words that I have pointed out corrected.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM– The stenographer will make note of the correction.

MR. deGRAFFENREID I desire to have the stenographic report of last Monday's proceedings corrected. On that day, while the gentleman from Wilcox had the floor. I asked him a question. The question as it appears in the stenographic report is incoherent and not sensible, and it affects somewhat the continuity of the very excellent speech of the gentleman from Wilcox. I do not desire to take up the time of the Convention in asking that this correction be made, and I handed the correction to the official


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

stenographer, and the correction is in the proceedings of yesterday, but it failed to show to whom that question was propounded. I ask that the correction be made.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM— The stenographer will make note of the correction.

MR. SOLLIE– I rise to a point of personal privilege. In the remarks submitted by me yesterday to the Convention, appears the words "enunciamento." I think the mistake is mine and not the stenographer's. I evidently should have said "pronunciamento." Perhaps I might have the privilege of making a word if I like to as much as Mr. Webster or Mr. Worcester, but I do not choose to claim it.

MR. LEIGH– In yesterday's report I am credited with making a motion to reconsider the vote by which Mr. Sanford's amendment was lost. The amendment was to number the poll lists and the ballots. The motion was not made by myself but by Mr. Jackson from Lee, and I request that the stenographic report be corrected so as to speak the truth.

MR. JACKSON I assume the responsibility of having made that mistake. I wanted to assist the gentleman from Montgomery when a motion was made to table his amendment, while he was preparing to correct it.

MR. WHITE On yesterday I asked to have the stenographic report corrected in the proceedings on Friday. I quoted from the remarks of the gentleman from Calhoun, but they are not correctly reported in yesterday's proceedings. In quoting from him, “And the gentleman from Jefferson (Mr. White) would have us believe that the maintenance of good government is in danger under conditions now prevailing in this State.” I said, “not in danger.” I ask to have the correction made.

THE PRESIDENT– The stenographer will make note of the correction.

MR. DENT— I desire to have a correction made in the stenographic report. Where I asked to have a correction made on yesterday, I am credited with saying, like the gentleman from “Talladega,” it should be the gentleman from "Tallapoosa." I ask to have the correction made. There are also some corrections I would like to have made in the remarks I made on yesterday. I ask the privilege of calling the stenographic reporter's attention to it. It is merely a difference of some periods and one or two words.

MR. BEDDOW— I desire to have a correction made in the stenographic report. On yesterday, when I was addressing myself to the matter of the reconsideration of the foreign element voting


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

that had heretofore been entitled to vote, I am reported as saying that "I had hoped upon mature reflection by this Committee on Suffrage, that has offered its such a magnificent plan, that the motion to reconsider would not be opposed." That is a direct contradiction to the remarks. I said. "I had hoped that the motion to reconsider would not be pressed."

Mr. President, while I am on my feet, I desire also to address myself to a matter of personal privilege.

THE PRESIDENT The gentleman may state the question of privilege.

MR. BEDDOW On yesterday afternoon the gentleman from Pike (Mr. Samford) in answering a speech that I made, took occasion to make the following remarks: “When it comes to the right of the son of a veteran of the wars of this country to exercise the right of franchise, the gentleman from Jefferson objects unless he is able to read and write, notwithstanding the fact that he may be as intelligent as any member upon this floor.” I desire to say, Mr. President, that at no time during the consideration of this article have I objected in any way or by any vote of mine to the sons of any Confederate voting. I presume the point that the gentleman from Pike was driving at was that upon the vote upon the subdivision containing the descendant clause of the Suffrage say that my vote was cast not with a desire on my part to disfranchise the son of any Confederate veteran. I desire further to say that if the minority report had succeeded it would not have had that effect, because of the fact that there was in that same article, a section that allowed all persons of good character to vote, and under that I have claimed from the beginning that these sons of Confederate soldiers who are of the salt of the earth would not have been disfranchised. I was especially surprised that the gentleman from Pike should have made this attack upon me because less than a week ago, he and I in conversation with each other, defining our relative positions in regard to this matter; I explained to him that I proposed to vote with the minority of the committee, because while it looked as if the Suffrage Committee had gotten up a magnificent plan, but in that beautiful ship that it had constructed the committee had put an unsound plan; that by taking that out it would leave a perfect system that would disfranchise no man.

MR. ASHCRAFT I rise to a point of order, the gentleman is not addressing himself to the question of personal privilege. He is making an argument against the gentleman from Pike.

THE PRESIDENT– The Chair is of the opinion that under the circumstances, he is complying with the rules of the Convention on the point of personal privilege.


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MR. BEDDOW– I explained to the gentleman I thought that the putting in of that sub-division about the descendants of soldiers it would imperil the whole plan. At the same time he expressed himself as being satisfied that I was right in the stand I took, but he wanted it in there because there were a number of ignorant people throughout the State, that such a plank would be catchy to them, and would get a large number of voters for the ratification of this Convention. Now, to show that the vote as cast by me was not intended to disfranchise the son of any Confederate soldier—

THE PRESIDENT– The gentleman from Jefferson– does he propose to extend the point of personal privilege into an argument.

MR. BEDDOW– No, sir. I am just explaining that I did not intend to vote to disfranchise the son of any Confederate soldier.

MR. deGRAFFENREID – That explanation has been made. As I understand he says he voted as he did because he thought it was unconstitutional.

THE PRESIDENT– In the opinion of the Chair, the gentleman from Jefferson has fully explained his position on the question involved, and the Chair is very sure that his position is entirely patriotic and well understood, not only by the Convention, but by the country at large.

Leaves of absence were granted the following delegates: To the Doorkeeper, Mr. Hassen, for tomorrow and next day; Mr. Proctor of Jackson on account of sickness of family.

The report of the Committee on Journal was read stating that the journal for the fifty-ninth day had been read and found correct, and the report was adopted.

MR, deGRAFFENREID I move that the calling of the roll for the introduction of ordinances and resolutions, etc., be dispensed with, and, that the call of the standing committees be dispensed with and the house proceed with the business that was before it when the Convention adjourned yesterday afternoon.

MR. PETTUS I ask that the gentleman yield until I present a petition.

THE PRESIDENT Does the gentleman yield?

MR. deGRAFFENREID Yes sir.

MR. PETTUS I ask to have the body of the petition read.

MR. CHAPMAN I desire to introduce an ordinance.

THE PRESIDENT The gentleman is out of order at present.

The clerk read the following petition:


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

To the Constitutional Convention, Montgomery, Alabama.

We, the undersigned citizens of the State of Alabama do hereby offer our protest against the railroad pass evil, and do hereby declare our desire that it be made an unlawful act for either State, county or municipal officials to accept railroad passes from any railroad company; or for any such company to give such passes.

We further petition the Constitutional Convention now in session in Montgomery to incorporate in the proposed Constitution some effective, self operative provision to that end.

Athens, Ala.. July 23, 1901.

Thomas C. McClellan, editor; Robert Erle Lester, editor; J. H. Raney, builder; Robert Strain, farmer; John W. Bridge-forth, farmer; A. M. Lewis, merchant; C. L. McCormick, farmer; A. M. Cramer, merchant; N. S. Marks, farmer; M. M. Roseman, merchant; J. W. Cunningham, merchant; F. R. Raley, merchant; W. Yarbrough, clerk; N. S. Hollon, W. M. Barksdale ,farmer; A. Anderson, cooper, B. Virsopstein, cooper; T. J. Turrentine, J. Bud, W. H. Nelson, John Rogers, farmer; Dave Touchstone, farmer; John J. Turrentine, attorney; W. J. Hogan, physician; George Malone, clerk; James C. Gordon, mechanic; George W. Smith, mechanic; Thomas F. George, hotel; A. N. Tillman, J. H. Beauchamp, J. R. Hoffman, M.D.; Ward Russell, H. H. Richardson, merchant; W. F. Jarrett, farmer; W. L. Maten, merchant; J. F. Walker, bookkeeper; J. L. McGarrick, merchant; A. C. Henry, minister of the gospel, W. J. Hatchett, farmer.

Referred to Committee on Corporations.

MR. CHAPMAN I desire to introduce a resolution.

The clerk read the following resolution by Mr. Chapman of Sumter:

Whereas, the work of this Convention has progressed to such an extent that the early completion of its labor may be confidently looked forward to,

Therefore be it resolved, That the Committee on Rules be directed to ascertain and report to the Convention at as early a date as practicable when a day may be fixed for the final adjournment of this Convention.

Referred to Committee on Rules.

MR. deGRAFFENREID Now, Mr. President, I renew my motion.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM The gentleman from Hale moves that the call of the roll for the introduction of resolutions,


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

To the Constitutional Convention, Montgomery, Alabama.

We, the undersigned citizens of the State of Alabama do hereby offer our protest against the railroad pass evil, and do hereby declare our desire that it be made an unlawful act for either State, county or municipal officials to accept railroad passes from any railroad company; or for any such company to give such passes.

We further petition the Constitutional Convention now in session in Montgomery to incorporate in the proposed Constitution some effective, self operative provision to that end.

Athens, Ala.. July 23, 1901.

Thomas C. McClellan, editor; Robert Erle Lester, editor; J. H. Raney, builder; Robert Strain, farmer; John W. Bridgeforth, farmer; A. M. Lewis, merchant; C. L. McCormick, farmer; A. M. Cramer, merchant; N. S. Marks, farmer; M. M. Roseman, merchant; J. W. Cunningham, merchant; F. R. Raley, merchant; W. Yarbrough, clerk; N. S. Hollon, W. M. Barksdale ,farmer; A. Anderson, cooper, B. Virsopstein, cooper; T. J. Turrentine, J. Bud, W. H. Nelson, John Rogers, farmer; Dave Touchstone, farmer; John J. Turrentine, attorney; W. J. Hogan, physician; George Malone, clerk; James C. Gordon, mechanic; George W. Smith, mechanic; Thomas F. George, hotel; A. N. Tillman, J. H. Beauchamp, J. R. Hoffman, M.D.; Ward Russell, H. H. Richardson, merchant; W. F. Jarrett, farmer; W. L. Maten, merchant; J. F. Walker, bookkeeper; J. L. McGarrick, merchant; A. C. Henry, minister of the gospel, W. J. Hatchett, farmer.

Referred to Committee on Corporations.

MR. CHAPMAN I desire to introduce a resolution.

The clerk read the following resolution by Mr. Chapman of Sumter:

Whereas, the work of this Convention has progressed to such an extent that the early completion of its labor may be confidently looked forward to,

Therefore be it resolved, That the Committee on Rules be directed to ascertain and report to the Convention at as early a date as practicable when a day may be fixed for the final adjournment of this Convention.

Referred to Committee on Rules.

MR. deGRAFFENREID Now, Mr. President, I renew my

motion.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM The gentleman from Hale moves that the call of the roll for the introduction of resolutions,


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

Be it further Resolved, That the sum of $2,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary be appropriated out of the moneys of the State otherwise unappropriated to pay for the printing, binding and distribution of the Journal of this Convention.

MR. SAMFORD Yesterday morning I gave notice upon the vote of the Convention upon the report of the Committee on Legislative Department that I would move for a reconsideration—

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM If the gentleman from Montgomery will pardon the Chair, there is pending a report from a committee. When that is disposed of, the Chair will recognize the gentleman from Montgomery.

MR. HEFLIN ( Randolph) I ask that the substitute be printed and laid on the table until taken up by the Convention.

It was so ordered.

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery)– I said on yesterday that I would make a motion for the purpose of having reconsidered that part of the article on Legislation Department which requires the Legislature to meet quadrennially, instead of biennially, but I remember now that an ordinance has been introduced by one of my colleagues to rescind that provision, and therefore it is unnecessary for me to make the motion, and I decline to make the motion for a reconsideration.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM Under the rules of the House, I would say to the gentleman from Montgomery that the motion is in the hands of the Convention, and it will require unanimous consent to withdraw the motion. Does the gentleman desire to withdraw his motion for reconsideration?

MR. SANFORD I did not make the motion. I gave notice that I would make it, but I now decline to make the motion.

MR. WHITE On account of the absence of the Chairman of the Committee on Suffrage and Elections, who is not well this morning, I have been instructed by the Committee to move a reconsideration of the vote by which Section 8 was passed, in order that a correction may be made which we found was necessary to be made. In other words, Section 8 provides for elections to be held after the general election in 1902 and prior to that time, but, as it was written it did not provide for the election in 1902, so that it could be held under the new Constitution, and, in order to offer a substitute I move a reconsideration of the vote whereby that section was adopted.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM The gentleman from Jefferson moves to reconsider the vote by which Section 8 of the report of the Committee on Suffrage and Elections was adopted.


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

MR. WHITE– I offer now the substitute for Section 8. Which I have just sent to the clerk.

Substitute for Section 8 was read as follows:

Sec. 8. No person not registered and qualified as an elect or under the provisions of this article shall vote in the general election in 1902, or at any subsequent State, county or municipal election, general, local or special ; but the provisions of this article shall not apply to any election prior to the general election held in 1902.

MR. WHITE I move the adoption of the substitute.

Upon a vote being taken, the substitute was adopted.

Mr. White sought recognition again.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM– The gentleman from Jefferson will pardon the Chair. The question recurs on the adoption of the section as amended.

Upon a vote being taken, the Section, as amended, was adopted.

MR .WHITE– I am instructed by the Committee on Suffrage and Elections to offer a new subdivision of Section 10, and I ask to have it read, in order that the Convention may be in possessionof it, to be taken up hereafter.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM– The gentleman from Jefferson will pardon the Chair. Under the rules of the Convention it is necessary, now to read Section 10 to the Convention before we take up the consideration of Section 10.

MR. WHITE– Section 10, as I understand, has already been read.

PRESIDENT PRO TEM- I understand that we adjourned while the reading was pending.

MR. WHITE– Didn’t we adjourn after a motion had been made to consider it by sub-divisions, which dispensed with the further reading of it? That is my understanding of the parliamentary situation. Besides, this does not make any change in Section 10. It is just an additional sub-division I want read for the information of the Convention, to be taken up when reached.

PRESIDENT PRO TEM – The Clerk will read the sub-division:

At the end of line 19 on page 13, insert the following:

“Any elector who registers for another, or registers more than once, and any register who enters the name of any elector on the


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list of registered voters without such elector makes application in person or under oath on the form made for that purpose or who knowingly registers any person more than once, or knowingly enters the name upon the registration list as a registered voter when no one of that name applied to register shall be guilty of a felony."

MR. WHITE I ask that it lie upon the table until it is reached in its regular order.

Now, I have been instructed by the Committee on Suffrage and Elections to report as a substitute for the first clause of Section 5, which was recommitted on yesterday to that committee, the following:

The substitute was read as follows:

Amend first subdivision of Section 5 so as to read as follows:

1. Those who, unless prevented by physical disability, can read and write any article of the Constitution of the United States in the English language, and who being physically able to work. have worked or been regularly engaged in some lawful employment, business or occupation, trade or calling for the greater part of the twelve months next preceding the time they offer to register.”

MR. LONG (Walker)– On yesterday, I offered an ordinance and it was referred to the Committee on Suffrage and Elections. I gave notice that I would ask then to report it. As a substitute for Section 5, and I now make inquiry of the acting chairman of that Committee as to what was done with that ordinance?

MR. WHITE I will state in answer to the gentleman from Walker, that ordinance, together with a great many other suggestions, was considered at our meeting last night, which resulted in the agreement upon the part of the Committee to offer the substitute which I have just sent to the clerk's desk.

MR. LONG– I desire to make a motion to have the committee report that ordinance. On that I want to be heard and I respectfully invite the attention of every delegate on the floor to a reading of the ordinance that I offered as a substitute for Section 5. It does away with—

MR. deGRAFFENREID – I suggest that the gentleman is not in order. The gentleman can arrive at what he desires by offering that as a substitute for Section 5 now before the house.

MR. LONG I make the point of order that I am in order, for the simple fact that I have already offered it, and the committee refused to report on it and I make a motion that they be requested to report on it by the majority of this Convention.


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MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) – I make the point of order that the substitute now offered by the committee is before the Convention for consideration, and the ordinance offered by the gentleman from Walker is still in the hands of the Committee, and he now proposes while we are considering this substitute to make a motion requiring that committee to report, when the committee is not in session, and I make the point of order that he is out of order.

MR. LONG– The committee is never in session during the session of this Convention and according to that rule I never could make the motion. They could pigeon hole it forever. I want to see if the majority of this Convention is willing to allow this ordinance of mine to be reported. If there is any merit in it, I want it reported, and if there is no merit in it, I am willing for it to sleep in the grave yard of the committee room.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM– In the opinion of the Chair, the point of order made by the gentleman from Chambers is well taken.

MR. LONG (Walker) – Is there no way in which I can get this before the house? Am I denied the privilege? Will the Chair allow me to offer this now a substitute for Section 5?

PRESIDENT PRO TEM– It is the opinion of the Chair that it would be in order for the gentleman to offer his ordinance as a substitute for Section 5.

MR. LONG– I offer it as a substitute for Section 5, to be considered at the same time Section 5 is considered.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM. – The gentleman will place his amendments in the hands of the clerk.

MR. LONG (Walker)– It is in the hands of the clerk.

MR. WHITE– It occurs to me the question before the house has not been stated by the Chair, though I may have overlooked it myself.

PRESIDENT PRO TEM – The Chair will state that as the Chair was getting ready to state the question, the gentleman from Walker rose to a point of privilege.

MR. MORRISETTE– A parliamentary inquiry. Does the gentleman now make a motion to substitute his ordinance for the report of the committee. Is that the question before the house?

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM– In the opinion of the Chair, the gentleman from Walker has the right to offer an amendment to the amendment offered by the Committee. That is the parliamentary status of the question. The gentleman from Walker will


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send up his amendment. The Secretary will read the substitute offered by the gentleman from Walker.

The substitute was read as follows:

Be it ordained that Section 5 of the report of the Committee on Suffrage and Elections be stricken out and the following inserted in lieu thereof:

Sec. 5. The General Assembly shall provide by law for the registration of all male persons becoming of age and all male persons who become citizens of Alabama on and after the l st of January, 1903 ; provided, any law for registration made by the General Assembly shall require all applicants for registration after Jan. 1. 1903, to be eligible to register under all the requirements made by Section 2 of this article; provided, the General Assembly may make, by law, to become operative after Jan. 1, 1903, such other provisions for registering and voting not in conflict with this Constitution.

MR. deGRAFFENREID I rise to a point of order. The gentleman's amendment is not in order. On yesterday this House, after consideration, adopted subdivision 2 of Sections 5, which provides for a property qualification. That amendment goes to the whole section. It cannot be introduced unless the House reconsiders its action in adopting subdivision 2 of Section 5.

MR. LONG I make the point of order that the President has already ruled on it. This is not an amendment, but a substitute for it and the section has never been adopted.

MR. HEFLIN (Chambers)– I make the point of order that the Chair ruled this ordinance or amendment could be offered, but the Chair could not tell what was in that ordinance until it was read, and the point of order is made by the gentleman from Hale after it is read.

MR. LONG– Now, Mr. President and gentlemen of the Convention, there seems to be a deliberate attempt here to keep down an amendment on the most important section of this whole article. I am aware of the fact that we have to come against these twenty-five might giants when we oppose anything offered by the Committee.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM– The gentleman from Walker will confine his remarks to the point of order raised by the gentleman from Chambers.

MR. LONG– I am confining myself to that point of order.

MR. HOOD– The section as a section is not up for adoption at this time. It is only the second subdivision, or the first subdi-


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vision that is pending, hence it is not in order to offer a substitute for the entire section at this time.

MR. LONG I have not offered that. I have simply offered this substitute at this time to be considered when this section is considered.

MR. HOOD– I insist upon a ruling.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM– It is the opinion of the Chair

MR. LONG (Walker) I want to be heard on the amendment.

MR. OATES– It is not often that I rise to a question of order, and while I am not favorably impressed with the substitute offered by the delegate form Walker, I am of the opinion that it is in order, because only one subdivision of the section has been adopted. The section itself has not been adopted, and if this substitute should extend to the part which has not been adopted as well as to that which has been, it is in order, and this Convention can, under parliamentary law, adopt a substitute for the whole section, although a part of it has been adopted; because under the rules this Convention adopted for this purpose, you consider it by subdivisions and it is not the adoption of the whole section until it is adopted. Therefore, I say that the delegate from Walker has offered a substitute which is in order for discussion and action.

MR. WEATHERLY– Will the gentleman allow me to ask him a question?

MR. OATES Certainly.

MR. WEATHERLY– We are considering the first subdivision of Section 5, are we not?

MR. OATES– We are.

MR. WEATHERLY Is it in order to offer a substitute?

MR. LONG I will state that I did not wish----

MR. WEATHERLY Then is it in order to introduce a substitute to the entire section while we are considering the section subdivision by subdivision?

MR. HOOD– I ask for a ruling from the Chair upon the point of order made.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM The gentleman from Walker is entitled to a respectful hearing.

MR. LONG I hate to state private conversations that take place off of this floor, but the President of this Convention himself


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told me I had a right to offer that, and call for the report of this committee on it this morning, and am I to be hand-shackled, bound, gagged and murdered here on a proposition that should be put before this Convention? I am even denied the privilege of offering it now as a substitute, to be considered along with the section. That is all I have to say, and I am willing to abide by the ruling of the Chair.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM. It is the opinion of the Chair than when the Convention decided to pass upon this section by subdivision:, and have adopted all of the subdivisions except one, that subdivision being yet unadopted and unpassed upon, an amendment striking out the whole section would not be in order at this time.

MR. LONG When would it be in order?

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM–The Chair will undertake to be prepared to meet that question when it properly arises.

MR. LONG– Does the Chair rule that I have no right to call on the Committee on Suffrage and Elections to make a report on my ordinance?

Have they a right to murder and strangle any ordinance in there which a majority of this Convention want reported? Are they to have absolute control over all ordinances? Is there no power to bring it out of there and force them to report adversely or favorably on an ordinance?

MR. FLETCHER– I call the gentleman’s attention to rule 34, as follows: “Any ordinance or resolution may be recalled from a committee by a vote of the majority of the whole number of delegates elected to the Convention.”

MR. LONG I will ask for a ruling of the Chair on that. I refer the Chair to that rule.

PRESIDENT PRO TEM The Chair does not feel called upon to pass upon the inquiry of the gentleman from Walker, because his proposition—

MR. WALKER I made it as a motion, not as an inquiry—

PRESIDENT PRO TEM Because his motion is not properly before the Convention.

MR. LONG I now make the motion that the Committee on Suffrage and Election be requested to report on my ordinance. No. 208.

MR. GRAHAM (Talladega) I make the point of order that the motion is not in order except upon a question of the rules.


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MR. LONG Do the rules have to be suspended before I can make a motion? Have I gotten so small that I cannot make a motion before this Convention ? (Laughter.)

MR. HOOD The point of order is that the motion to adopt Subdivision 2 of Section 5 is now before this Convention and the motion made by the gentleman is now out of order.

PRESIDENT PRO TEM. In the opinion of the Chair, the point made by the gentleman from Etowah is well taken, and the gentleman from Walker is now out of order.

MR. WHITE I move the adoption of the substitute for Subdivision 1 of Section 5.

MR. ROBINSON (Chambers)–I desire to ask this committee by what means can a person that is physically unable to write register? They make provision for those that are not physically disabled, and there are a class of people here in Alabama that are physically disabled that have a good education. Take a man that is deaf and dumb. He may have a good education, he can write every word of the Constitution, but he cannot read, because he cannot speak. You take a blind man, he may be very learned and able to understand every line of it, but on account of that physical disability, he cannot read or write. You take a man of fine education, but from some physical defect– palsy or something of that kind, he is unable to write. That section does not make any provision for that class who are stricken down by physical disability, but they have the learning and education and can understand the Constitution and there ought to be some means in that section by which those unable to read and write may be able to vote. You take the deaf and dumb asylum at Talladega, that educates men and educates them well, and they can read and write well, and they understand the principles of this government, but under that section they cannot qualify because they are compelled to read and write. Then there are those unfortunate enough to have lost the use of their arm and cannot write, for instance. That section ought not to be adopted until an amendment to provide for cases of that kind is included. I wish to offer an amendment.

The Secretary read the amendment as follows:

Amend Section 5 of the report of the Committee on Suffrage by adding thereto the following additional provision: Third. All persons who by reason of physical disability cannot qualify under Subdivision 1 of this section, but who could so qualify except for such disability.”

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM— The question is on the adoption of the amendment of the gentleman from Chambers to the substitute offered by the committee.

MR. HOOD Is not that a third subdivision?


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THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM. The chair understands that to be the second subdivision.

MR. O'NEAL A point of order. It is not in order to add a subdivision to the section until we dispose of subdivision one. We are considering, as I understand, Subdivision No. 1. The gentleman offers Subdivision No. 3. Is it in order, until we dispose of subdivision 1, unless he offers it as an amendment to Subdivision 1.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM I understand the gentleman from Chambers to offer this as an amendment to the amendment offered by the committee. If so it is in order.

MR. ROBINSON Yes, sir. and it was prepared by a member of the committee.

MR. SMITH (Mobile) I prepared that amendment as a member of the committee, and it was the best that I could do to accomplish the purpose that the gentlemen sought to accomplish. It looked to me though like there was a big hole in it. It was the nearest thing I could make, and I tried the hardest to meet the difficulty that the gentleman wanted to meet.


MR. WEATHERLY What is the hole in it?

MR. SMITH– It says if a man is unable to read and write on account of physical disability, if except for such physical disability he could qualify under this section, then he shall have the right to vote. One of the provisions is that he should be employed the greater part of one year. Now how could you tell whether he would have been employed except for those disabilities, I don’t know.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM– The question before the Convention is on the adoption of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Chambers.

MR. WEATHERLY– Confine it to the reading and writing part of it.

MR. SMITH– There are plenty of people physically disabled, who cannot read and write but who can work and do work and make a good living.

MR. WHITE When this section was re-referred to the committee, they again gave it their thoughtful and very patient consideration. The provision in this section with reference to physical disability, as I remember it is almost an exact copy of the Massachusetts statute on that subject. and I will invite the attention of the Convention to the reading of the section itself :"First, Those who, unless prevented by physical disability, can read and write any article of the Constitution of the United


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States." Now if that section and that language do not say that any man who can read and write any article of the Constitution but for a physical disability which prevents him from doing it, I do not understand the English language or the force of it.

MR. CUNNINGHAM Have the courts passed upon the question, defining physical disability where the power to do a thing is supposed to be mental.

MR. WHITE I have no doubt there are such decisions, but I do not recall them just now, but it is very clear to the layman's mind as well as to the professional men.

MR. CUNNINGHAM I will ask the gentleman a question. Can you play the fiddle?

MR. WHITE No.

MR. CUNNINGHAM– Is that a mental or physical disability?

MR. WHITE It is possibly want of training. I suppose, of course, it would be a mental disability.

MR. CUNNINGHAM Then scientifically the mind is as much a physical product of the original structure as the secretion of bile is by the liver, and it is a question in my mind if the mental disability is not a physical disability.

MR. WHITE What we understand generally by physical disability is the result not of mental inactivity or mental disability, but something that relates to the physical part of man. For instance, if a man is blind, and he could read but for that fact, then he has the physical disability which prevents his reading. For instance, I suppose one third of the gentlemen in this Convention cannot read without artificial aid. They cannot see, yet they can read, as a matter of fact. The man who is deaf and dumb can read and he can write because he has means of reading and writing. He cannot read in the sense that we ordinarily read audibly, but he can read, write it down, and demonstrate that he can read, as a matter of fact. So it occurs to me that the committee has done the best it can. No one else offers a solution of this proposition, or offers anything better than that which the committee offers, therefore, I move the adoption of Subdivision 1 of Section 5 as reported by the committee, and I move to lay the amendment of the gentleman from Chambers on the table.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM. The question is upon the motion of the gentleman from Jefferson to lay the amendment offered by the gentleman from Chambers upon the table.

MR. SANFORD I ask for the reading of the amendment of the gentleman from Chambers.


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

The Secretary again read the amendment.

MR. ROBINSON I ask unanimous consent to add that at the end of Subdivision 1.

MR. O'NEAL I object.

MR. PETTUS I ask to have it read, before consent is given.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM There is objection.

MR. ROBINSON I ask leave to withdraw that amendment and offer another one.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM The gentleman asks unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment to Subdivision I of Section 5.

MR. ASHCRAFT– There was really no objection except that members did not know and they wanted a reading to know what it was.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM The Chair is not able to say what motive prompted the objection. The question is upon the motion to lay upon the table.

MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) The gentleman from Limestone stated to the Chair when he made the objection that he would object unless he could have it read.

MR. OATES I do not think the Chair fully understands the position of the delegate from Chambers. He asks leave to withdraw his first amendment and substitute another which he has just sent up to the Secretary's desk, which has not been read.

MR. O'NEAL Is it open for discussion? If so, we want to discuss it.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM. According to the understanding of the Chair, the status of the question is the gentleman from Chambers offers an amendment to an amendment. The gentleman from Jefferson. Mr. White, made a motion to lay upon the table, afterwards, the gentleman from Chambers asked unanimous consent to withdraw his amendment. It is the opinion of the Chair that pending a motion to lay upon the table, the gentleman from Chambers could not withdraw unless the gentleman withdraws his motion to lay upon the table.

MR. WHITE– I am willing to do it for the purpose of substituting one amendment for the other.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM. The Chair hears no objection, and the gentleman from Chambers withdraws his amendment and offers a substitute.


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The Secretary read the substitute as follows: “Provided that persons who can neither read nor write on account of physical disability shall be allowed to register and vote if otherwise qualified as provided in this subdivision.”

Upon a vote being taken, the amendment was adopted.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM.– The question recurs upon the amendment offered by the committee as amended. The reading of the amendment is called for.

The amendment was again read.

MR. WHITE– I call for the previous question on the adoption of the first subdivision amended and also upon the section – No I will not do that, I will withhold the call upon the section.

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery)– I call for the ayes and noes.

The call for the ayes and noes was not sustained.

A vote being taken the main question was ordered upon the subdivision.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM– The question is upon the adoption of the substitute offered by the Committee as amended.

MR. ROBINSON– If the gentleman desires the ayes and noes on that I have no objection to it.

There were expressions of dissent.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM– Does the gentleman from Chambers demand the ayes and noes?

MR. ROBINSON– Yes sir, I will.

The call for ayes and noes was not sustained, and upon a vote being taken the substitute as amended was adopted.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM– The question recurs upon the adoption of Section 5 as amended.

MR. LONG (Walker)– I have a substitute.

The Clerk read the substitute as follows:

Be it ordained that Section 5 of the report of the Committee on Suffrage and Elections be stricken out and the following inserted in lieu thereof:

Section 5. The General Assembly shall provide by law for the registration of all male persons who become citizens of Alabama on and after the 1st of January, 1903, provided, any law for registration made by the General Assembly shall require all applicants, for registration after January 1st, 1903, to be eligible to


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register under all the requirements made by Section 2 of this Article; provided, the General Assembly may make, by law, to become operative after January 1st, 1903, such other provisions for registering and voting not in conflict with this Constitution.

MR. LONG (Walker) Under that substitute of mine, the soldier clause, the grandfather clause, the descendants of soldiers, the good character, and understanding clause, would be stopped on January 1, 1903, this is a very–

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM. Permit the Chair to state the question. The question is on the amendment to Section 5 by the gentleman from Walker.

MR. LONG That amendment of mine stops the soldier clause, the descendant clause, good character clause, and understanding clause on January 1, 1903, and it requires the legislature to pass a law in conformity with Section 2 of this article, which is a poll tax qualification of those from twenty-one to forty-five years of age, to apply– catch this point– only to those who become citizens after January 1, 1903, by becoming of age or living in the State of Alabama. A man who is refused registration prior to 1903 could not apply for registration under a poll tax clause. I think that is a fair amendment, it does away with the property and the educational qualifications, it also gives the legislature to the right, if they see fit and proper, after the 1st of January, 1903, to enact a property and educational qualification, if they wanted to, to enact a soldier clause if they wanted to , to enact any other provision in this Constitution, but it requires them only to enact tat part of it that relates to the poll tax. Now, Mr. President, I am and have always been opposed to a property and educational right of suffrage. Why, sir, at Charlottesville, at Monticello, it is chiseled on the tomb of Thomas Jefferson, that he was the author of universal manhood suffrage and universal religious freedom in the State of Virginia. What would that old man think today if he were to wake up and come down here and see Democrats advocating three hundred dollars’ worth of property for the right to vote?

MR. FITTS Will the gentleman yield?

MR. LONG I will not yield now, Mr. President.

MR. FITTS I just wanted to ask him when that “manhood” business got on that tombstone. The last time I looked at it it was not there.

MR. LONG I hope this will not be taken out of my time. I know I am up against a shell game, and it will do no good, but I am here to speak my protest against a property and educational qualification. I have, sir, no respect for a clause in any suffrage report that allows a man, as I previously stated on this floor, to


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

vote because his wife is the owner of forty acres of land; I have no respect for a suffrage that allows a man to vote because he has a pittance of three hundred dollars. Why not make it three thousand dollars? Why not make it three hundred thousand dollars, yea, three millions of dollars for the right to vote? There is a class of people you want to knock out prior to January, 1903, and I am willing to go with you that far, but I am not willing to go beyond that and to say every citizen thereafter born in the State of Alabama shall possess three hundred dollars of property or be able to read and write the English language before he shall have the right to vote. Why, it is contrary to every principle of Democracy. I want a man to rise up here and honestly defend it, if there is any excuse for it. have we become an oligarchy or become so base that we ignore every principle of Democracy which should represent the common people? Have we gone so far in our passion that we can go before the people of North Alabama and say that after 1903 you poor people will be disfranchised. I tell you it will disfranchise hundreds of them. It will leave it with the registrars to say who shall vote. Why, sir, under this understanding clause alone, between now and the 1st of January, 1903, you can register every man in this State, black and white. If you have nothing else but that, you can do it, because the man that has no understanding is a fool and you should be in the asylum, and if he does not understand the duties of citizenship he is a villain and should be in the penitentiary. I am willing to go further than that and give you a soldier and grandfather clause up to January, 1903, but then and there I think a poll tax requirement would be sufficient. Now, Mr. President, instead of forty acres, why not make it forty acres and a mule. What is the difference?

MR. FITTS– The mule is the difference.

MR. LONG– The mule might be the difference, but there is no difference in character whatever. You go so far as to say that you have to live on the forty acres of land before you can vote. A man may live in town and own forty acres of land so poor that he could not raise a difficulty on it and yet you require him to live on it, in order to vote. That is the requirement here. I hope the members on the floor who are opposed to educational and property qualifications will consider this well. I believe it is absurd and unnecessary and inexcusable, because there can be no good reason for it. Why sir, some of the best and purest men I ever saw were the poorest men. We believe that Lazarus was better than Dives; you would disfranchise Lazarus and enfranchise Dives.

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery)– Because he is living in hell – that is his home.

MR. LONG– Yes, and hell is not far from such a proposition as this. (Laughter) I could respect it better if there was any


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION,1901

excuse for it. With my amendment, a man can register once after January 1, 1903. What more do you want? Why do you want to go to your property and educational qualifications? Why is it needed? I believe that a man should have both property and education in order to enjoy himself and fit himself for this world, but I don’t believe that he should have it in order to be allowed to vote. I believe that a poll tax qualification after 1903 is sufficient, Now, gentlemen, I invite your careful attention to it and ask that you give it the consideration that it is entitled to. It is a question, and it will be a question that every man that goes upon the stump will have to meet. I can see no good in it, and no reason for it. Did we advocate it in the canvass? I dare say that there is not a man that spoke in favor of the Constitutional Convention in Alabama, and I was one of them, that advocated in a single speech that we would have a property and educational qualification for the right of suffrage. Had we advocated it, we would not be here in this Convention, this Convention would never have been called. You know I am speaking plain facts to you, and I am speaking the honest truth to you. Why I have heard it from the opponents of Democracy for twenty years, that the time would come in Alabama when the Democrats would advocate a property and educational qualification for future generations. I have denied it, but I see today we are about to enact it. It is but a step second only, in my opinion, to the destruction of the grand old party I love so well, it is departing so far from the landmarks, that we are not worthy of the name of Democrats any more– which is but the voice of the people– we have become a party advocating wealth, and to give wealth the right to vote. Why did not a committee in this Convention bring in a favorable report that a majority of the property owners and the owners only of property should vote? and that a majority of property should be required to carry a measure through. It was favorably reported by a committee in this Convention. That will be the next stop, and it is but a step, scarcely a span between one and the other. If it is right to have $300, it is right to have $900, and the man that has $900 of property should be entitled to three votes to the man that has $300. Can you justify it? I appeal to you today, as men who have the interests of the Democracy at heart. There cannot be excuse given on account of white supremacy, because I tell you white supremacy can take care of itself and it will take care of itself in the registration between now and January 1, 1903.

MR. BAREFIELD– I wish to ask the gentleman a question.

THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM– Will the gentleman yield?

MR. LONG – Certainly.

MR. BAREFIELD– If the property qualification is the only qualification under which a man can vote?


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. LONG– It is the only qualification after 1903 except an educational qualification.

MR. BAREFIELD– Well, then, suppose a man is not educated and has $300 of property?

MR. LONG– Then, he may vote, but suppose he is not educated and has not $300 worth or property, then he cannot vote. Is he any better because he has $300 worth of property or $3,000 worth of property? You make the difference right there in your own question. You say that a man is entitled to vote because he has wedded a woman who has forty acres of land or $300 of property, or has it in his own right, you might as well say that a man with a country mule only should vote.

President Knox resumed the chair.

MR. WADDELL Did the House on yesterday not adopt the old rule limiting the debate to ten minutes on amendments?

THE PRESIDENT–The present occupant of the Chair was absent. The Chair is informed that the gentleman from Walker has about one minute more.

MR. LONG– Thanks to the interruption of the distinguished gentleman from Russell. The wicked flee when no man pursueth.

(Laughter.)

MR. WEATHERLY– Mr. President and gentlemen of the Convention, it is somewhat astonishing to me that a gentleman of the intelligence and quick apprehension of the gentleman who has just taken his seat should misapprehend the purpose and plan of suffrage as reported by the Committee, should so widely misapprehend it as his remarks show he has done. It is astonishing to me, too, that the gentleman should deliberately offer an amendment to this Section which definitely prescribed the qualifications of voters, and amendment which leaves it entirely to the Legislature– to their discretion to prescribe the qualifications of voters, after 1903. The gentleman has given us a very fulsome diatribe here against certain qualifications in this plan of suffrage, and yet by the very amendment that he has offered, he leaves to the discretion of the Legislature, the power to prescribe the very qualifications that he condemns. The last provision of his substitute reads as follows: “Provided the General Assembly may make by law to become operative after January 1, 1903, such other provisions for registering and voting not in conflict with this Constitution.

MR. LONG– Hasn’t the Legislature always had that right? Haven’t they always the right, and should they not have the right to do anything not prohibited by the Constitution?


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. WEATHERLY– Oh, yes, not prohibited by the Constitution, but we propose to fix here definitely the qualifications for voters in the fundamental law, and we have already heard, I suppose, there is not a delegate on this floor who has not heard that at some time or other, objections made to leaving it to the Legislature to prescribe the qualifications of voters– in other words, it has always been the policy of our State, as I understand it, that the Legislature should be powerless to prescribe any extra constitutional qualifications for voters. Now the plan offered here by the committee is very simple. Between now and January 1, 1903, all persons who possess these simple qualifications in the temporary plan, will be let in to register and vote. Those coming of age after that date, the younger men, the coming generation, will have to possess the qualifications prescribed in this Section 5, reading and writing is one of them, occupation and some employment for twelve months in connection with the reading and writing clause, and then the possession of a very small amount of property, not the possession of wealth, but of a modest amount of property. Now the purpose of the committee was to fix some definite qualification, both simple and at the same time easily attainable, by the citizen, remembering always that those who are voters now are made life electors under the temporary plan. So it seems to me that the anger and zeal of the gentleman are entirely misdirected and he has gone further– he has put it in the power of the Legislature, not only to prescribe these very qualifications of reading and writing and the possession of property, but to do more; he has put it in the power of the Legislature to perpetuate the Board of Registrars so that they may perpetually require as a qualification for voting, good character and understanding of the duties of citizenship of any other kind of a clause. You cannot tell what the Legislature would prescribe under that power, which his amendment gives to them, and it is dangerous. I do not think the Convention care to hear further upon this subject, and therefore I move the previous question on this amendment and the section as reported by the committee.

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

MR. VAUGHAN I move to lay upon the table the substitute of the gentleman from Walker.

MR. LONG On that I call for the ayes and noes.

The call was sustained.

THE PRESIDENT The question is to table the substitute offered by the gentleman from Walker.

The vote resulted as follows:


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

AYES.

Messrs. President,

Heflin, of Chambers,

Pearce,

Altman,

Heflin, of Randolph,

Pettus,

Ashcraft,

Henderson,

Pillans,

Banks,

Hinson,

Pitts,

Barefield,

Hood,

Proctor,

Bethune,

Howze,

Reese,

Blackwell,

Inge,

Rogers, of Lowndes,

Boone,

Jackson,

Rogers, of Sumter,

Brooks,

Jenkins,

Samford,

Burnett,

Jones, of Hale,

Sanders,

Carmichael, of Colbert,

Jones, of Montgomery,

Searcy,

Carnathon,

Jones, of Wilcox,

Selheimer,

Chapman,

Knight,

Smith, of Mobile,

Cobb,

Kyle,

Smith, Morgan M.

Coleman, of Greene,

Ledbetter,

Spragins,

Coleman, of Walker,

Lomax,

Tayloe,

Cornwall,

Macdonald,

Vaughan,

Cunningham,

McMillan (Baldwin),

Waddell,

Dent,

McMillan, of Wilcox,

Walker,

deGraffenreid,

Malone,

Watts,

Duke,

Maxwell,

Weakley,

Eley,

Merrill,

Weatherly,

Eyster,

Miller, of Marengo,

White,

Fletcher,

Miller, of Wilcox,

Willet,

Foster,

Morrissette,

Williams, of Barbour,

Glover,

NeSmith,

Williams, of Marengo,

Graham, of Montgomery,

Norwood,

Wilson, of Clarke,

Graham, of Talladega,

Oates,

Wilson, of Washington,

Grant,

O’Neal, of Lauderdale,

Winn,

Grayson,

O’Rear

Greer, of Perry,

Palmer,

Handley,

Parker, of Cullman,

TOTAL– 94

NOES.

Beavers,

Kirkland,

Porter,

Beddow,

Leigh,

Reynolds, of Chilton,

Bulger,

Long, of Butler,

Robinson,

Byars,

Long, of Walker,

Sanford,

Cardon,

Lowe, of Jefferson,

Smith, Mac A.,

Davis, of Etowah,

Lowe, of Lawrence,

Sollie,

Foshee,

Martin,

Sorrell,

Haley,

Moody,

Spears,

Hodges,

Murphree,

Thompson,

Howell,

O’Neill (Jefferson),

Whiteside,

Jones, of Bibb,

Parker, of Elmore,

Williams, of Elmore,

Kirk,

Phillips,

TOTAL– 34


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING

Almon,

Fitts,

Opp,

Browne,

Gilmore,

Renfro,

Carmichael, of Coffee,

Harrison,

Reynolds (Henry),

Case,

King,

Sentell,

Davis, of DeKalb,

Locklin,

Studdard,

Espy,

Mulkey,

Ferguson,

Norman,

PAIRS

AYES NOES

Burns,

Bartlett,

Stewart,

Cofer,

Craig,

Freeman,

Greer, of Calhoun,

Sloan,

So the substitute was laid on the table.

THE PRESIDENT– The question recurs upon the demand for the previous question on the section as amended.

MR. KIRK I have an additional amendment to offer to Section 5.

THE PRESIDENT The Chair will state for the information of the gentleman from Lauderdale that the pending question is a demand for the previous question on Section 5.

Upon a vote being taken, the previous question was ordered.

THE PRESIDENT– The question is on the section as amended.

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery) I call for the ayes and noes.

The call for the ayes and noes was not sustained.

Upon a vote being taken, the section as amended was adopted.

MR. KIRK Can I introduce an additional subdivision to Section 5 ?

THE PRESIDENT It would be necessary to reconsider the vote by which Section 5 was adopted, before the amendment could be offered in the opinion of the Chair.

MR. WHITE As I recollect on yesterday, the reading of Section 10 was dispensed with, and a resolution adopted that we should take up the section by subdivisions.

The Secretary will read the first subdivision:

Sec. 10. The General Assembly shall provide by law for the registration, after the first day of January, 1903, of all qualified


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

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:

MR. OATES– I rise to offer an amendment to that subdivision, first paragraph.

THE PRESIDENT– Does the amendment of the gentleman relate to that paragraph?

MR. OATES– I think it does– to the first paragraph?

THE PRESIDENT– He has simply read the first paragraph which is not the first subdivision.

MR. OATES– I withdraw it then.

THE PRESIDENT– The gentleman can offer his amendment when the subdivision is reached.

MR. OATES– All right.

MR. REESE– I rise to offer the amendment to the paragraph which has just been read.

The Secretary read the amendment as follows: By adding after the word “electors” in the second line, the words, “except bastards, who shall not be registered unless their disability of legitimacy shall have first been removed by the Legislature.”

THE PRESIDENT– The question is on the amendment of the gentleman from Dallas.

MR. REESE– MR. President, I had hoped that it would not be necessary for me to suggest any amendment to the report of this committee. It is an able report; but, Mr. President, it is fortunate that the representation of this Convention is so largely scattered because local conditions in Alabama are different. We are making a Constitution to last a long time. Mr. President, I regard it as my duty to the Constituents—

MR. WHITE– I rise to a point of order. The amendment offered by the gentleman is not germane. The qualifications come entirely under Section 6.

MR. REESE– I make the point of order that the objection comes too late. The chair has submitted the amendment to the Convention, and it is a difference of opinion between the gentleman and myself.

THE PRESIDENT– It seems to the Chair that the point of order that the amendment is not germane should have been made when the amendment was offered and before the Chair submitted the amendment. The Chair will, therefore, overrule the point of order.


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. WHITE I admit the correctness of the ruling, generally speaking, but when it becomes a question whether it is germane or not—

MR. REESE Is this time to be taken from my ten minutes?

THE PRESIDENT The gentleman from Dallas will please suspend while the Chair hears the question of inquiry from the gentleman from Jefferson.

MR. WHITE– In other words, it is no more germane now than when it was originally offered, and, by accepting all amendment wholly foreign to the subject, you may utterly ruin or destroy the section or paragraph. The point of order should have been made at the time that the amendment was offered but the question of whether it is germane or not, it seems to me, will arise and be always properly before the chair when presented, There is no time when it will not be in order.

MR. REESE– If the remarks of the gentleman have changed the opinion of the Chair, I would like to be heard.

THE PRESIDENT– The gentleman from Dallas will please wait until the Chair gets through hearing the gentleman from Jefferson. The Chair understands the rule to be, ordinarily, that where a matter of inconsistency arises as to amendments and the main question, that question should ordinarily be submitted to the Convention, especially as the Chair has entertained the amendment and submitted it to the Convention. While the gentleman from Dallas was discussing it, it seemed it would not be proper to rule it out of order. The Chair will overrule the point of order. If the Convention does not think the amendment germane and inconsistent with the section under consideration, the Convention can reject the amendment.

MR. REESE– An amendment covering this principle should have been offered to the section which we have passed, containing the prohibitions. I will say that this idea is one that has been nursed and has been slept with by my colleague (Mr. Burns) ever since this Convention has assembled and had he not been engaged on affairs of great moment at the time we passed Section 6, the amendment would have been offered to that section. In the constituency that I represent, after a careful examination of the prohibitions in this Article, it will leave my people in a dangerous condition. I am afraid to go back to my constituency with the proposition in this plank, and I have endeavored to ascertain some reliable information from the Committee on Suffrage without success. I am fairly familiar with the conditions in my county, and the neighboring town of Selma. Educational facilities there for the colored people have been unusually good; in many respects, Mr. President, better than for the white people. The Northern


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people have done much for the negro about Selma. Mr. President, I consider it my duty to warn this Convention against refusing to put a proposition in here that will protect the supremacy of the white people in the county that I represent. Mr. President, this is a proposition that is a sound and moral one. In England and in every country from which we trace our civilization it is the law, and in the Ten Commandments that the sins of the father shall be visited upon their children to the third and fourth generation. Mr. President, barring the soundness and correctness of the proposition, and there can be no question of that, it will incidentally removed from active participation in the politics of this State a large and objectionable element. This amendment eliminates one of the most objectionable elements and classes that there is in the Black Belt. In the town of Selma, along the outskirts, in the lanes and alleys, are the hatching places of the class I would have eliminated– yellow bucks around every town, young fellows around every town, of the most disreputable class among the people. I would far rather trust the affairs of the State in the hands of the old slaves that we had before the war than to the element that we have about the bar rooms and crap dens of our towns. I am afraid, and solely afraid, that the people of my section will be afraid to trust themselves under the new regime, if this is allowed to continue. If this Constitution is adopted, the people that I represent will have burned the bridges behind them, and have cut off that which has been their salvation, and the salvation of the county that the President comes from, and the salvation of the northern counties of this State for twenty-five years. We will have to stand where this Convention puts us. Much has been said here, and I have gone far for a proposition that has not my personal sanction. I have supported the grandfather clause, in order that the poor white boys should not be deprived of their vote, because I thought that we had promised it, but the members of this Convention should not ram down on my people this class running around the towns of our Black Belt.

MR. HOOD– Would not your amendment disfranchise some white people in Alabama?

MR .REESE– I don’t think the question needs answering.

MR. HOOD– Wouldn’t an amendment like that have disfranchised Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln?

A DELEGATE– They are all dead.

MR. REESE– I yielded to the gentleman for an inquiry, not to engage in a controversy with him. It is of course a fact that there are some white men in this State who would fall within the category of this amendment, but, Mr. President, the talk has been from the hills of North Alabama as to what the poor white boys want, and I do not propose to put my people under the hand of


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negro rule because it might disfranchise one or two bastards in the white counties of Alabama. We have none such in my county, we are a moral people, and I say further to North Alabama people, you must not have that class of white citizens. I say that if the gentleman from North Alabama will conform to the rules of morality adopted in my county they will have no trouble. It is right and proper. While the man himself is not responsible, there are others that are responsible, and he should bear the burden of his father’s sin. The Committee on “Harmonies” can straighten this matter up, and I appeal to the members of the Convention to help us out. I hope they will give me an opportunity to go back and tell my people it is to their interest to support the action of the Convention. I hope the people of my section will feel that way, and I ask you to give me that opportunity.


MR. COLEMAN– The gentleman's authority that he quoted in justification of his statement, that the sins of the fathers should be visited upon the children, is not supported by that Book. It was a proverb in Israel that the "Fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge," but the Lord declared against the proverb and said. "When the son hath done that which is right, he shall surely live; and that the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father." (Ezekial 18 chapter.) That is from the same authority that he cites. We have a pledge and have acted up to it here, that no white man shall be disfranchised. It is well known, and it is not necessary to call names, that in a neighboring county, one of the leading citizens who has accumulated a large fortune labors under that disability, and there is a promising young, attorney in this State who's equally unfortunate. It may be as the gentleman states that there are none of that kind in his county, but I must say if there are more, his neighboring counties have been frequent visitors to his own county, if there are any indications in color. I move to lay the amendment upon the table.

Upon a vote being taken the amendment was tabled.

MR. BURNS I want to give notice that at the proper time I will reconsider.

THE PRESIDENT The question will be upon the adoption of the paragraph as read.

Upon a vote being taken the paragraph was adopted.

THE PRESIDENT The Secretary will read the next subdivision.

First Registration shall be conducted, in each county, by a board of three reputable and suitable persons resident in the county, who shall not hold any elective office during their term, to be appointed within 60 days after the ratification of this Constitution by the Governor, Auditor and Commissioner of Agriculture and


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Industries, or a majority of them, acting as a Board of Appointment. If one or more of the persons appointed on such Board of Registration shall refuse, neglect or be unable to qualify or serve, or a vacancy or vacancies occur in the membership of the Board of Registrars from any cause, the Governor, Auditor and Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries or a majority of them, acting as a Board of Appointment, shall make other appointments to fill such board. Each registrar shall receive $2 per day, to be paid by the State and disbursed by the several Probate Judges, for each day’s attendance upon the sessions of the board.

Before entering upon the performance of the duties of his office, each registrar shall take the same oath required of the judicial officers of the State, which oath shall be in writing and subscribed by the registrar, and filed in the office of the Probate Judge of the county.

MR. REYNOLDS (Chilton) – Mr. President and gentlemen. While I arise here to discuss this question, I feel like this Convention looks at the opposition here as being of no importance and fourteen or fifteen men out of a body of 155 does seem very insignificant, but when we look at the vote calling the Convention, there is not so much difference after all, and when we take in consideration where the opposition vote came from the Convention cannot afford to hear both sides of this question, for if it does there will be a time and place where the opposition will be heard. I read from The Montgomery Journal: A few days ago The Journal said that about a half dozen of the black belt counties had furnished about twenty thousand of the twenty-four thousand majority in the State for the Constitutional Convention. The exact facts and figures are: The black belt counties, or rather counties in which the negro population predominates, gave the Constitution 25,325 majority.

I am sorry I could not get an opportunity before to express my views on this important matter and I will not take up much time. I see some papers now getting restless. I read from a Decatur paper: Everything in Alabama is burnt up by the heat except a lot of Constitutional Conventioners who are too tough, and a few country editors who are too green to burn.

I reckon these are the editors that jumped on me about the free passes.

At the outset, I would respectfully ask that I be not interrupted, though I would be glad to answer any questions when I have concluded.

In speaking against the majority report of the Committee, I feel like the blind candidate seeking admission to the temple of the Holy St. John. However, I conceive it my duty, both to my


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constituents and myself, to make known my objections. On account of serious illness in my family my attendance here of late has been irregular, much to my regret, as I desired to hear every argument pro and con. Even now I ought to be with the loved sufferers at home, but I think the majority report is greatly wrong in principle and calculated to work great injustice and I am here to oppose it.

Mr. President, it is no doubt well known that I opposed the calling of this Convention and that I urged my friends to vote for “No Convention.” We are here, though, and it behooves us, one and all, to study carefully the questions presented and do “what is right in God’s sight.” Now, we are confronted with the great problem of the Convention reformation and restriction of the suffrage. I dare assert that no one will be heard to say that there is no intention to restrict the suffrage. The suffrage then, is to be restricted limited, under the temporary plan, to those of good character, soldiers and descendants of soldiers under the permanent plan, to persons of intelligence, or to owners of property over a certain amount. A mere cursory glance at the plans suggested would show that some persons, who are now entitled to vote, will be deprived of that privilege. We are told however, that the discrimination is to be confined to the negro that no white man is to be disfranchised. Then, why, pray, have we a partisan board to pass on the qualifications of applicants? Right here I would ask, and I pause for a reply from the distinguished Chairman of the Committee, would you yourself vote for the plan suggested, if the Board of Registrars should, by the law itself, be composed wholly of men opposed to the Democratic party?

I want to ask my friend from Jefferson that question, and I pause for a reply. Would you vote for the adoption of the plan submitted under those conditions?

MR. WHITE Just what I would do individually possibly would not be entertaining to the Convention, Mr. President.

MR. REYNOLDS (Chilton) I never saw a lawyer in my life that did not know how to get out of answering a question. We common folks have to answer them. I impute to no one dishonorable motive, but it does seem that the organic law should not itself create a partisan political board. But, it is said, that those who hold the offices named merely happen to be Democrats and that they are good men. This would be no reply, however, for we all know their political affiliations. Now, I want to say that I would oppose my plan that would create a Board of Registrars consisting exclusively of members of one party, be that party Republican, Democratic or Populist. Judging from the election returns from Dallas, Lowndes, Hale, Greene and other black belt counties, the Democratic party has nothing whatever to gain from


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a disfranchisement of the negro. Such disfranchisement would be beneficial alone to the parties in opposition to the dominant party in this State. We are all familiar with the fact that it was the large majorities front the black belt that have kept the Democratic party in power in this State. We hear it said that the negroes of the black belt actually vote the Democratic ticket. About this I do not know, nor do I doubt the honor and integrity of the officers named as registrars, but, in all candor, would it not be a little too much to expect them to disfranchise their party and political friends– those party friends, upon whose votes their reelection depends? Solely to disfranchise the negro? Why, I have been told by a gentleman of great political influence in his county– a gentleman, by the way, from a black belt county that, in his county, the negroes would not be disfranchised, that the white people of his county had and have no idea of giving up this great political power and would not do so. That gentleman approves, so I understand, of the majority report.

During the course of this debate, it has been said that the officers are presumed to do their duty. That we should not indulge the presumption that they would act dishonestly. Yes, in the past, we were told that we must presume that the election officers would do their duty in accordance with law and justice. Has such been the case? As was well stated by the distinguished gentleman from Jefferson, we were called here to purify the ballot, to put an end to the frauds in our elections.

Mr. President, I have seen the Senate of Alabama itself, in a contested election, refuse to go into the justice of a case, but on a mere technicality – a doubtful one at that– deny to a people the right to choose its representative, and give a seat in that high and honorable body to one who was not elected, and this, too, in the face of proof so glaring and evident that no one has ever had the hardihood to deny the frauds. Honorable gentlemen, all, but the force of the party last, political preferment, made them do that which they knew to a wrong. And I would respectfully add that a member of that Senate is now the honored Governor of this State.

Oh, we must not expect perfection this side the grave. “True, pity ‘tis, tis true.” We in the opposition are not demanding perfection. We do demand that the power of the kings be curtailed. We prefer a limited to an absolute monarchy.

As to the grandfather clause. I am not a lawyer and must depend upon the opinion of those learned in the law. Upon one occasion. a case was being argued before that distinguished Jurist, who has been so highly, lauded in this Convention, and it was contended that a certain brief filed in the case did not correctly assert the law. Upon inquiry, the judge was told that the brief


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was written by Governor Jones, and he immediately replied.:"Pretty apt to be right." I have heard, and I do not doubt it, that the Honorable Chief Justice of this State has said that the briefs of the distinguished gentleman from Montgomery ever asserted the true principles of the law and the proper application thereof. Knowing his honesty and integrity, I am constrained to take his view of that clause and believe that it is at least of doubtful constitutionality. And in this I am confirmed by the report itself. So, believing, under my oath, I will vote against that provision.

Mr. President, I am opposed to disfranchising white men, but, Mr. President. I favor disfranchising those not of good character. The vicious should not be permitted to vote, and if one cannot qualify under a good character clause, I am here to assert that he should be disqualified. We all know that the newspapers generally reflect the views of their constituents. With the newspapers, this grandfather clause does not seem to be in high favor, and I may add that I have yet to hear of a single person, outside of this Convention that wants that clause.

The character clause, however, might well be the instrument of great injustice and oppression, and in the hands of a partisan political board, no doubt exists that it would be so used. For myself, I would prefer the word reputation, as I take it that only those of known bad character are to be disfranchised, but I believe this provision is more for the purpose of turning voters in than turning them out. However, I would suggest to the members of the Convention that, in my part of the State, we send such men to the penitentiary. The great objection to the character clause is, as I have said, that it makes the registrars the judges of men's characters and, in the hands of a politically partisan board of registrars, is widely open to fraud. Under this clause the registrars could undeniably build up an electorate to their own liking. Is this to be desired? Then, why invite such fraud, especially in the face of the fact that we came here to purify the elections and the electorate, to close the gates of fraud and bar and double – lock them? It has been argued that the men of the Black Belt are honest and intend to carry out the provisions and spirit of this plan and disfranchise the negro and him alone. Suppose it should be found necessary to have the negro vote of the Black Belt to perpetuate the Democratic Party in power, think you not the means will be found by which, and the then by whom, this negro vote will be secured?

The Age Herald says:

FIVE OTHER PROPOSITIONS

Congressman Bowle is mistaken when he says only one provision of the majority report of the Committee on Suffrage has been assailed. This is a mistake. The grandfather clause is as


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sailed because of its un-American nature, in that it makes heredity the basis of an electorate. But there are others, several others, that have been assailed, These are as follows:

First– A Board of Registration that can create a life electorate at will, there being no remedy that a poor man can resort to against oppression or injustice.

Second– The good character clause, which in the hands of politically appointed registrars is utterly indefinite, and very open to fraud. It makes the registrars, the judges of men’s motives and characters. This is also very un-American.

Third The understanding clause, which requires a voter to understand “the obligations and duties of citizenship.”

Fourth –a life electorate.

Fifth The lawful occupation clause, and the naming of employers in five years preceding.

All of these in this singularly complicated plan have been assailed, and are daily assailed. Mr .Bowle has no doubt named the clause that is oftenest assailed, but the grandfather clause is by no means the only one. The other five have plenty of opponents in perhaps every county in the State and one of them should be adopted under the impression that it stands approved ‘unanimously’ among the people.”

Under the permanent plan, only those who can read and write any Section of the Constitution and who have been regularly engaged in some lawful business or occupation, trade or calling, for twelve months next preceding the time they offer to register, or those who have $300 of personal or $300 worth of realty in their own or their wife’s name are permitted to register. Right here a pertinent inquiry would be, should we permit that man who places his property in his wife’s name for the purpose of defrauding his creditors, to qualify because his wife owns $300 of personal property? I, for one, do not believe that it is necessary for a man to be able to read and write to constitute him a good citizen– a citizen worthy to enjoy the privilege of voting.

True, under the grandfather clause, many of those who cannot read and write are enabled to register. But this clause is only temporary and no provision is made for descendants of soldiers who come of age after 1903. If the grandfather clause is good to 1903, why not always good? If the understanding and character clause is good until 1903, why not equally good thereafter: by the adoption of the permanent plan we will certainly disfranchise many white men after 1903. We have heard many delegates get up here and affirm that they would have to keep their pledge to the letter– the pledge not to disfranchise any white man except


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for infamous crime. It seems to be, though, that that pledge had regard only to the first registration after the adoption of this Constitution, and not to any subsequent registration. Yes, you can tell your constituents that you have not disfranchised any white man. But suppose they ask what about their sons who come of age in 1903. Will your answer not be “disfranchised, if they cannot read and write, and have not been regularly at work the twelve months preceding the time he offers to register, or unless they own a certain amount of property ?” Think you that your constituents care only as regards themselves alone, and no thought is taken for their posterity?

On the other hand, Mr. President, I do not believe that every man who can read and write is a good citizen. Some of our most intelligent people are the busiest in corrupting the ballot. As we all know, more money is expended in purchasing legislators and delegates to nominating conventions, than is ever distributed among the ignorant classes themselves. I might refer you to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, or to recent Congressional and Sheriff nominations in our own State.

Not only must a man be able to read and write, he must have been regularly engaged in some lawful business for the next twelve months preceding the time he offers to register. True, the honored and learned Chairman of this Convention explained to the Convention what was meant by that clause, but he and the committee did not go far enough– they neither guaranteed nor did they prescribe that the registrars would interpret that clause in a like manner. Suppose that, in the mining districts of this State, the employes should go on a strike for a month or more, and suppose the county registrars in those districts were favorable to the employers– the corporations – can it be doubted how they would interpret this clause and that they would deny those employes the right to register? Again, suppose the employes of a railroad strike, can it be doubted that the registrars, who would very likely ride on a free pass, would deny those employes the right to register, or withhold that right until they returned to work?

Virtue and manhood do not depend on the amount of property a man owns, nor should the qualification of a voter be wealth alone. but, if we are to abandon manhood suffrage and make the sole qualification one of property, we ought to be fair in our treatment of wealth. If $300 would qualify a person to vote, then a person who owns $600 should be given two votes, and so on in proportion. Under the plan here set out a person might possibly be the owner of $299 and yet not be able to qualify under the property clause. For, he must own $300 of personal property, or $300 of real property. Mr. President, I am opposed to special privileges. I believe that each man should be equal under the law. But, if anyone is to be given special privileges, it should be the poor man


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and not the rich one. Follow the plan of permitting a man to vote because he owns a certain amount of property, to its ultimate and legitimate conclusion, and you would have a Rockefeller for President and a Mark Hanna for Governor.

We hear it argued here that we have put in the grandfather clause, because we have to submit our work back to the people and so we must be careful to leave room for all to qualify. But in case this grandfather clause is declared unconstitutional, and the life electorate falls to the ground, as admitted, then will the Legislature be permitted to disfranchise any or all white men if it pleases, and not have to refer their work back? It seems to me that here we will be doing indirectly that which our consciences will not permit us to do directly.

We come to the registration plan. I am as much opposed to it as the other.

MR. SMITH I will ask the gentleman if he is not opposed to this Convention and to everything the Convention has done.


MR. REYNOLDS No, you have done some good things, and I have voted for them. I will state, in answer to the question, that I said in the outset that I was opposed to the calling of the Convention, but, Mr. President, that does not carry with it that I am opposed to reformation, and I say now, if this new Constitution would hold up, to my mind, better than the old one; if it puts Alabama upon a high plane, moral plane, such as you wanted before the Convention, I will say I am ready to help him ratify it, and will do all in my part of the State to ratify it, but if, on the other hand, I do not believe this Convention will do what we claim it will do, and if it is not better than the old one, I will say I will go back and advocate the adoption of the old Constitution and stand by the old ruts.

In case the registrars unjustly deny a citizen the privilege and right to register, we are told that he will have the opportunity of appealing to the courts. I dare say that there are some worthy citizens what could ill afford the expense. If the registrars should be bad and dishonorable men and register those not qualified nor worthy of the high privilege of suffrage, what remedy is provided? The list, are not subject to expurgation. An appeal might be made to the Supreme Court of the United States, but you declare that that august tribunal will not interfere. There is not the slightest doubt that thousands of white men will be disfranchised by the plan of registration here suggested. We all remember the registration plan under the Sayre election law as first passed. By it each voter was given a month in which to register, but that time was in the month of May, when no election was being held, when the farmers were the busiest with their work, and the necessary result was the disfranchisement of many white men, though no


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qualifications, other than that of age, were required. I had the honor of being a member of the Legislature when that law, as regard registration, was repealed, and the argument there advanced for its repeal was that it worked a great hardship upon the voters. But here we have a board possessed with almost unlimited power, with the right to inquire of every applicant where he has been for the last five years what he has been doing and yet these registrars are not required to be in any one beat more than one day. This law tells the registrars that they shall do so and so, but if you violate it that is with you, your conscience and your God. It is in the common experience of all that those laws, to which no penalty is attached, are not only openly violated, but actually disregarded. Take, for example, the anti pass provision of our present Constitution.

Gentlemen of the Convention, I beg of you to go slow and be sure that no worthy man be disqualified, and that you leave not his privileges and rights under the control of a partisan political board. History teaches us that rights once taken away are seldom, if ever, restored.

And I take this opportunity to warn you that there must be some provision adopted whereby the people will understand and know that the electorate will be fairly and impartially made up, and that there must be a further provision that will insure the people that their will shall be fairly and freely expressed at the ballot box and their votes counted as cast; and, by the eternal gods, the white men of this country will vote, though it be at the point of the bayonet or the muzzle of a shot gun.

MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) Are you in favor of disfranchising any negro?

MR. REYNOLDS (Chilton) Yes, sir; I am in favor of disfranchising every negro in Alabama who would sell his vote or barter his vote. I am as broad as you are, to get applause from the gallery. I am not in favor of disfranchising Booker Washington, and your plan won't do that.

MR. HEFLIN Didn't you say a few moments ago in your speech that a plan that would take away from any man the right to vote is wrong?

MR. REYNOLDS No, sir. If I said that I did not mean to so state. I say that I am in favor of disfranchising every negro in Alabama that is vicious, that will sell his vote or barter his vote in an election.

MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) I just wanted the gentleman to answer yes or no.

MR. OATES I have an amendment to offer.


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The Secretary read the amendment as follows:

“Amend Section 10, first subdivision, in line two: Insert between the words ‘person’ and ‘President’ the following: ‘Not more than two of whom shall be of the same political party.’”

MR. OATES– The older I get the more doubtful I am as to the correctness of my own opinion. I suppose it is because I examine and re-examine these opinions when they touch an important question. I offered this amendment, in the Committee and the Committee refused to adopt it and for a time, sir, I was disposed to acquiesce quietly in their decision, because they are men of ability, and many of them of experience and learning and all patriotic, but on reflection I have resolved the thing in my own mind time and time again, and I have arrived at the conclusion that it was a mistake on the part of the Committee to reject this proposition, and I wish to give my views briefly to you, gentlemen of the Convention, why it is that I think this amendment ought to be adopted. It is not offered in any spirit or with the desire to differ with my colleagues on the Committee at all, but because I believe it is right, and now why do I say so. We know that there are visions among the people. We have two minority parties, the Democratic, of course, being largely in the ascendency in the State. We have the Republican party and also the Populists, and I am glad to say of these gentlemen, that they are not like the opposition to Democracy was many years ago, entirely of an odious character, but we recognize among those of the opposition good men at this day, and there are some patriotic men among them, Now, sir, we are in power and what I say, I say not only at a delegate in this Convention, but as a life long Democrat, who has not always fully agreed with his party, but when I have not agreed, and the party has acted, I have never dissented, but have gone along with it and voted its ticket even when against my judgment. I offer this, sir, in a proper spirit, and I ask the delegates to think about it. It is simply this, that not more than two of the Registrars in each county shall be of the same political party. The section already requires that they shall be good men. I do not mean to be understood that the man elected from the other party should not himself be a good man, not at all, but the Democrats have the power and the proposition is for the Governor and two of the State officers to appoint these Registrars in the different counties. Everyone knows that there is a feeling of opposition to the Board of Registration. You will find it even among the

Democrats. Now, sir, haven’t we precedence for this action? I am glad that as time progresses, legislators in Congress, and in the States, are more and more disposed to adjust the measures which are of a political or semi-political nature, to present conditions, and not utterly to ignore the minority. We have precedence for this, by both political parties– the great ones, I mean– the Demo-


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cratic and Republican parties. Here in Alabama, Democratic Legislatures in the past provided for having one of the Judges of Election to be of the minority party, and there should be not more than two of the same party; they have provided also for markers of the different political parties, and it was commendable that such recognition should be given. We are all human beings and I trust patriotic men, and it is noble upon the part of any man to make a reasonable concession to him that differs with him in opinion and to treat him as a gentleman wherever his conduct warrants it. Now, I want to all the attention of these gentlemen to some facts. You take the civil service law, which has been indorsed by the Democratic party as well as the Republicans of the nation, and which was observed and maintained closely by the only Democratic President we have had since the war, Cleveland, during his administration, and by the Republican administrations as well. The language of that laws, in reference to the appointment of the Civil Service Commissioners, “Not more than two of whom shall be adherents of the same political party.” There are three of them, and not more than two of them shall be of the same political party; so when the Democrats were in power there were two Democrats on the board, and one Republican, when the Republican party is in power, there are two Republicans on the board and one Democrat. Then take the Interstate Commerce Law, which was passed—

MR. BURNS What would you do for instance in my county? We have not got any Republicans. Would we have to do without legislation because we could not get a respectable white Republican?

MR. OATES Not at all. If in any county it was not practicable to be carried out, then of course, they would have the right to appoint three men, so as to come as near to it as they can. If they appoint all of their to belong to the wine political party then that would be in violation of the law, when it is impracticable to do it otherwise, but I would not put into the law that exception. Now, you take the Interstate Commerce Law which was passed when both houses of Congress were Democratic, and Grover Cleveland was the President, and what is the language of that law. “That not more” than three of the Commissioners shall be appointed from the same political party." 'There were five of them. There were three Democrats and two Republicans. Now sir, we go to the Board of General Appraisers of Customs. The language of that is "Not more than five of such Appraisers shall be appointed from the same political party."

THE PRESIDENT The time of the gentleman from Montgomery has expired.

MR. OATES I do not like to trespass, but I would like to have a few minutes more.


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MR. WALKER I move that the rules be suspended and that the gentleman be given ten minutes further time.

Upon a vote being taken the motion to suspend the rules was carried, and the time of the gentleman was extended.

MR. OATES – I thank the Convention, and the gentleman who made the motion. I would not accept the courtesy, if I had been able to present al of my illustrations. Now, sir, every delegate here knows that while the law was passed, the Board of Appraisers, during a Republican administration, that a citizen of Alabama, and there is no better Democrat in the State than he, and a man beloved by all of our people, was appointed by a Republican administration, as one of those appraisers. I allude to Judge Sommerville, who has a life appointment at $7,500 year. I call attention to the law, to revisions in the law, establishing a Court of Private Land Claims, which does the same thing, provided that not more than two of the three judges shall be of the same political party, and then again, in the Indian Commission, known as the “Gause” Commission, that is now at work, that provides for minority representation, and that most estimable Southern gentleman and Democrat, Clifton R. Breckinridge of Arkansas, is upon that Board, appointed by a Republican President. Now, sir, these are illustrations of this kind of generosity of justice, for I believe it just. Why not allow a minority man, wherever it is practicable, on this Board of Commissioners? Now it may be said by some that he would drum up all of his party, and get everyone he could to come and register. Let him do his best, if he wants to take that kind of course, but I presume that the Governor and his associates would not appoint such a blind partisan as would prostitute the office with which they have honored him by going out and hunting up these people. It would be a prostitution. I believe those gentlemen would look into the character of the man so as to appoint the third man of the minority party, or that they would appoint men who would not prostitute that office, who would endeavor to perform their duty patriotically and well. They would be there. Then it could not be said that this Board had acted improperly, and in a truly partisan spirit, and made improper registrations, because one man present there has a record of it and cannot the great Democratic party stand the fire that may be brought against it by any third man on this Board? We want it so that the evidence will go forth to all men that there is nothing crooked, nothing wrong about it, no improper registration, and while I have no idea there would be, I think this provision is entirely proper, and I favor it, not only as a delegate upon this floor, but I favor it as a Democrat, and I believe it is good party policy as well as a proper thing to do, and I hope the Convention will adopt it.

MR. WALKER– As stated by the gentleman from Montgomery, the proposition that he now presents to the Convention


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was presented to the Committee on Suffrage and Elections and was fully considered by them, and it was deemed by them unwise and improper to embody in the Constitution, a provision of this kind. In the first place, a provision of this kind would give to the clause of this Constitution, a partisan political coloring. It would be in effect saying that this was a partisan political matter, and that there shall be two Democrats or a majority of Democrats, and a minority representation upon this quasi judicial board. It was not deemed advisable to put this plan before the Courts in the Constitution, as a political partisan scheme. Now, the gentleman, in the Committee, as well as in this House, has referred to certain actions in Congress when in the establishment of certain boards, or certain bodies, that provision has been made for an equal or a partial representation by the different political parties. That is true, but I think, gentlemen, that investigation will show that these provisions found their way into those laws because of the political complexion of the different parts of the legislature that passed those laws. It will be found, I think upon investigation, that some if not almost all of those laws have provided for political representation upon boards of that kind where possible, when there was a Republican President and Democratic Congress and Democratic President and Republican Congress, so that laws could not be gotten through, unless each party could have been recognized.

MR. OATES I call attention to the passage of the Inter State Commerce law, where both Houses were Democratic and Cleveland was President.

MR. WALKER That may be true, as to that particular one, but I have no doubt, it will be found

MR. REESE (Dallas) Are there not counties in this State like my own, for instance, Dallas County, where no suitable Republican or Populite can be found, who would accept the office?

MR. WALKER Plenty of them. I have no doubt. but gentlemen of the Convention, it is not proper for this Convention. I submit, to put this plan in the Constitution, upon the face of the law, to stamp it with the character of being a partisan board. Is a Railroad Commission in this State appointed in that way? Or any other commissions in the State established that way. Would it accomplish any good purpose to appoint, to establish, a board of two Democrats and one of some other political party. This matter was fully gone over by the Committee. The suggestion made by the gentleman now was fully considered, and it was deemed

utterly unwise to stamp this provision with a partisan political coloring in the Constitution itself. I do not believe the provision could be carried into effect. I do not believe that the situation of the political parties in this State are such that suitable and proper men could always be found to fill these positions, and certainly


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there is no good to be accomplished by putting this character of provision into the Constitution, we present to the Convention, and I move, Mr. President

MR. PILLANS I would like to ask the gentleman a question. Is it not possible forty years hence or twenty-five years hence this clause not being in this Constitution, there will be a great embarrassment found on the part of a large minority in the State, because a partisan majority have control of the elections of the State, absolutely and unquestionably

MR. WALKER The suggestion made by the gentleman from Montgomery would not obviate that difficulty. He does not propose to take away the partisan character of the Board at all, he proposes to make it partisan, and to make the partisanship of the dominant party ascendant on the board.

MR. WEATHERLY– If the gentleman will allow a suggestion—

MR. WALKER In further answering the gentleman from Mobile, there will be twenty year, from now any evidence in the Constitution, as we submit it to this Convention, of a partisan character having been attached to that Board. The gentleman now wishes to write in the fact that it was for the future to say that it was partisan in character.

THE PRESIDENT– Does the gentleman yield to the gentleman from Jefferson?

MR. WALKER Yes sir.

MR. WEATHERLY I want to make a suggestion. Does not the Board expire by limitation of law on the 1st of January, 1903?

MR. WALKER Certainly, it is a Board of temporary character.

MR. WEATHERLY That fully answers the gentleman's question.

MR. WALKER– Yes sir. Under the provision as offered to this Convention, there is no limitation upon the powers of the appointing Board in reference to political affiliations of the appointees.

MR. REYNOLDS (Chilton) You state that the work of the Registrars expires in 1903. Their office expires, but when does the work of that Board expire?

MR. WALKER I can not tell you.

MR. REYNOLDS (Chilton) The office expires, but the work they do will not expire in 1903.


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. WALKER Of course they do not do temporary work.

MR. BURNETT I would like to ask the gentleman if it is not a fact that the Democratic Party is the only party in Alabama who has gotten out any pledges to the people of Alabama that none will be disfranchised.

MR. WALKER That is true as far as I know. I have heard of no one else.

MR. BAREFIELD Then is it not incumbent upon the Democratic Party to carry out the party's pledge and is it incumbent upon the Populist or Republican to carry out that pledge?

MR. WALKER That question answers itself. I move to table the amendment offered by the gentleman from Montgomery, and on that I call for the previous question on the Section.

THE PRESIDENT The Chair will state the gentleman cannot move to table and move the previous question at the same time. He must take his choice.

MR. WALKER I move the previous question.

THE PRESIDENT The gentleman from Madison moves the previous question upon the amendment offered by the gentleman from Montgomery and the Section. Shall the main question be now put?

The main question was ordered.

MR. O'NEAL I move to lay on the table, the amendment offered by the gentleman from Montgomery.

MR. OATES I call for the ayes and noes.

The call was sustained.

THE PRESIDENT– As many as favor the motion to table the amendment offered by the gentleman from Montgomery will say aye and those opposed no when your names are called.

Upon a vote being taken the motion to lay the amendment of the gentleman from Montgomery upon the table prevailed and upon the call of the roll the result was as follows:

AYES

Messrs. President.

Brooks,

Coleman, of Walker,

Almon,

Bulger,

Cunningham,

Altman,

Burns,

Duke,

Ashcraft,

Carmichael, of Coffee.

Eley,

Barefield,

Carnathon,

Eyster,

Bethune,

Cobb,

Fletcher,

Boone,

Coleman, of Greene,

Foster,


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

Gilmore,

Merrill,

Searcy,

Graham, of Talladega,

Miller (Wilcox),

Smith (Mobile),

Grant,

Moody,

Sorrell,

Greer, of Perry,

Morrisette,

Spragins,

Haley,

NeSmith,

Tayloe,

Heflin, of Chambers,

O’Neal (Lauderdale),

Vaughan,

Hodges,

O’Neill (Jefferson),

Waddell,

Hood,

O’Rear,

Walker,

Howze,

Parker (Cullman),

Watts,

Inge,

Pettus,

Weatherly,

Jones, of Bibb,

Pillans,

Whiteside,

Jones, of Wilcox,

Pitts,

Williams (Barbour),

Knight,

Reese,

Williams (Marengo),

Ledbetter,

Renfro,

Wilson (Clarke),

Lowe (Lawrence),

Reynolds (Henry),

Wilson (Washington),

McMillan (Wilcox),

Robinson,

Winn,

Malone,

Rogers (Lowndes),

Maxwell,

Sanders,

TOTAL 73

NOES

Banks,

Henderson,

Oates,

Beavers,

Howell,

Palmer,

Beddow,

Jackson,

Parker (Elmore),

Blackwell,

Jenkins,

Pearce,

Burnett,

Jones, of Montgomery,

Phillips,

Byars,

Kirk,

Reynolds (Chilton),

Cardon,

Kirkland,

Rogers (Sumter),

Carmichael, of Colbert,

Kyle,

Samford,

Davis, of Etowah,

Leigh,

Sanford,

Dent,

Lomax,

Selheimer,

deGraffenreid,

Long (Butler),

Smith, Mac A.,

Fitts,

Long (Walker),

Smith, Morgan M.,

Graham, of Montgomery,

McMillan (Baldwin),

Spears,

Grayson,

Martin,

Thompson,

Handley,

Miller (Marengo),

White,

Harrison

Murphree,

Williams (Elmore),

Heflin, of Randolph,

Norwood,

TOTAL– 50

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING

Bartlett,

Hinson,

Opp,

Case,

Jones, of Hale,

Proctor,

Chapman,

King,

Sentell,

Davis, of DeKalb,

Locklin,

Sollie,

Espy,

Lowe (Jefferson),

Studdard

Ferguson,

Mulkey,

Willet.

Glover,

Norman,


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

PAIRS

AYES NOES

Craig,

Freeman,

Macdonald,

Foshee,

Browne,

Porter,

Greer, of Calhoun,

Sloan,

Cornwall,

Weakley,

Stewart,

Cofer.


THE PRESIDENT The question then recurs upon the adoption of the first subdivision as reported by the Committee.

Upon a vote being taken the first subdivision of Section 10 was adopted.

The second subdivision of Section 10 was read as follows:

Second Prior to the first day of August 1902 the Board of Registrars in each county shall visit each precinct at least once and oftener if necessary, to make a complete registration of all persons entitled to register, and remain there at least one day from 8 o’clock in the morning until sunset. They shall give at least twenty days’ notice of the time when, and the place in the precinct where, they will attend to register applications for registration, by bills posted at fiver or more public places in each election precinct, and by advertisement in a newspaper, if there be one, published in the county once a week for three consecutive weeks. Upon failure to give such notice, or to attend any appointment made by them in any precinct, they shall, after like notice, fill new appointments therein; but the time consumed by the Board in completing such registration shall not exceed sixty working days in any county, except that in counties in which there is any city of 8,000 inhabitants or over, the Board may remain in session in addition to the session hereinabove prescribed, for not more than three successive weeks in each of said cities; and thereafter the Board may sit from time to time in each of such cities not more than one week in each month, and except that in the county of Jefferson the Board may hold additional sessions, of not exceeding five consecutive days duration for each session, in any town or city of 1,000 or more and less than 8,000 inhabitants. No person shall be registered except a the county site or in the precinct at which he resides. The registrars shall issue to each person registered a certificate of registration.

MR. FOSTER I have an amendment to that subdivision.

The amendment was read as follows:

"Amend Subdivision 2 of section by adding after the word

‘county,’ in line twenty six, the following. ‘except that in counties of more than one thousand square miles in area, such board may

3294 OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

consume seventy-five working days in completing the registration in such counties.’”

MR. FOSTER I do not care to make any extended remarks upon that amendment. I was led to offer that by the conditions in my county. We have in the neighborhood of 1,400 square miles, and

MR. WHITE If the gentleman will permit me, I will say on behalf of the committee that this is a mere platter of detail, and it is the purpose of the Committee to give every one an opportunity to register, and we will accept the amendment offered by the gentleman from Tuscaloosa, if agreeable to the Convention.

MR. OATES I would like to hear it read again.

The amendment was read as requested.

There being no objection, the amendment was allowed.

MR. WATTS I desire to offer an amendment to the amendment.

Amendment by Mr. Fitts read as follows:

"Amend paragraph two of Section 10, by striking out the word 'once' in the seventh line and inserting the word 'twice,' and by striking out in line eighteen the words `one day' and inserting the words 'two days’”

MR. FITTS The object of that amendment as simply to require the Boards of Registration to visit each beat in the county twice instead of once and to require them to remain there two days instead of one day. The object is to secure a full and fair registration of the voters in the county. If the Board of Registration goes to a beat only once there is grave danger that all of the people will not turn out on any one given day; there is grave danger that in the larger beats `some of them may not know of the first visit, and that the first visit will but serve to canvass and advertise the proposition that this thing is up. The mere fact of the first visit will be the means of advertising the fact that this registration is going on and in process. The Tax Assessor of the county makes two round, and the very fact of the first round being made, while some will turn out and others will not, will start the talk in the country beats, and a great many will hear of this registration by means of the first round that would not attend at the first meeting but will avail themselves of the second opportunity given to register.

MR. WEATHERLY Does the gentleman bear in mind the provision in line 25, that "registrations shall not exceed sixty working days in any county?"


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. FITTS I do. That has been extended in the larger counties to seventy five working days by the amendment already accepted.

MR. ASHCRAFT In my own county, which happens to contain less than 1,000 square miles, we have eighteen beats. If the registrars are required to go twice and spend two days each time that would take seventy-two days. We could not possibly make it. Our county can well be registered in sixty days.

MR. FITTS My suggestion is that there ought to be two rounds. It is easy enough by another amendment to this amendment to allow the time to be lengthened out the number of days that may be necessary. There ought to be no mistake about giving the people of this State an opportunity to register. It is bad enough indeed to have this registration system. It is probably the only practical way to meet the emergencies of the case, and enroll the voters, but there ought to be no mistake and no slip up in giving them the opportunity to register and become life voters under this temporary plan; that is, those who are eligible and can be registered under it. News does not spread rapidly in the country. The country beats are large in some portions of the State, and the people there are not in the habit of giving immediate obedience to any summons except the processes of the court. All the people who are entitled to register will not turn out if the registrars are to be in their beats only one time. It will take more than that. It will take the first opportunity which is offered to the thoughtful, and then it will take the second opportunity for the listless.

MR. WALKER (Madison) Suppose all of the voters are registered in one day. Why require the registrars to go back to that beat on another day?

MR. FITTS If they can certify that they have registered every voter in that beat on the first visit, then of course the law ought not to require a useless thing, but I think that they ought to go to the people as often as is necessary to give them an opportunity to register.

MR. BETHUNE If I understand the gentleman's amendment, it means that the registrars must remain at each beat two days or go twice and remain two days each time?

MR. FITTS Go twice and remain two days.

MR. BETHUNE That would be four days altogether?

MR. FITTS Yes, sir.

MR. O'NEAL Why not amend so as to provide that they should remain there if necessary two days?


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. FITTS– I am willing to accept that amendment. I know my time is short, but I know that there are portions of this State where this idea of having three men pass upon the rights of voters to be registered is the dangerous proposition in this subdivision.

This to my mind, is freighted with more danger than any other portion of this plan. The people object to the mere idea that three men are to be set up as the judges of the qualifications of the voters in this State. They object to this entire feature of the plan.

MR. HOOD The amendment offered by the gentleman from Tuscaloosa would require one hundred and twenty days for registration in the county from which I hale– Etowah. In that county we have thirty beats. To require this Board of Registrars to visit each beat twice and to stay at each beat two days would require 120 days in that county. In the county of Etowah we have a town of nearly 5,000 people. It would only give four days under his amendment, to register the people in the town of Gadsden. We have two other towns in that county, one of about 2,000 inhabitants, and it would only give four days to register the voters in those two precincts. Now, Mr. President, it is provided here that these registrars may remain in any one beat longer than one day if necessary. If the sixty days' time named here is not sufficient in any one county, or in the several counties of the State, then if an amendment would be submitted extending the sixty days to seventy days or seventy-five days or eighty days, it seems to me that the trouble complained of by the gentleman from Tuscaloosa would be relieved. Now this reads, Mr. President, as follows: "Prior to the first day of August, 1902, the Board of Registrars in each county shall visit each precinct at least once, and oftener if necessary, to make a complete registration of all persons entitled to register.”

With that provision, if the sixty days is not sufficient, then that trouble can be relieved by giving a longer time than the sixty days and it would not get us in the attitude or in the condition that we would be in in Etowah county should the amendment of the gentleman from Tuscaloosa be adopted, and I daresay that there are many other counties in this State that would be in a similar condition. Any county that has twenty or twenty-five beats in it would be in the same condition. It would take one hundred and twenty days in Etowah county, as I have stated; so I move to lay the amendment of the gentleman from Tuscaloosa on the table.

Upon a vote being taken a division was called for, and the motion to table prevailed by 65 ayes to 31 noes.


3297

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) I have an amendment and the committee intimate that they are perfectly willing to accept it, to strike out 1,000 and insert 900 square miles.

The amendment was read as follows: “Amend the amendment as amended by Mr. Foster by striking out 1,000 and inserting 900.”

MR. WHITE The committee is willing to accept that and asks unanimous consent to accept.

Consent was given and the amendment was allowed.

MR. HOOD I move to strike out the word “sixty” in line 25, and substitute in lieu thereof the word “seventy.”

The committee agrees to that amendment.

MR. LONG (Walker) I have an amendment.

MR. OATES There is an amendment preceding that the amendment striking out sixty days and putting in seventy. I rise to object to that.

THE PRESIDENT The Chair submitted that question.

MR. OATES I do not rise for the purpose of making a speech but I want to say that I think it is wholly unnecessary-----

MR. LONG I had the floor.

MR. OATES This amendment precedes that.

THE PRESIDENT The Chair was under the impression that he had submitted the amendment offered by the gentleman from Etowah, Mr. Hood, but finds that he has not done so.

MR. LONG (Walker) Can I offer an amendment? It will not take but three minutes of the time of this Convention.

THE PRESIDENT The Chair must first submit the other question. The committee asks unanimous consent to submit the amendment of the gentleman from Etowah. Is there any objection?

MR. OATES I object because it is unnecessary in the small counties.

MR. WALKER I offer an amendment to the amendment.

The amendment was read as follows:

By Mr. Long of Walker:

Amend second paragraph of Section 10 in line 30 after the word "Jefferson," by adding the following words, "and in all counties in this State, the Registrars shall spend two days in each beat


3298

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

in the county." Provided all voters have not made application for registration during the first day.

MR. LONG– I ask that the committee accept that.

MR. O'NEAL I rise to a point of order. We practically laid an amendment of that kind on the table, offered by the gentleman from Tuscaloosa. I therefore move to lay it on the table.

MR. LONG I thought I had the floor.

MR. O'NEAL I rose to a point of order.

MR. LONG I make the point of order that the amendment of the gentleman from Tuscaloosa required four days and this requires two days. This requires, gentlemen of the Convention, as much as two days at each beat, provided all the voters are not registered the first day. I think it is fair and just, and the committee has shown a disposition to give all the time necessary, and I hope it will accept this amendment. I am thoroughly satisfied that there are beats in my county where it would be impossible to register all the voters in one day. They need to go there more than once but this requires them to do so if necessary.

MR. O’NEAL– You will notice that the first subdivision does provide that the Board of Registrars shall visit each precinct once, and oftener if necessary, so that if necessary to go more than once they have full power to do so.

MR. LONG– They are not required to do it, are they?

MR. O’NEAL– Yes, if it is necessary t go twice. If it is necessary for them to go more than once the law requires that they go oftener.

MR. LONG– I think the Registrars would be the judge of that. They might say it was not necessary to go more than once.

MR. O’NEAL– You can compel them to go, if they have not registered the voters you can mandamus them. I move to lay the amendment upon the table.

Upon a vote being taken the motion to table the amendment prevailed.

The question then recurred on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Etowah.

MR. ROGERS (Sumter)—Twenty days is too much. It is a very expensive proceeding, and it is to be supposed that in the appointment of those Registrars, men will be appointed who will make it their business to get out the vote that should be registered, and register then. We are going to appoint men in all these counties who have the interest of the State of Alabama at heart, and who will make every effort to get out that vote that should be


3299

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

registered, and they can do it in going to the beat any one day, as well as oftener, and there is no use in extending this time.

MR. FITTS And they are to be the judges of the vote that should be registered, are they not?

MR. ROGERS Certainly.

MR. FITTS There is danger in the whole thing.

MR. ROGERS Yes, in the whole question, I believe as stated once in history somewhere. But these men if you will give them seventy days will in all likelihood take up the seventy days. Now you take my county with 960 square miles. With twenty beats in it by this provision they can have sixty days. They could give three days to each beat in the county. That is a plenty. I do not see the necessity for putting in seventy days.

MR. O'NEAL I simply want to call the attention of the Convention to the fact that if you amend it by making it seventy days, that we have already accepted an amendment which gives counties of 900 square miles seventy-five days, so the effect of it would be to give the large counties only five days more than you give the very small counties. I believe it is wise to leave it just as the Committee reported it.

THE PRESIDENT The question is on the adoption of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Etowah.

Upon a vote being taken a division was called for, and the amendment was lost by a vote of 40 ayes to 55 noes.

THE PRESIDENT The question is on the adoption of the subdivision.

MR. WHITE On that I call for the previous question.

Upon a vote being taken, the main question was ordered.

Upon a further vote, Subdivision No. 2 was adopted.

Leaves of absence were granted as follows: To Mr. Norman for today; Mr. Gilmore for today, Friday and Saturday; to Mr. Ferguson for yesterday and today; to Mr. Coleman of Greene until Tuesday; to Mr. Grayson for Friday and Saturday, to Mr. deGraffenreid for Friday, Saturday and Monday.

MR. WILLIAMS (Elmore) I ask unanimous leave to offer a short resolution that is of importance to every member of this Convention.

The resolution was read as follows:

Resolution No. 282, by Mr. Williams (Elmore):


3300

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

In order that the full and complete text, report and proceedings of this Convention may be lead by each and every member of this Convention and by the State authorities as hereto provided, be it

Resolved, By this Convention, that the Secretary hereof be required to furnish to the printers of the "Official Reports of the Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of Alabama," the proceedings of the first, second and third days of this Convention and order 1,000 copies thereof to be printed in like form and size as the stenographic reports and to be likewise distributed.

MR. WILLIAMS I move a suspension of the rules and the adoption of that resolution.

Upon a vote being taken the motion to suspend the rules was lost and the resolution was referred to the Committee on Rules.

MR. MALONE– I move that the privileges of the floor be extended to the Hon. J. B. Ward, member of the House of Representatives.

MR. MALONE– I move to amend that by adding the name of Hon. W. J. Hillard.

MR. CUNNINGHAM– I move to amend that by adding the name of Mr. Huey of Jefferson.

MR. THOMPSON– I move to amendment by adding the name of Mr. Benners of Jefferson.

MR. HINSON– I move to amend by adding the name of Hon. J. R. Wood of Macon.

Unanimous consent was given to accept the amendments, and upon a vote being taken the motion as amended was adopted.

MR. GRAHAM (Talladega) – I move that the Convention be now adjourned.

A vote being taken the Convention adjourned.

________________

AFTERNOON SESSION

Convention met pursuant to adjournment, there being one hundred and thirty-three delegates present upon the call of the roll.

Leaves of absence were granted to Mr. Martin of Calhoun, for Saturday, Monday and Tuesday ; to Mr. Grant of Calhoun, for Saturday, Monday and Tuesday next.

THE PRESIDENT– The special order for this afternoon is consideration of the report of the Committee on Suffrage and Elections. The Secretary will read the third subdivision.


3301

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

Third The Board of Registrars shall register no person between the first day of August, 1902, and the Friday next preceding the day of election in November, 1902. On Friday and Saturday next preceding the day of the election in November, 1902, they shall sit in the court house of each county during such days, and shall register all applicants having the qualifications prescribed by Section 2 of this Article and not disqualified under Section 6, who shall have reached the age of 21 years after the first day of August, 1902, or who shall prove to the reasonable satisfaction of the Board that, by reason of physical disability or unavoidable absence from the county, they had no opportunity to register prior to the first day of August 1902 and shall, on such days, register no other persons. When there are two or more court houses in one county, the registrars may sit during such two days at either of such court houses they may select, but shall give ten days' notice, by bills posted at each of the other court houses designating the court house at which they will so sit.

MR. WHITE I desire to ask the reading clerk if the word on the 39th line you read “Section two” see if it does not read “Sections two and four?”

The Secretary read, “shall register all applicants having the qualifications prescribed by Section 2 of this Article.”

MR. WHITE– I ask unanimous consent to amend by inserting after the word “two” the words “and four.”

Unanimous consent was accorded.

MR. WHITE- I move that the subdivision as amended be adopted.

Upon a vote being taken the subdivision as amended was adopted.

The Secretary read the fourth subdivision as follows:

Fourth The Board of Registrars shall hold sessions at the court house of their respective counties during the entire third week in November, 1902, and for six working days next prior to the twentieth day of December, 1902, during which session, they shall register all persons applying who possess the qualifications prescribed in Sections 2 and 4. and who shall not be disqualified under Section 6 of this Article. In counties where there are two or more court houses, the Board of Registrars may elect at which court house they will hold such session. The Board of Registrars shall give notice of the time and place of such sessions by posting notices at each court house in their respective counties, and at each voting place and at three other public places in the county, and by publication once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper, if one be published in the county: such notices to be


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

published an such publications to be commenced as early as practicable in the first week of November, 1902; provided, that a failure on the part of the Registrars to conform to the provisions of this section as to notices to be given shall not invalidate any registration made by them.

MR. WHITE– I move the adoption of that subdivision.

MR. SORRELL I wish to offer an amendment, that the Board of Registrars should divide the time equally at each court house.

THE PRESIDENT It is moved to amend where there are two court houses in a county, that the time be divided equally.

MR. WHITE– There are some counties that have three court houses, and the committee thought over that very carefully. It is only for those very few persons who have not had an opportunity that these sittings are held and it occurs to me that the Board of Registrars can determine at which one of the places they shall sit, and I move to lay the amendment on the table.

MR. SORRELL– Will the gentleman withdraw that motion a moment.

MR. WHITE Yes, if the gentleman will renew it again.

MR. SORRELL The object of my amendment is the accommodation of citizens of the county where two court houses are. Now in my county there are two court houses, it would be a great advantage and a convenience to the people of my county to provide that these registrars might divide the time of holding their sessions, hold half of the time at one court house and half at the other. There are counties in the State that have two court houses, and it seems to me it would be a convenience and one they are entitled to have. It would be a hardship to select one court house and require the people to go 25 or 30 miles, and my amendment provides that they might divide the time and hold half of the session at one court house and half at the other.

MR. WHITE– I suggest to the gentleman they could do that now.

MR. SORRELL– Does not this article, as reported, provide that they shall elect at which court house they shall hold.

MR. WHITE That don't prevent their holding at either or both.

MR. WALKER (Madison)– There are three court houses in some counties.

MR. HOOD In view of the election in 1902 they only sit for two days, and they could not well divide the time between three court houses.


3303

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. WEATHERLY Will the gentleman allow me to make a suggestion to him?

MR. SORRELL Yes, sir.

MR. WEATHERLY This registration is provided to be had only for two days preceding the general election in 1902. There are two court houses in several counties and in one county I believe there are three. It would be impracticable to divide those two days at the two or more court houses.

MR. HOOD It would be impracticable even where they have only two court houses.

MR. WEATHERLY Yes, for the temporary plan. I hope the gentleman will withdraw his amendment.

THE PRESIDENT The question will be upon the amendment of the gentleman from Tallapoosa.

MR. WHITE I move to lay the amendment upon the table.

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

THE PRESIDENT The question recurs upon the adoption of the subdivision.

MR. MALONE I would like to offer an amendment there where there are two or more court houses that two additional days may be had at each court house.

THE PRESIDENT The Chair cannot entertain an amendment which is not in writing.

MR. MALONE There is no use writing it unless the Committee is willing to accept it, and I hope the Committee will do so.

MR. BULGER I desire to offer an amendment.

The Secretary read the amendment as follows: “Provided that where there are more than one court house in the county the registrars shall divide the time equally between the said court houses, giving to each court house two days.”

MR. WHITE I make the point of order that that is the same amendment that has just been tabled.

MR. BULGER I submit that the point of order is not well taken, because that amendment provides time for each court house; the other provided to divide the time given by the section. This amendment is that where there is more than one court house, if there are two or three that they shall spend two or three days at each court house. It seems to me, sir. that it is very important to my county. We have a large county, a large white population,


3304

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

and we have a river running through the county dividing it as to territory and population almost equally, and ,one of our people would have to go thirty-five miles to get to register. Now it would cost all those people much more than it would cost the three registrars to get to the court house. We would have to have accommodation for something like 3,000 people, they would have to go to the trouble of traveling twenty-five to thirty-five miles and pay ferriage across the river. Now we propose instead of those 3,000 people going to the expense of paying ferriage and traveling from twenty-five to thirty-five miles that the three registrars go there and take their registration at the court house.

MR. deGRAFFENREID - The Section provides for tow days before the election in November, that the registrars shall sit at

the court house– how could they divide that time.

MR. BULGER– The amendment provides six days’ work, if three court houses and four days’ work if two court houses and one day if one court house.

MR. deGRAFFENREID – It is Friday and Saturday before

the election.

MR. WHITE– I would like to make this suggestion to the gentleman from Tallapoosa with his consent, that this is, only intended to cover those young men who had arrived at the age of 21 years between the first day of August and the first day of November in the year 1902, and a very few others who on account of some physical disability were not able to register in their precinct before that time– at the time the legislators were there.

MR. BULGER– The trouble about that suggestion is that the gentleman assumes that there will be but few who have not registered. There might be a great many.

THE PRESIDENT– Had the gentleman concluded his remarks?

MR. BULGER– I had not– I yield to the gentleman from Pike.

THE PRESIDENT– The gentleman from Bullock wants to ask the gentleman from Tallapoosa a question. Will the gentleman yield.

MR. BULGER – Yes sir.

THE PRESIDENT- Will the gentleman from Pike suspend until the question is asked.

MR. SAMFORD (Pike) Yes sir.

MR. BETHUNE Your amendment is that the Board hold two days at each court house?


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MR BULGER Yes sir.

MR. BETHUNE What would you do with the other six days? They have to meet to hold their session in the respective counties during the entire first week in November, that is six days, and six working days prior to the 20th of November, and that is six more days? You have provided for six days where the Board meets twelve days.

MR. SAMFORD (Pike) I do not come from a county that has two court houses, we are not so unfortunately situated, and yet I am familiar with the counties that have more than two court houses. These court houses have been established, these additional court houses, for the purpose of permitting the people who live within that territory of having the advantage as far as practicable of a county site. I observe that the plan as outlined by the committee does not provide for more than one Board of Registrars, and hence if the adopt the plan of only one Board of Registrars which occurs to me to be the proper thing, that it cannot be divided within the two days, and yet the contentions of the gentlemen are correct. Some provision should be made for these young men who will become of age just prior to the election, and these men who were deprived of the right to register at the time the registrars were going around the county. I do not think that the amendment of the gentleman from Tallapoosa is plain enough to cover the deficiency in the clause as reported by the Committee, but we are framing this registration law with the intention of making it as convenient to the people in the different counties as possible, and for that reason we ought to so frame this clause with reference to the counties that a man who is entitled to register just prior to the election would not have to travel thirty-five, fifty or sixty miles in order to do so, as in some cases in this State he would have to do. You take the county of Henry, and a man in some instances would leave to travel ninety miles in order to register and be entitled to case his vote. In the county of Tallapoosa he would leave to travel thirty or forty miles, in some instances, and cross a river, and in other counties in the State they would be put to great disadvantage, and this Committee ought to look at the wishes of the minority of this Convention and not ride behind a pride of opinion with reference to amendments and keep these gentlemen from getting relief for their people. It could very easily be done, this clause could be so arranged easily in conformity with the ideas of the Committee, so that two days might be given just prior to the election at each court house in the county. An amendment along that line caught to be added.

MR. BULGER Will the gentleman permit a question? Is it not a fact that under Subdivision 4 they have six days now at the court house?


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MR. HOWZE – May I interrupt the gentleman for a moment? I wish to offer an amendment which I think will be acceptable,– A substitute to the amendment of Mr. Bulger.

The Secretary read the substitute as follows: “Amend by striking out the words ‘may elect at which court house they will hold such session’ in the fifty-fourth line, and insert the words ‘may divide the time equally between them.”

MR. SAMFORD– I would ask the gentleman to put the word “shall” instead of “may.”

MR. WHITE– We will accept that if it be agreeable to those gentlemen.

MR. BULGER– I withdraw my amendment.

THE PRESIDENT– The gentleman from Tallapoosa asks unanimous consent to withdraw his amendment. The Chair hears no objection and the amendment is withdrawn. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Jefferson.

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

The Secretary read the fifth subdivision as follows:

Fifth– The Board of Registrars shall have power to examine, under oath or affirmation, all applicants for registration, and to take testimony touching the qualifications of such applicants; each member of such board is authorized to administer the oath to be taken by the applicants and witnesses, which shall be in the following form, and subscribed by the person making it, and preserved by the board, namely–

“I solemnly swear (or affirm) that in the matter of the application of ____________________ for registration as an elector, I will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.”

Any person, who, upon such examination makes any willfully false statement in reference to any material matter touching the qualification of any applicant for registration shall be guilty of perjury.

THE PRESIDENT– The question will be upon the adoption of the subdivision.

MR. WHITE– I move its adoption.

Upon a vote being taken the subdivision was adopted.

The Secretary read the sixth subdivision as follows:

Sixth– The action of the majority of the Board of Registrars shall be the action of the board. Any person denied registration


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shall have the right to appeal within thirty days after such denial, by filing a petition in the Circuit Court or court of like jurisdiction held for the county in which he seeks to vote, to have his qualifications as an elector determined. Upon filing the petition the Clerk of the court shall give notice thereof to any solicitor authorized to represent the State in said county whose duty it shall be to appear and defend against the petition on behalf of the State. Upon such trial the court shall charge the jury only as to what constituted the qualifications that entitled the applicant to become an elector at the time he applied for registration, and the jury shall determine the weight and effect of the evidence and return a verdict. From the judgment rendered an appeal will lie to the Supreme Court in favor of the petitioner, to be taken within thirty days. Final judgment in favor of the petitioner shall entitle him to registration as of the date of his application to the registrars.

MR. WHITE– I have an amendment that I am instructed by the committee to offer. It is simply to obviate the necessity of giving security for costs on an appeal.

The Secretary read the amendment as follows: “Amend subdivision, Section 10, by inserting after the word ‘appeal’ in the 74th line the following: ‘without giving security for costs.’

MR. JONES (Montgomery) I have an amendment.

The Secretary read the amendment as follows:

“Amend sixth subdivision. Section 10. by striking out the following words : ‘Upon such trial the court shall charge the jury only as to what constituted the qualifications that entitle the applicant to become an elector at the time he applied for registration, and the jury shall determine the weight and effect of the evidence and return a verdict.”

THE PRESIDENT– The question is on the amendment of the gentleman from Montgomery.

MR. JONES– I will not detain the Convention but a moment. If a man owns or has title to a twenty-five dollar yoke of oxen, he is entitle to trial by jury and the assistance of a Judge who cannot only advise the jury as to what the law is, but see that it is carried out. If he thinks injustice has been done he can set aside the verdict and grant a new trial. Under the provisions of this section the Judge sits there powerless, he advises the jury what constitutes qualifications, he may see that the evidence as applied to the law he gives them is utterly disregarded by the jury, and yet he is powerless, and the citizen who has the right to register is powerless who has no remedy. It is a novel proposition in our jurisprudence at least, and it seems to me that this section would better meet the judgment of our people if we allowed the courts to administer justice, to administer the law of the land, in that case


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as in any other case. Certainly when there is a dispute as to a mule or a horse that ought not to entitle the claimant to it to any greater rights than the man who insists that he has a right to qualify under the section.

MR. deGRAFFENREID – In Section 13 of Article I of the old Constitution, under the subject of Declaration of Rights, I find this: “That in prosecutions for the publication of papers investigating the official conduct of officers or men in public capacity or when the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence; and that in all indictments for libel the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts under the direction of the court.” There are precedents in the history of the law of this State.

MR. JONES– Will the gentleman pardon a question.

MR. deGRAFFENREID – Yes, sir.

MR. JONES– If that be the law why not put in there “under the direction of the courts,” if it means that?

MR. deGRAFFENREID – It is unnecessary, Mr. President, because the court directs all trials that come before it. We have departed from universal suffrage in Alabama, if the Constitution now being considered is adopted by the people. The reason for it, Mr. President, has been made plain by every man who has ad dressed this Convention upon the subject. In the black belt white supremacy has been maintained by fraud at the ballot box, by counting votes for candidates when those votes were not cast, or by changing votes from one candidate to another. In the white counties it has been maintained by the purchase of the negro vote. It is the purpose of the people to purify the ballot box. In order to carry into effect the provision of this Constitution we must have a Board of Registrars, but it was thought by this committee that it was more dangerous to the liberty of the citizen to permit a judge, skilled in the law, considering only the law to pass upon the question as to whether an individual possessed the right to vote, than it would be to allow a jury composed of his fellow citizens, residing in his county, knowing him, at elbow with him, to pass upon that question, and it was for that reason that this Committee adopted the provision to which the gentleman objects. It has got an analogy. It gets rid of the general charge at the hands of the court. The court stands before the jury and says, gentlemen of the jury, if you believe all the evidence in this case, this man is not entitled to registration. We thought that it comported more with the dignity of a citizen of Alabama that that could be passed upon by men who resided in the same neighborhood and county of the applicant rather than that it should be passed upon, as I said, by one man who knew not the defendant, and who looked upon it from a cold standpoint of the law. Why,


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Mr. President, in ancient time, when the common law was forming, the witnesses to the case were the jurors in the case. The jurors had to come from the vicinage of the crime, because the law said that the man's neighbor, the man that knew him, the people that knew something of the facts and of the occurrence would be more likely to render a just verdict than those who did not.

MR. WEATHERLY– Mr. President, the idea of the Committee in inserting this language in the clause, and which the distinguished gentleman from Montgomery, moves to strike out, was that the people of the State could safely entrust the juries with the responsibility of deciding the issues of fact touching the qualifications of electors. In that, we did no more nor less than to follow the example of the distinguished gentleman from Montgomery, who proposed to leave it to the grand jury of each county to select

MR. JONES No, to recommend.

MR. WEATHERLY To recommend those who shall be entitled to the privilege of the electorate. We thought if a secret body, sitting in star chamber sessions, could be entrusted with the responsibility of selecting those entitled to the electorate privilege, surely a jury of twelve sitting in the open, hearing the evidence in the open, and charged by the judge as to the law, would not go very far afield in exercising a proper discrimination in that matter. The manner of the witnesses, their demeanor upon the stand. Although there might be no controversy in the evidence of the witnesses upon the stand, although technically, under the ordinary course of procedure, there might not be any controversy, yet we thought that it was safest to entrust to the jury even though there might not be conflict in the actual words of the witnesses, to trust to the juries of the counties, drawn front the body of the county, from the vicinage, men who knew, who were in touch with, the subject in issue, could be entrusted with the responsibility of deciding the question. That was our purpose. We have the utmost confidence in the juries. We do not suppose gentlemen would gainsay that; we do not suppose there is a member of this Convention who would hesitate for a moment to say that he had the utmost confidence in the juries of the country, and that they can be safely entrusted with the duty of deciding this question. I move to table the amendment.

MR. OATES I ask the gentleman to withdraw that motion.

MR. WEATHERLY I withdraw it.

MR. OATES I did not catch fully the scope of the amendment offered by my colleague from Montgomery.


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

THE PRESIDENT– Does the gentleman desire the reading of the amendment?

MR .OATES– I would be glad to have it read.

The Secretary again read the amendment.

MR. OATES – Is there but the one amendment pending?

MR. JONES– Will the gentleman allow me to state it, as he evidently has not got it before him? It simply leaves the appeal taken to the Circuit Court to be treated as any other appeal.

MR. OATES– I understand it. The question was up before the Committee and I had prepared an amendment to this paragraph, but not so extensive. I do not know, but I am inclined to think, my colleague would be willing to accept it. It is simply to strike out the word ‘only’ in the eightieth line, and I wish to state why I think that should be made.

MR. JONES– I will ask leave to withdraw my amendment, to allow the gentleman from Montgomery to substitute his amendment.

THE PRESIDENT– The gentleman from Montgomery asks unanimous consent to withdraw his amendment. The Chair hears no objection and the amendment is withdrawn.

The Clerk read the amendment as follows: “Amend Subdivision 6, Section 10, in line 80, by striking out the word ‘only.’”

MR. OATES– Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention: The way it reads now– “upon such trial, the court shall charge the jury only as to what constituted the qualifications that entitled the applicant to become an elector at the time he applied for registration, etc.” Now, as I understand it, the apprehension of the committee, and what they desired to avoid, was the court giving the affirmative charge on such a trial, one way or the other, and they desired to let the jury pass on it. I concur in that idea. I think that is entirely proper, but I think it is restricting the court too much to use the word “only.” With that word in there, he shall charge only as to one thing, and he could not charge as to anything else. There might be conflicts in the testimony which it would be necessary for him to explain to give the jury an opportunity of determining. “Upon such trial, the court shall charge the jury only s to what constituted the qualifications that entitled the applicant to become an elector at the time he applied for registration, and the jury shall determine the weight and effect of the evidence and return a verdict.” It seems to me it is too restrictive upon the court. By striking out the word “only” I think it accomplishes the object of the Committee and I greatly prefer it and hope that that will be done.


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. SMITH (Mobile) The gentleman from Montgomery that first spoke (Mr. .Jones) said that this was a novel proposition. I know that is eminently correct. So far as I know, the qualifications of an elector has never in the history of this country, been submitted to trial before a court or a jury, so that the proposition now to give to those people who are denied by the registrars the right to register, a trial of that question by a jury is a novel proposition, and the gentleman could hardly expect in an entirely new proposition an old procedure in exact terms. In substance, however, it is not a novel proposition to have the right of man to participate in an election determined without a charge by the judge to the body ascertaining that fact. In the majority of the States, as it has been in this State, those qualifications. whether fixed or not entirely fixed, have been determined by a Board of Registration. In other communities, however, there have been in the history of this country a process of selection. In some places they were selected by the people; no trial of their suffrage but the people who had the right to vote simply got together and said with other citizens should have the privilege. No trial by a judge, no right of appeal, no other jurisdiction. They have had all election by legislatures, who simply got together and elected such people as they thought fit to participate in this right of becoming a member of the electorate. In that case there is no evidence, there is no trial, there is no charge. In other cases it has been determined by the two bodies who collected and selected men, sometimes the governing body of a town simply got together and they came in. Sometimes as to certificates of the character and qualifications of the people, sometimes without, and they sat there and without evidence determined that question. So it is not a novel proposition that some body, some representative of the body of the county should get together and from their general knowledge of the person, from the circumstances of that person in the community and their standing, select him and declare him to be a fit person to participate in this right. In fact, so far as I know, it is the only method, sometimes in one part sometimes in another, but it is the only method in this country whereby the right to vote has been determined. Now, we have gone a step further than any other State that I know of. We have declared that these electors shall determine in the first place whether a man has the particular qualifications we have laid down. If they determine it in favor of the citizen that ends it and that is as far as the majority of the other States have gone. We go further, however, on behalf of the right of the citizen and we say, if that Board determines it against you, you may appeal to a jury, you shall select that jury just as juries are selected for the trial of other causes. You have your challenges and the other side have their challenges. You may offer evidence as to your right and qualifications. It was the purpose of this Committee to allow a jury, a body of men selected from the


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

county, who would be familiar with the circumstances and the character of its people to determine as a fact from that evidence whether that man had these qualification, or did not have them, and it was our purpose that the judge should not take that question away from that body of men by charges upon technicalities as to the law or as to the evidence. Mr. President, there was another purpose in it. We wanted to make this as simple a procedure as could be made and involve as few questions of litigation as consistent with the rights sought to be enforced. We did not care to have appeals to the Supreme Court upon a charge of the judge and the reversal and coming back, perhaps, a new appeal upon a number of technical questions arising out of the charge of the judge upon the various phases of the case, we wanted to reduce the litigation as far as it could be without sacrificing the right of the man who sought admission to the electorate.

MR. JONES– Will the gentleman permit a question? If the section stands as it is, is it the opinion of the Committee, if an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court– passed de novo on the facts.

MR. SMITH No, sir.

MR. JONES What is the appeal from?

MR. SMITH– Rulings on the evidence. Did the gentleman from Montgomery never hear of an appeal taken from the rulings of the court upon the evidence in a cause.

MR. JONES– I expect I have.

MR. SMITH– I expect the gentleman has. The purpose was to reduce it. We are here to some extent, trying an experiment, we are trying to frame under new circumstances a method for the purpose of reaching a higher electorate. The eyes of the world are upon us. There are many trying to criticize us. It doesn’t make any difference what our plans are, we are subject to criticism, whenever there is an opportunity to do so. Suppose when this subject comes up, when being considered by people not altogether friendly to the State of Alabama and to the South and one learned judge of the circuit bench says our suffrage plank means one thing and before it is determined by the Supreme Court another Circuit Judge says it means another thing and still another judge says it means another thing. The doors for attack upon us will be thrown wide open and we will have the energetic newspapers undertaking to stir up strife, contending that the whole thing is fraudulent, that a number of learned judges have disagreed and that nobody knows what it means. The purpose of the Committee was not to go beyond the well settled method to determine this by the body of the county, when to go beyond it would necessarily throw the door open.


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. OATES If there is going to be such a difference in the judges on the Constitution, the provision would require him to charge what it means.

MR. SMITH Pardon me, I don't so read it. I read that it requires him to charge what are the qualifications only and those qualifications are written in plain English and it is for the jury to say and not for the judge.

MR. OATES As to what constitutes qualifications?

MR. SMITH Yes, sir; and we have written what constitutes qualifications in this Article, and then it was the intention of the Committee which is borne out by the language that the jury should determine it.

MR. ASHCRAFT I rise for information, if the word “only” is contained in this clause, suppose in a case on trial evidence has been given on behalf of the voter or the person apply to the register and the solicitor should ask the court to rule it out on the ground that it was hearsay evidence. Now, if the word “only” is retained in there, how could the court charge the jury that the evidence which was before them was hearsay evidence and that they were not authorized to consider it?

MR. SMITH They could not, but in ruling it out could tell the jury so. It would not he a part of the charge of the judge to the jury. He could say, I sustain it, and rule out that evidence.

MR. ASHCRAFT Wouldn’t that constitute a charge?

MR. SMITH No sir.

MR. OATES If the word "only" be out, would it not still require the judge to charge the jury just as is required if you leave the word in there and simply allow him to charge something else outside. He could not give the affirmative charge with a word in there.

MR. SMITH– I construe it that he could--- that is my view of it.

THE PRESIDENT It has been moved to lay the amendment on the table.

MR. JONES On that I ask for the ayes and noes.

The call for the ayes and noes was not sustained.

THE PRESIDENT The question is on the adoption of the subdivision.

Upon a vote being taken the subdivision was adopted.

The Secretary read the seventh subdivision as follows:


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Seventh– The Secretary of State shall, at the expense of the State, have prepared and furnished to the registrars and Probate Judges in the several counties a sufficient number of registration books, and of blank forms of certificates of registration and of oaths and of the notices required to be given by the registrars. The cost of the publication in newspapers of the notices required to be given shall be paid by the State, the bills thereof to be rendered to the Secretary of State and approved by him.

MR. WHITE– I move the adoption of that subdivision.

MR. SLOAN– I wish to offer an amendment.

The Secretary read the amendment as follows:

“Amend Section 10, seventh subdivision, by adding at the end, ‘said registration board for each county shall be composed of one registrar form three different duly organized political parties as far as practicable, to be appointed on the recommendation of the County Committees for each party, respectively. If any party fails after thirty days to recommend some person for appointment, the Board shall make the appointment upon its own responsibility.”

MR. WHITE I raise the point of order that it is not germane to the subdivision.

MR. REESE– I move that the amendment be referred to the Committee on Wit and Humor.

THE PRESIDENT– The whole Section applies to the appointment of registrars.

MR. WHITE– I submit that it is contemplated at the end of the Section when we have gotten at the end of the subdivision.

THE PRESIDENT– This seems to be the last. This is the last subdivision, it appears to the Chair.

MR. ASHCRAFT– I have an amendment.

THE PRESIDENT– So far as consistency or compatibility of the amendment, Mr. Reed, in his book on rules, says “an amendment may be inconsistent or incompatible with the words left in the bill or with other amendments already adopted, but that is for the assembly to decide, and not for the presiding officer.” It might seem to some a little out of place at this point, but it is not for the Chair to rule it out of order. Does the gentleman desire to discuss the amendment?

MR. SLOAN- Only a few words. I have not heretofore consumed any time of the Convention and would not at this time, had I not felt it a duty upon me to offer an amendment in justice to a large minority of the people of this State. Now, Mr. Presi-


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

dent, I have not lost all confidence in the Democratic Party. I did not mean to say that by offering this amendment, but I do think that this Board of Registrars is a modern Caesar, and now, Mr. President, I would like a representative of my party to have a share in the trinity. I do not think that the amendment offered by the gentleman from Montgomery this morning would have reached the results he was looking for, because the majority of the registrars would have been of one party– it matters not what party that is. I tell you when a close political campaign comes, partisanship will be shown, it will be shown in the Populist Party, it will be shown, by the Republican Party and it likewise will be shown by the Democratic Party. Now, that is true, no delegate on this floor will dispute that proposition. It is certainly true and the adoption of this amendment will save, in my opinion, a great many appeals from the Board of Registrars. Now, if a man is ruled out from voting by the registrars, all of one party, he will feel that he is wronged. It matters not what he is ruled out for, or anything of that kind, the first impulse of his nature will be that he has been wronged. Now it may be possible that he will not be wronged, I do not say that the registrars of the Democratic Party will mean to wrong anybody, but I put it to you, if that will not be the first impulse of every man that is disfranchised under this proposition. Now there is nothing unjust about the proposition. Let us have representative from three political parties.

MR. deGRAFFENREID – Do you believe that these registrars want to disfranchise the white men of Alabama?

MR. SLOAN– Do I believe it?

MR. deGRAFFENREID – Yes.

MR. SLOAN– Yes.

MR. SLOAN- Well, I don’t know.

MR. deGRAFFENREID – I want to find out- is that your opinion?

MR. SLOAN– Well, I don’t know whether I believe that or not. I would like to ask the gentleman a question before he sits down. Do you believe it?

MR. deGRAFFENREID – I know that they do not.

MR. SLOAN– Let me ask another question– how do you know it?

MR. deGRAFFENREID– Because the Democratic party has pledged itself not to do so.

MR. SLOAN– Yes, the Democratic party pledged itself not to hold this Convention in session more than fifty days– now, what will you do with that proposition.


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. deGRAFFENREID– Will you show to us where they made that pledge.

MR. SLOAN– I will ask this question, if there is a delegate in this house that will rise and say that they did not endorse the act provided by the Legislature for this Constitutional Convention?

MR. deGRAFFENREID – I am trying to find out where the Democratic party said it would remain only fifty days in session.

MR. SLOAN I don't know, only that a candidate from our county came back and told us and I thought it was true. I never found out that it was not. I hope the Convention will adopt this amendment. I think it is nothing but justice, and a large minority under the whole section as it is will not have representation before the Board of Registrars and I think they ought to make it.

MR. CHAPMAN I move to lay the amendment on the table.

MR. MORRISETTE– Will the gentleman from Blount permit all inquiry? I would like to ask the gentleman if in his experience in politics—

MR. SLOAN This is my first experience, I want to tell you.

MR. MORRISETTE To appoint one Republican, a Populist and a Democrat, if you will ever register any body?

MR. CHAPMAN I insist upon my motion.

MR. MORRISETTE I ask the gentleman to please answer my question. I ask it in good faith.

MR. SLOAN I will answer the question. I think it will depend altogether upon the Registrars about that.

MR. MORRISETTE One a Republican, one a Democrat, and one a Populite, could you get those three people together, on any proposition on earth. I never agreed with a Populite on any proposition in my life, and if I was a member of the board I could not agree with one.

MR. SLOAN— You remind me of the gentleman that was always fussing with his wife. She had been trying to please him in every way possible and when he came to his dinner she met him at the door with his dinner on a plate, and finally he found out he could not find any other way to get a row with her, he threw the plate on the floor and it broke all to pieces. He said, it is row I want and a row I am going to have (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT The question is on the motion of the gentleman from Sumter to table the amendment of the gentleman from Blount.


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

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

MR. WHITE I move the adoption of the subdivision 7, and on that I call for the previous question.

MR. LOMAX– Will the gentleman please withdraw that– I have an amendment.

MR. WHITE I withdraw it, but I hope the gentleman will renew it after the amendment is read.

The Secretary read the amendment as follows: "that the Legislature shall by law provide for the purging of the registration

list of the names of those illegally registered or those who die, become insane, convicted of crime or otherwise disqualified as electors under the provisions of this Constitution.

MR. WHITE I will state to the gentleman from Montgomery that we have just such a provision as that which I think will be more appropriate at another place.

MR. LOMAX I did not know. I will withdraw my amendment.

THE PRESIDENT The question is shall the main question be now put.

A vote being taken the main question was ordered, and a further vote being taken the subdivision was adopted.

The Secretary read an amendment to Section 10 to be inserted at the end of the section and numbered subdivision 8, introduced by the committee, as follows:

"Any elector who registers for another, or registers more than once, any registrar who enters the mine of any elector on the list of registered voters without such elector make, application in person or under oath on the form made for that purpose or who knowingly registers any person more than once, or knowingly enters the name upon the registration list as a registered voter when no one of that name applied to register."

MR. WHITE I move the adoption of that subdivision.

Upon a vote being taken the subdivision was adopted.

MR. FITTS I make the point of order that the section has not been adopted. I move the adoption of the section as a whole and call for the ayes and noes.

THE PRESIDENT We have adopted it subdivision by subdivision and we have adopted each one of the subdivisions and it does not seem to the Chair to have a separate vote upon each section.


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OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS

MR. WEATHERLY I was just going to submit, Mr. President, we have been adopting a section as a whole and the purpose is to cut off a substitute for the entire section.

MR. PRESIDENT The question will be on the adoption of the section as amended.

Mr. Fitts sought recognition.

THE PRESIDENT The Chair asks pardon for not submitting the question for the ayes and noes. It will be submitted now. Is the call sustained

The call was not sustained.

The Secretary read the section as follows:

Section 11.— The Board of Registrars in each county shall, on or before the first day of February, 1903, file in the Probate Court of their county a complete list, sworn to by them, of all persons registered in their county, with the precinct of ward in which each of such persons reside set opposite the names of such person, and shall also file a like list in the office of the Secretary of State. The Judge of Probate shall, on or before the first day of March, 1903, cause to be made from such list in duplicate, in the books furnished by the Secretary of State, an alphabetical list by precincts of the persons shown by the list of the registrars to have been registered in the County, and shall file one of such alphabetical lists in the office of Secretary of State; for which services by the Probate Judges compensation shall be provided by the General Assembly. The Judges of Probate shall keep both the original list filed by the registrars and the alphabetical list made there from as records in the Probate Court of the County.

Unless he shall become disqualified under the provisions of this article, any one who shall register prior to the first day of January, 1903, shall remain an elector during life, and shall be required to register only in case of a change of residence, on production of his certificate. The certificate of the registrars or of the Probate Judge or of the Secretary of State shall be sufficient evidence to establish the fact of such life registration. Such certificate shall be issued free of charge to the elector, and the General Assembly shall provide by law for the renewal of such certifiate when lost, mutilated or destroyed.

MR. WHITE– I move the adoption of Section 11.

MR. SPRAGGINS I have an amendment.

MR. VAUGHAN I wanted to suggest to the Committee, where it says reside. it ought to be resides.

THE PRESIDENT Does the gentleman from Jefferson catch the suggestion of the gentleman from Dallas.


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CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, 1901

MR. WHITE I did not hear it.

MR. VAUGHAN I wanted to call the attention of the Committee to a grammatical error in the fourth line of Section 11 the word "reside" shall be "resides."

MR. WEATHERLY Yes, sir.

MR. WHITE Mr. President, we accept the correction and ask leave to have it corrected by unanimous consent.

Unanimous consent was given and the correction was made.

Mr. Spraggins offered the following amendment to Section 11 : "'To amend Section 11 by adding after the word ‘county’ in the third line the following words; ‘showing the age of such persons so registered.’

MR. WHITE– We accept that or at least we will ask unanimouse consent of the House to accept that amendment.

Unanimous consent was given and the amendment was adopted.

MR. CARMICHAEL (Coffee) I want to know a little about this section. It seems to me if I heard it correctly the general election in 1902, the November election, will be held under the new registration. I would like to ask the acting Chairman of the Committee if this is correct. Will not the general election in 1902 be held under the new registration.

MR. WHITE Yes, sir: certainly.

MR. CARMICHAEL Well, how will Probate Judge of each county have the lists of the registration made up to the time in his possession in order that he may make copies from them as required under the present law to send out to each beat. each polling place, if the lists are not turned in prior to January. 1903. Of course they could be turned in but there is no provision made here for a partial return of the list up to that time. It seems to me the section, as I understand it, is a little lame.

MR. WHITE The idea is each voter will have a certificate.

MR. CARMICHAEL And will have to present that certificate and there will be no list.

MR. WHITE The list contemplated to be made is a permanent record not for that purpose, but a permanent record to be kept in the office of the Probate Judge and Secretary of State.

MR. CARMICHAEL If a man loses his certificate he has to get another, as under the Sayre election law, before it was amended by the Code.


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MR. WHITE Provision is made for getting a certificate at any time without cost.

MR. LONG (Walker) I rise to a point of order. I want to ask a question. Does he object to having the color given. I know three or four negroes in Alabama known as "Tom Long."

MR. CARMICHAEL– Mr. President, it seems to me a little hard for a man to present that certificate where he has to vote. He might have moved to another beat, and it is true the legislature will have the right to make changes and additions to this; election law not in conflict with the Constitution, but serious trouble might arise at the first election, it seems to me in this regard. At present the people are used to not keeping their certificates, but to going there and voting. There is a quasi permanent list now.

MR. LONG (Walker) I would like to

THE PRESIDENT Does the gentleman yield?

MR. CARMICHAEL Yes, sir.

MR. WALKER– It would be impossible for the list to be furnished to the Probate Judge or any one else because the registration continues up to date of election and is not completed until after the election in 1902.

MR. CARMICHAEL I just wanted to know about that. I am not especially interested in it, but I thought perhaps it would be better to have this I have no amendment to offer. I asked for information more than anything else.

MR. THOMPSON– I desire to offer an amendment.

The amendment was read as follows:

“To amend Section 11 by adding at the end thereof the following, ‘the Circuit Courts, or courts of like jurisdiction, shall have the authority to strike from the roll of registered electors the name of any person not legally on such roll, upon application of any qualified elector, when shown the reasonable satisfaction of such court that the panic of such person was illegally on such roll, and the trial try a jury may be had upon the demand of either the applicant or the elector, such trial to be without cost to either party for such trial.”

MR. WEATHERLY– Will the gentleman allow a suggestion?

MR. THOMPSON – Yes sir.

MR. WEATHERLY As stated by the Acting Chairman a while ago when Mr. Lomax of Montgomery, made a motion to the same effect there is an amendment to be offered by the Committee at the proper place authorizing the Legislature to provide for


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purging the list. I thought perhaps that might be satisfactory to the gentleman.

MR. THOMPSON I do not understand that the amendment as offered by Mr. Lomax went to the extent that this does. As I understand it, that simply provided for purging the list of those who have died or become insane, or convicted.

MR. WEATHERLY Oh, no, all who are illegally registered.

MR. THOMPSON– Then I withdraw that amendment.

MR. WHITE Mr. President, is that amendment withdrawn.

THE PRESIDENT It is withdrawn.

MR. WHITE Then I move the adoption of the Section, and upon that I call the previous question.

THE PRESIDENT It is moved that the Section as read be adopted, and upon that the gentleman from Jefferson moves the previous question. Does the gentleman from Jefferson withdraw his motion in order to permit the gentleman from Etowah to offer an amendment. He has sent one to the desk.

MR. WHITE I did not, but I will withdraw it.

THE PRESIDENT The Secretary will read the amendment of the gentleman from Etowah.

The Secretary read the amendment as follows:

"Amend Section 11 by inserting in line two, after the word ‘1903' ‘or as soon thereafter as possible,’ and in line six, after the words ‘1903' the words ‘or as soon thereafter as possible.’”

THE PRESIDENT The question is upon the amendment of the gentleman from Etowah. The gentleman from Etowah.

MR. DAVIS (Etowah) I take it that these words while they have the mandatory "shall" in there are intended to be merely directory. It is certainly possible that some untoward circumstance might prevent these registrars from certifying.

MR. WHITE I think if we put the word "practicable" instead of "possible," the Committee will accept it.

MR. DAV IS That is all right. I would be glad to have the word "possible" substituted.

Unanimous consent was given for the change to be made.

THE PRESIDENT The question is upon the adoption of Section 11 as amended.

Upon a vote Section 11 was adopted as amended.

The Secretary read Section 12 as follows:


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Sec. 12. From and after the first day of January, 1903, any applicant for registration may be required to state under oath, to be administered by the Registrar or by any person authorized by law to administer oaths, where he lived during th five years next preceding the time at which he applies to register, and the name or names that he was known by during that period and the name of his employer or employers, if any, during such period. Any applicant for registration who refused to state such facts, or any of them, shall not be entitled to register, and any person so offering to register, who willfully makes a false statement in regard to such matters, or any of them, shall be guilty of perjury.

MR. WHITE– I move the adoption of the Section as read.

MR. PRESIDENT– The question is upon the adoption.

MR. WHITE– I ask you to wait a moment, we have an amendment.

MR. LOMAX– Mr. President, I offer this amendment, “By adding to Section 12, ‘the Legislature shall by law provide for purging the registration list of names illegally registered, and of those who may die, become insane, convicted of a crime, or otherwise disqualified as an elector, under the provisions of this Constitution.’”

MR. WHITE– I wish to state to the gentleman from Montgomery that the Committee has accepted the amendment.

MR. LOMAX– I simply desire to make a statement that this amendment is the adoption of the idea of Chancellor Kelly, expressed in a letter read to the Convention some days ago.

MR. REESE– Will the gentleman allow a question? I could not hear the reading distinctly does that provide for cases after the first registration, or go into disabilities that might have existed at the time of the registration?

MR. LOMAX– I think it covers all registrars, sir. It gives general authority to the Legislature to make provision for purging the registration list at any time.

MR. REESE– I desire to ask a further question. Under that provision could they go into and purge this registration list of people who have not registered on account of having good character?

MR. LOMAX– They could only be purged for causes set out which does not include I think such a case as you state. I will ask the Secretary to read the amendment.

The Secretary again read the amendment.


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MR. REESE I do not like to find any fault with the amendment the Committee has accepted, but I suppose these gentlemen have carefully considered these questions. I think that by this amendment, if passed, is presented a dangerous proposition. It may be dangerous. It may be loaded or not. But I think it is a proposition which before it is enacted in the organic law of this State should have received the consideration of this Committee on Suffrage. It may be that I would be prepared to support it. I think it is possible that under that amendment the guarantees that have been put here, and that we have been referring to in this report, might all be swept away, and, Mr. President, I am opposed to the adoption of it at this time. I think the Committee ought to consider it and I move therefore that the amendment be referred to the Committee on Suffrage.

The President– It is moved that the amendment offered with the section, be referred to the Committee on Suffrage and Elections.

MR. PILLANS As a substitute, I shall, after addressing myself to the question, move to lay on the table the amendment offered. Mr. President, in the adoption of the Constitution of 1868, I think we have had in Alabama a registration plan. I think I am safe in saying because I became a voter in ‘68. I have practiced law since 1870, and while I do not know all the law, I think I am safe in saying that we have never found it necessary to provide by law for purging a registration list although we have registration after registration in the State of Alabama. This is a novelty introduced without any sufficient reason for it given, and the novelty I can see no foundation for. Look at the consequence that might flow from the adoption of this novelty. We are guarding as far as possible the right of the citizen to vote, to go on the registration list. We are doing what we call to have a fit electorate for the State of Alabama; we are guarding it with all caution and care we can and yet here is a proposition to leave to the Legislature the right to purge those lists in any manner it may see fit, possibly without notice to the electors. We do not know how his name or the names of sundry electors. Where is the necessity for this? If a man is registered and finds his name cannot be voted afterwards, and has never been voted lawfully afterwards, and has never been found in the experience of the State necessary to go annually through the list and purge the list where is the necessity of introducing this novelty and disturbing the harmony of the report. For that reason I move to lay the amendment on the table as a substitute for their motion.

MR. WHITE I hope you will withdraw the motion to table for a moment. I will renew it for you.

MR. PILLANS I withdraw.


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MR. WHITE The gentleman from Mobile says we have never yet had occasion in Alabama to pure a registration list. A reply to that may be made in this way. We have never before had a life list. This is the first time in Alabama we have ever provided for a life list and we know of necessity men will die, some will be raised, some will move from one precinct to another, some will move from one county to another, some will move from the State entirely and this simply means that the Legislature shall provide for purging this list of names that might be used for illegal purposes.

MR. REESE. May I ask a question?

MR. WHITE I yield to the gentleman.

MR. REESE With that provision in there, purging it of the names of persons who have been illegally registered, would that not tend to open the flood gates wide open so that any name could be stricken off them, and with your temporary plan of registering the people until 1903, be any protection to them, to men who have got their names on there, and if they have it there for life, as long as they behave themselves.

MR. WHITE– I will answer that this way. It will not open the flood gate; unless the flood gates have been opened too late with any, improperly and illegally, and if the flood gates have been opened for that purpose, then the flood gates ought to be opened to let them out. Certainly we can trust the law of the land and the officer of the State in enforcing that law to see that justice is done to every section and to every voter.

MR. HARRISON I desire to ask the acting chairman if the Legislature would have it, but there are people in Alabama who are afraid now that a vast number of people will be illegally registered, that is that there will be a fictitious registration, and this provision carries with it confidence to the country, that if such is done, it shall be obviated. In fact it has been charged on the floor of this Convention that such is the case, and I hope, Mr. President – yes there are a great many things I might say, but it seems to me that this is quite sufficient, and I hope that the motion to table the amendment will not prevail, and I renew it at the request of my friend from Mobile.

MR. PILLANS– I would ask. Mr. President and gentlemen of the Convention, whether it is not a fact that the registration of the electors in Alabama has not been a registration that lasted for long periods, years before there was a new registration ordinarily.

MR. WHITE-- That is not my information, not since I have been in the State, that has not been so. That may have been so in the distant past.

MR. PILLANS I will ask the gentleman if it has not been the experience of this State since the Constitution of 1875, there


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have not been exceeding four registrations, and if so, how many in excess.

MR. WHITE– Admitting that that is so, though I do not admit it, that is not a good reason why this list should not be purged, it ought to be purged.

MR. O’NEAL I will ask a question. This uses the words "Purge the registration list of names illegally registered." Now suppose the Board of Registrars should admit a man of bad character. Are you to give the Legislature power to revise that action ?

MR. WHITE– No, sir, that is not contemplated by that at all. That is a discretion vested in this board that cannot be divested by some subsequent proceeding.

MR. O'NEAL – Well, is the Legislature then to determine who is legally or illegally registered?

MR. WHITE No, sir, the Legislature does not have anything to do with that except to enact a law by which it play be done, if it is ascertained to have been done. I hope the motion to table will not prevail.

THE PRESIDENT– The question is upon the motion to table the amendment offered by the gentleman from Montgomery.

MR. WILLIAMS (Elmore)– I make the point of order the motion to re commit was made before the motion to table.

THE PRESIDENT That is true, but the motion to table outranks the motion to recommit and has precedence, and the motion to table must first be submitted under our rules. If the gentleman will examine the order of precedence of motions in his book of rules—

MR. O’NEAL Is that subject to amendment?

MR. WILLIAMS My purpose was that if it was not in order, then I would move to table the motion to recommit.

THE PRESIDENT There is already a motion to table pending. The question is upon the motion to table the amendment offered by the gentleman from Montgomery.

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

THE PRESIDENT The question now is upon the motion of the gentleman from Dallas to recommit the section and amendments to the Committee on Suffrage and elections.

MR. HARRISON I desire to advocate that motion. I think so far as the right of the Legislature to make these lists conform to the provisions of the Constitution, it would have ample power


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to do so without any mandate in the Constitution itself. but from a casual reading of this amendment, it occurs to me that the Legislature is given a supervisory power over the Constitution itself, which I do not think it ought to have. I think to carry out the idea that had first been suggested in advocacy of this amendment that it was to take names off of the list of those who had died, or been convicted or where there had been any judicial ascertainment of a disqualification, the Legislature would be duty bound to carry into effect the provisions of tile Constitution, but I am unwilling, and our Chairman of this Convention would be unwilling, for the Legislature to supervise or rehear the action of the registrars or any tribunal designated by the Convention for the purpose of passing on an elector.

MR. LONG (Walker) How could it provide unless given authority by the Constitution, to take a man off for life, when, under Section 13 here, it says that unless he becomes disqualified under the provisions of this Article?

MR. HARRISON– He is to remain so for life, provided he is not disqualified.

MR. GRAHAM I move to lay the motion of the gentleman from Dallas on the table.

MR. O'NEAL Let us discuss the matter a moment.

MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)– I did not think a discussion ought to come up on a motion to recommit. The merits of a proposition are not properly discussed, and I renew my motion to lay the motion to recommit on the table.

MR. REESE I desire to ask for an aye and no vote.

The call was not sustained.

THE PRESIDENT– The question is on the motion to table the motion to recommit.

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

MR. THOMPSON— I desire to re offer my amendment as a substitute for the amendment offered by the gentleman from Montgomery.

The Secretary read the amendment as follows: “Amend Section 12 by adding at the end thereof the following: 'The Circuit Courts or courts of like jurisdiction, shall have the authority to strike from the roll of registered electors, the name of any person not legally on such roll, upon the application of any qualified elector, when it is shown to the reasonable satisfaction of such court that the name of such person was illegally on such roll, and a trial by jury may be had upon the demand of either the applicant or


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the elector, such trial to be without cost to either party to such trial.’”

MR. THOMPSON I do not care to make a speech can that. I simply say to make its meaning clear: The only difference between that amendment and the one offered by the gentleman from Montgomery is that it is self-executing, and it places now in the hands of the courts this matter of purging the list, instead of leaving it to the discretion of the General Assembly. It provides that upon the application of any qualified elector, to the Circuit Court, the name of any person improperly on the roll may be stricken from it, upon proof being made to the court sufficient to reasonably satisfy the court that such person vas illegally registered. That does not leave it subject to rejection that has been suggested that some one could urge against the ratification, that this was left within the province of the Legislature to name any arbitrary cause by which names might be stricken from the roll, but it provides that the courts, which, of course, means the courts of the county, in which such person was registered, shall pass upon that question, and on that matter a jury trial may be had. A jury trial has been mentioned here in other instances in this Article. A trial may be had before a jury, and they must be reasonably satisfied that such person was illegally registered. Now then, gentlemen, I think this amendment would go a long ways to satisfy the opposition and meet objections that have been made that it was the deliberate attempt or purpose of some people to pad this registration roll to register the negroes in the Black Belt. This is a sufficient guarantee against that.

MR. MACDONALD I rise to a point of inquiry. Does not your amendment merely provide for the ascertainment by the court as to whether or not the elector was in the first instance properly entered upon the list? Is not the court limited to that inquiry, and not to matters that occur afterwards?

MR. THOMPSON I do not so understand the wording. It would apply to those who are illegally on the roll at the time the application is made to the court whether he is dead, convicted, insane, or whether he was never in existence; whether there was never any such person.

MR. MACDONALD Does not your amendment say whether properly registered in the first instance. As I caught the word, it seemed to be better that way.

MR. THOMPSON I did not mean for it to be that way, and do not think it does.

MR. HOOD I will state that the committee are of the opinion that this matter should be considered in the Committee further and that the whole matter should be recommitted.


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MR. THOMPSON Then I will make a motion that the section with amendments, be recommitted to the Committee on Suffrage and Elections.

MR. WHITE I wish to say in behalf of the Committee that we have no objection to that.

A vote being taken the motion to recommit was carried.

The Secretary read Section 13 as follows:

Sec. 13. 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 testified, but may be prosecuted for perjury committed on such examination.

MR. WHITE I move that the section be adopted.

Upon a vote being taken, Section 13 was adopted.

Section 14 was read by the Secretary as follows:

Sec. 14. 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 by 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.

MR. WHITE Mr. President, it is thought by a number of the Committee that the amendment about which we have been debating, and which has just been recommitted, will most properly come in Section 14, than in Section 12, and I therefore ask to have Section 14 passed until the Committee has acted upon the matter that was just recommitted to it.

MR. O'NEAL Let us adopt Section 12, then.

MR. WHITE We cannot adopt Section 12 now, because that has been recommitted. We can go onto the other sections.

THE PRESIDENT You ask to have Section 12 passed temporarily?

MR. WHITE Section 14.

THE PRESIDENT It is moved that Section 14 be taken up after the other sections have been disposed of.


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A vote being taken the motion was carried.

The Secretary read Section 15 as follows:

Sec. 15. 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.

MR. WHITE This is simply a copy of the old constitution. I move its adoption.

MR. OATES Before that motion, I rise to a point of Parliamentary inquiry. The words are used all along there "The General Assembly and in the Legislative Department "Legislature" has been adopted. The inquiry is to ascertain if the Committee on Harmony, Consistency, etc. would have the right to change those words to read "legislature."

THE PRESIDENT It seems, to the Chair that the Committee would have that right. The question is on the motion to adopt.

A vote being taken the section was adopted.

The Secretary read Section 16 as follows:

Sec. 16. Electors 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 there from.

MR. WHITE I move the adoption of that section. It is an exact copy of the old section in the old Constitution.

Upon a vote being taken, Section 16 was adopted.

The Secretary read Section 17 as follows:

Sec. 17. Returns of elections for all civil officers who are to be commissioner 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.

MR. WHITE That is exactly as it is in the old Constitution, except that it adds the new officers that have been trade constitutional officers since that time. I move its adoption.

MR. REESE I would like to ask a question.

THE PRESIDENT Does the gentleman yield?

MR. WHITE Yes sir.

MR. REESE It says, returns of elections for all civil officers who are to be commissioned by the Governor, except the Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer and Commissioner of Agriculture now where do the returns of the officers go to.


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MR. HOWZE There ought to be an amendment offered before it is put, and Lieutenant-Governor ought to be put in, and I make a motion that it be amended and that Lieutenant-Governor be put in after the word Governor.

MR. JONES (Montgomery)– The Lieutenant-Governor is not required by the Constitution to be commissioned by the Governor. He is declared elected by the Speaker of each house.

MR. HOWZE– Neither are they members of the General Assembly commissioned by the Governor. They are in here. I withdraw the amendment.

THE PRESIDENT The Chair had submitted the question on the adoption of the Section, and has taken the ayes, and now wishes to hear from the noes.

A vote being taken, Section 17 was adopted.

Section 18 was read by the Secretary as follows:

Sec. 18. The poll tax mentioned in this Article shall be $1.50 upon each male inhabitant of the State over the age of 21 years, and under they age of 45 years, who would not now be exempt by law. Such poll tat shall become due and payable on the first day of October in each year and become delinquent on the first day of the next succeeding February, but no legal process nor any fee or commission shall be allowed for the collection thereof. The Tax Collector shall make returns of poll tax collections separate from other collections.

MR. SAMFORD (Pike) It seems to me that the regulation of the poll tax should not be taken entirely out of the hands of the Legislature. We ought to consider in this connection the fact that we are attempting to make a law which eve hope may continue in force a number of years, and at some subsequent time, the General Assembly or the people, might see fit to make some changes in the poll tax laws as they now exist. I don't doubt that some effort will be made along that line unless this restriction is placed in the Constitution. I desire to submit an amendment for the consideration of the Convention, and I think it deserves some thought. I have no pride of opinion with regard to the amendment, but I shall favor it.

The amendment was read as follows: “Amend by striking out in Section 18 all before the word ‘poll’ in the third line.”

MR. SAM FORD (Pike)– I want to strike out everything before the word “poll”, in the third line, and let that be the beginning of the section.

(Mr. Weatherly sought recognition).

THE PRESIDENT Let the Chair state the question first. The question will be on the amendment offered by the gentleman


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from Pike to Section 18, as reported by the Committee on Suffrage and Election.

MR. WEATHERLY I think the gentleman from Pike leaves out of mind the fact that the payment of the poll tax is made a prerequisite to the qualification for voting. Heretofore it has been just the amount and the payment of the poll tax and nothing more, but after the ratification of this Constitution, should it be ratified, it will become a qualification for the exercise of the electoral franchise, and the people of the State want to know definitely what it is they will vote to pay.

MR. SAMFORD (Pike) The amendment I suggest would have the effect to keep the payment of the poll tax as a part of the qualifications.

MR. WEATHERLY But the amount would change. This is the only place, as I recollect it, where the amount of the tax is mentioned, and the age. Now the Committee did not think and I believe I am speaking for the whole committee in saying so that it would be well to leave it to this, that or the other Legislature to change that amount from a dollar and a half to two dollars or three dollars, or perhaps five dollars, or more, or change the age or have a fluctuating qualification according to the fancy or caprice or political complexion of the Legislature. We think the people prefer to have it known definitely what the qualifications shall be. For that reason, I trust that the amendment offered by the gentleman will not be adopted. I move to lay the amendment on the table.

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

MR. REESE I desire to offer an amendment.

The amendment was read as follows: "Amend Section 18. Strike out in second line ‘forty five’ and insert ‘sixty.’”

MR. CARMICHAEL (Colbert) I make an amendment to the amendment, which I desire to offer

MR. REESE Have I the floor?

THE PRESIDENT Yes, sir. Do you desire to yield for the purpose of hearing the amendment to the amendment read?

MR. REESE Yes, sir.

The amendment to the amendment was read as follows:

"Amend Section 18 by inserting after the word ‘law,’ in the third line, the following: ‘Providing that the male inhabitants of the State who shall be over the age of forty-five years at the adoption of this Constitution, shall never be required to pay a poll tax.’


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Also by striking out in Section 18, in line two, the figures ‘45' and inserting the figures ‘60'”

THE PRESIDENT The question will be upon the adoption of the amendment to the amendment.

MR. WEATHERLY I ask for the reading of the amendment. There was so much confusion I did not hear it.

The amendment wits read as requested.

MR. CARMICHAEL. (Colbert) I presume it will hardly be necessary to explain the effect of the amendment if the gentlemen of the Convention have paid attention to its reading.

MR. OATES I call the attention to the use of the word “adopted.” The adoption of this Constitution refers to its it adoption by the Convention.

MR. CARMICHAEL I ask unanimous consent to substitute “ratification” for “adopted.”

This article Says the poll tax shall be a dollar and a half, and, with the amendment, it would apply to all under the age of 60 who would not now be exempt by late, provided that those over the age of 45 years at the ratification of this Constitution shall never be required to pay a poll tax.

Now, I have never seen why a man at 50 years of age should not pay it poll tax. I suppose that there was never any particular reason for it. It certainly seems to me that a man at 50 or 55 or 60 years of age would be just as able, and under just as much duty to pay a poll tax as a man of 21 years. The amendment does not affect those citizens who, at the time of the ratification of this Constitution, are over the age of 45, and I hope the amendment will be adopted.

MR. deGRAFFENREID I move to lay the amendment on the table.

THE PRESIDENT The Chair will recognize the gentleman from Jefferson.

MR. HOWZE– I was going to make the same motion. I think it very unwise for us to change the policy of the State in this matter of poll tax now. It would certainly be increasing taxes which we are pledged not to do. I, therefore, move that the amendment and substitute be laid upon the table.

MR. REESE I will ask the gentleman to withdraw his motion for just a few minutes that I may make a few remarks.

MR. HOWZE If he will renew it, I will withdraw it.


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ME. REESE Here you are constructing a plan by which the Black Belt will live or die. I have no confidence in the proposition that is made here by the Suffrage Committee, except the poll tax provision. That is the safest. This other is experimental. I believe a small poll tax to be collected at the time these gentlemen have provided will help the Black Belt and enable its to preserve ourselves. In my section, a man gets 45 years of age very soon. He has to work the roads until he is 45, and nearly every negro in the county that has been a man for five years is 45 years of age, and if we are going to turn loose a voter who is otherwise not qualified when he reaches the age of 45, you leave my people in a bad fix. I hope this Convention will not table the proposition. I hope you won't leave us in the fire where we cannot march up ten thousand strong in my county to help you adopt this Constitution, but if you keep on like you are doing here to try to let in ignorant and thriftless people in other sections, I am glad to have them vote. But, Mr. President, we cannot surrender ourselves to the negroes for the purpose of allowing a few thriftless men in North Alabama to vote, and Mr. President, I tell you to mark my word, if you put the proposition to our people where they are distrustful of the results– of what these provisions will mean to them – if the black belt is distrustful of what their future will be under this Constitution, the results will at least be uncertain.

MR. CUNNINGHAM Is it not a fact that this is not a tax but a voluntary contribution to the State?

MR. REESE Yes, sir.

MR. CUNNINGHAM– Therefore it would not be raising the taxes.

MR. REESE It would not.

MR. CUNNINGHAM And there if any citizen after forty-five years of age prefers not to pay his poll tax and disfranchise himself, it would be a voluntary action on his part. It is a good thing and ought to pass.

MR. O'NEAL I think so.

MR. SLOAN– The gentleman said the man who was a man for five years in his county was of the age of forty-five. I will simply ask the gentleman how old he is.

MR. REESE I speak of the negroes who want to keep from working the road, and a man who would lie out of road duty would avoid a poll tax.

MR. CUNNINGHAM I think this amendment here has raised an exceedingly important and practical question. I myself do not look upon it as raising taxes, and I with the gentleman from Dallas endorse the sentiment that this is one of the principal


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measures we will have for the regulation of the suffrage when the permanent plan goes into effect. The amendment as it now stands and was accepted by the gentleman from Dallas will not be retroactive on any citizen who has reached forty-five years of age at the time of the ratification of this Constitution. I do not know whether this Convention is ready to act on this amendment at this time and I therefore move that this section with the amendment be recommitted to the Committee on Suffrage and Elections.

MR. OATES– I do not like the provision reported by the committee requiring a poll tax to be paid from the age of twenty-one to forty-five years, and no further. They have in this report declared against any law for the enforcement of the collections of the poll tax. If there is no law for its enforcement, what is the objection to extending the age? If a man chooses not to pay because he is over the age of forty-five years that is his business. The poll tax, by the very terms of the Constitution, is to be devoted to the public school education in the counties where it is collected. Now, when there is no provision of law to coerce the collection, it is necessarily a contribution for school purposes, and in the general plan, if any one is so small that he will not contribute a dollar and a half per annum to the noble purpose of educating the children of the State, he is denied the right to register and vote. It seems to me that is a fair proposition, and there is no hardship in it at all, and if you put the age limit upward, I would say sixty years, but gentlemen should observe the fact that the present constitution has no such limitation. The provision says that “all taxes levied on property, etc., in this State shall be assessed in exact proportion to the value of said property; provided, however, the General Assembly may levy a poll tax not to exceed a dollar and a half on each poll, which shall be applied exclusively in aid of the public school fund, in the county so paying the same.” Why put on any limitation at all? If disposed to put on any I would say sixty years of age and not forty-five. It is not in the present Constitution. It has not been at all except by an act of the Legislature. They saw proper to put on that limit, to excuse a good many from paying it. But this Convention works a very great many changes, and would it not be safe to leave it to the Legislature to say whether there would be ay age limit at all, and if so put it up after this Constitution is ratified. It seems to me that the action of the committee in attempting to limit to forty-five years, was unfortunate, and that part ought not to be adopted. If there is to be an age limit at all, then I am in favor of the amendment offered by the delegate from Dallas fixing it at sixty years. If the will of the Convention is not to fix an age limit, then the present Constitution leaving it to the Legislature is and will be the solution and I believe probably the best that is all I desire to say.

MR. LONG (Walker)– The men over forty-five years of age are very willing for the young fellows under forty-five to pay until


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they are sixty. They would be excused, and fellows about my age, a little over forty, would have to pay the dollar and a half for fifteen years longer. I am opposed to class legislation of any kind, and I am in favor of this section exactly as reported by the committee. I think it is a wise one. While it is true that the age is not in the old Constitution, yet it has been in the act of the Legislature ever since almost the old Constitution was adopted, and even prior to that time. As so many of the people of Alabama have become accustomed to it, if you put it in there making it a dollar and a half up to 60 years of age, while it makes no difference to me, there are a great many people in Alabama who will object to it– hundreds and thousands of them. The distinguished gentleman from Jefferson says it is not a tax. I differ with him. Anything is a tax that a man has to pay out of his pocket to support the Government. You might say the tariff is not a tax. It is just as much a tax as an ad valorem tax. It is worse than that, it is taxing a man for the right to breathe the air, or the right to vote. There is no ad valorem in it.

MR. OATES Do you think it would be a hardship to require a man to pay a dollar and a half for the purpose of education.

MR. LONG– It is very easy for some men to pay a dollar and a half, but it is hard for some men to pay.

MR. OATES– If he has no property to pay on, he ought to pay something.

MR. LONG He has already paid between 21 and 45 years of age. I think that is enough. While a dollar and a half is a very small matter to us, perhaps, to the farmer who has six or seven sons, if all of them have to pay a dollar and a half, it will have the effect of driving many of them from supporting this Constitution. I am strictly opposed to any change in this clause, and unless the Committee wants this recommitted. I shall move to lay the motion to recommit on the table.

THE PRESIDENT The gentleman from Walker moves to lay the motion to recommit the Section and amendment on the table.

Upon a vote being taken a division was called for and the motion to table was declared carried by a vote of 54 ayes to 53 noes.

MR. O'NEAL I call for a verification of the vote.

Upon a verification of the vote being had, the result was 49 ayes to 53 noes, and the motion to table was lost.

MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) – I move the previous question on the motion to recommit.


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MR. LONG (Walker) I move a verification of the vote again by calling for the ayes and noes, and make the point of order that that is the only way that it can be verified.

MR. HEFLIN (Chambers) A verification has been had, and I make the point of order that the gentleman is out of order.

THE PRESIDENT It seems to the Chair if the gentleman desired to have a verification by the ayes and noes, he should have asked for it before trying a verification by a division, and that after a matter has been submitted to a verification by division, it is too late to call for a verification by the ayes and noes.

The gentleman from Chambers moves the previous question on the motion to recommit. Are you ready for the question?

The main question was ordered.

MR. SANFORD I call for the ayes and noes.

THE PRESIDENT The question is now on the motion to recommit Section 18, and the pending amendment and the ayes and noes are called for. Is the call sustained?

The call was not sustained.

Upon a further vote being taken the motion to recommit the pending amendment to the Committee on Suffrage and Elections was carried.

MR. COBB I desire to offer an amendment.

THE PRESIDENT An amendment is not in order.

MR. LONG ( Walker)– I ask for a verification of the vote by the ayes and noes.

TH E PRESIDENT The call was made for the ayes and noes and the call was not sustained.

MR. LONG But I ask for a verification.

THE PRESIDENT Is the call sustained? The call is not sustained.

MR. LONG– I did not think it would take thirty to have a verification.

THE PRESIDENT It seems to the Chair it would, otherwise a vote is taken a member could ask for a verification and in that way repeal the rule.

MR. LONG I want to call the attention of the Chair that a moment ago I asked for a verification by the ayes and noes and the Chair overruled it by saying I was too late, or that it has been verified by a division. At that time the motion was laid on the


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table and the point was made to verify the vote and a number of the members did not vote then, and I called for a verification by the ayes and noes and the Chair ruled me out.

THE PRESIDENT The Chair ruled a moment ago that when a vote was to be verified any gentleman may call for a verification by division or by the ayes and noes, but the Convention cannot be expected to sit here indefinitely, taking verification of votes-----

MR. LONG I withdraw my call for a verification. I just simply wished to show there were two sides to the question–

THE PRESIDENT The gentleman is not in order to discuss the question. The Chair heard him very patiently, and now the Chair is ruling on the question. And now when the Chair submits the question on a call for a verification by the ayes and noes, the Chair submits a call to the Convention. The call was not sustained. It seems to the Chair the ayes have it, and the ayes have it, and the matter is referred to the Committee on Suffrage and Elections. The Secretary will read Section 19.

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery) I intended to offer this amendment to Section 18.

MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale) I move that he be allowed to file it and that it be referred to the Committee on Suffrage and Elections.

Unanimous consent was given for the amendment to be referred to the Committee on Suffrage and Elections.

Section 19 was read as follows:

Sec. 19. If any section of this Article shall become inoperative and void by reason of the decision of any Court of competent jurisdiction, the General Assembly shall have power, and it is hereby authorized to remedy the defect in such Section pointed out by such adjudication, by a two thirds vote of all the members of each House of the General Assembly.

MR. SORRELL– I have an amendment.

MR. WALKER (Madison)– Will the gentleman excuse me a moment?

MR. SORRELL – Certainly.

MR. WALKER– On behalf of the Committee I desire to offer an amendment, in the first line by inserting after the word “Article,” “or subdivision thereof;” in the third line after the word “Section” by adding the words “or subdivision;” in the fifth line after the word “Article” add the words “or subdivision” and in


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the sixth line after the word “Section” add the words “or subdivision.”

The amendment was read as follows:

“Amend Section 19 by adding the first line after the word ‘Article,’ ‘or subdivision thereof;’ by adding in the third line after the word “section” the words “or subdivision;” by adding in the fifth line after the word “article” the words “or subdivision” and by adding in the sixth line after the word ‘section,’ the words “or subdivision.”

MR. WALKER (Madison)– I ask unanimous consent on behalf of the Committee on Suffrage and Elections to insert the amendment read by the Secretary.

Consent was given.

The amendment by Mr. Sorrell was then read as follows:

Amend Section 19 by adding at the end thereof the following:

‘Provided that any law enacted by the General Assembly as provided for in this section shall not become operative until ratified by a majority of the qualified electors in this State.”

THE PRESIDENT– The question will be upon the amendment offered by the gentleman from Tallapoosa.

MR. SORRELL– Mr. President, we have been here for ten days discussing this all-important question of the report of the Committee on Suffrage and Elections. We have been patient, we have been interested, but no more so than the people whom we have the honor to represent. We have differed. Members of this Convention have differed upon the great questions that were presented by this majority report. Great and eminent lawyers on the floor of this Convention have said that in their belief, some sections of this article are unconstitutional. They have presented their views at length, while a majority of us have thought and believe yet that this report is the best report that could be adopted– the best suffrage plan for Alabama that could be adopted. We have believed and believe yet, that the report of the majority Committee is constitutional, and that it will stand the test of the higher courts. But in the wisdom of the majority of that Committee, and in view of the fact that there was a question as to the constitutionality, they have seen fit to bring in Section 19 of this report, which provides that perchance the courts were to decide that nay clause or any section of this article was unconstitutional, that the legislature shall have the power to correct that, and to enact, if you please, such a law as will remedy the defect pointed out by the courts, and that question is left absolutely in the hands of the legislature. For fifty years it has been deemed wise that no amendment to a Constitution should be left entirely to the legislature, therefore we have engrafted in every Constitution since 1861, the wise provision that


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no amendment to the Constitution could be made by a legislature. It could only be suggested by them, and would only become a clause in the Constitution when it was ratified by the people. I see, Mr. President, no good reason at this time why we should depart from that time-honored custom– a custom that has met the universal approval of the people of Alabama since 1861. Now, if it was essential during all of these years to throw around the legislature this safeguard, I submit that it is dangerous today to tear it down. I submit that if it was essential in the days gone by to say that the legislature shall not amend the Constitution without the consent of the people, that it is more essential to do it now because we are dealing with a question in this convention that is nearer to the hearts of the people of Alabama than any question that has claimed our attention for more than a quarter of a century. If the United States Supreme Court were to declare a single section of it unconstitutional, then what? We are thrown back then into the hands of the legislature, and say to them that for the first time in a half century, we propose to give into your hands the right to amend that defect in such a way as will meet your approval without submitting it to the people of Alabama for ratification. Now, sir, I have as much confidence in the legislators of Alabama as any man but I do not believe that we should leave this Constitution in such a condition that, by the remotest possibility, the legislature could ever have the right to create a section in this Constitution that tends to prevent any man from voting, or that prescribes his qualifications, without submitting it to the people for their ratification as this presents itself, if the contingency were to arise, and I hope, gentlemen of the Convention, that it never will. But, if the Supreme Court were to decide a single section of this instrument unconstitutional, and the legislature should meet and enact a law, we would be absolutely at their mercy. The time has never been in Alabama when the right of the people in this State to vote was ever left to the legislature of this State, or that the legislature was ever given the power to enact a clause in the Constitution without the sanction and approval of the people. I submit to you, gentlemen of the Convention, that if it has been necessary for half a century to throw those safeguards around them that today the necessity exists far more than ever before, because the people are awake to this question. The eyes of every citizen of Alabama are turned upon us, and when we go home to our people and ask them to ratify this Constitution, what will be the first question they will ask? It will be, will the suffrage clause in your Constitution stand the tests of the courts. We say we think it will, but we say we have provided a safety valve that if it does not stand the test, that if it is declared unconstitutional the legislature of the State has the right to remedy that defect and make a perfect Constitution. Do we remember that the people of Alabama when we asked the honor at their hands of representing them on the floor of this Convention, said to us: We demand of you that you


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pledge us that you will send back to us the instrument that this Convention makes for our approval. We gave them that assurance. We have lived up to it, but in every article sir that we send back to them for their approval– in the light of the fact that there are grave doubts in the minds of some men as to its constitutionality– I say in the very article the regard as most important that we send back to them for their endorsement, we have the provision that if perchance that article on the suffrage is wrong, we have turned you over to the people of Alabama in the Legislature, and have delegated to them the right to legislate and amend your Constitution and make it a perfect instrument, to comply with the requirements of the highest courts of this country. We have done more, we have provided that it may become operative without your approval. I submit to you that when you go home to your people and ask them to ratify this, they will ask you “Suppose there is a clause in this that is unconstitutional, shall the Legislature meet here and we be turned absolutely over to their mercy, and have nothing to do with what they say except to accept the situation and say no more?” I submit to you, gentlemen of the Convention that it is but fair and right to say if that contingency happens, submit back to the people the act of the Legislature. Are those members of the Legislature to be more trusted than the one hundred and fifty-five men that make up this Convention and the people with one accord rise up and ask us– demand of us– that we return to them the instrument we frame as the organic law, for their approval, and I submit to you are we to be less trusted than the Legislature. Are we to come here and say not withstanding this fact we will place it in the power of the Legislature to enact a suffrage law– a plan– by which the people of Alabama may be permitted or refused to vote? Are we to leave it absolutely at the mercy of the Legislature? I submit that it is unsafe and unwise, and I hope that the section with the amendment will be adopted.

Mr. Cobb sought recognition.

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery)– I have an amendment to the amendment.

THE PRESIDENT– The gentleman from Macon caught the eye of the Chair, does the gentleman yield to the amendment offered by the gentleman from Montgomery.

MR. COBB– Yes, sir.

The following amendment offered by Mr. Sanford of Montgomery was read:

Amend the amendment by adding the words "at an election expressly held for that purpose.”


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THE PRESIDENT The question will be upon the adoption of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Montgomery to the amendment offered by the gentleman from Tallapoosa to the section as reported by the committee.

MR. SORRELL I am willing to accept the amendment.

MR. COBB Without entering on anything like an argument on this question, it seems to me the gentleman from Tallapoosa is correct on the position he has assumed. This is the first time in the history of Alabama, and may be in the history of any State, when the power has ever been attempted to be conferred upon the Legislature to make a Constitution. The power contained in this section is the power to make a Constitution for Alabama. Suppose the courts should declare the whole instrument void, then what? Or suppose the courts should declare section after section void, on account of conflict with the Constitution of the United States, then what? Or in any event the Legislature of the State of Alabama can supply that deficiency, in other words, can make a Constitution in direct violation of that provision, which we will insert in this instrument, providing for the manner in which the Constitution itself shall be amended. A change in the organic law in the State of Alabama has never been permitted except by a direct vote of the people, either in Convention assembled. or in ratifying some amendment proposed by the Legislature, but in either event the views of the people must be heard upon the proposition to amend their organic law. I do not believe it is wise to depart from it in this instance, and I do not believe we should hesitate a moment to adopt the amendment proposed.

MR. DAVIS (Etowah) It seems to me the gentleman has an entire misconception of this section. I have tried to read it over carefully, and I cannot see what process of reasoning they can arrive at the conclusion that the Legislature has under its provisions become a fundamental law making body. It simply provides that in case this Constitution or any article of it shall be declared unconstitutional the Legislature can remedy the defect by a two-thirds majority vote. That is not making a Constitution. Whatever law they enact could be repealed by a subsequent Legislature.

MR. COBB Do you assert here that the meaning of this is that whatever the Legislature might do in supplying that deficiency, would he simply a legislative enactment?

MR. DAVIS I do.

MR. COBB And is not to become a part of the Constitution?

MR. DAVIS No, sir; most certainly I do not think it becomes a part of the Constitution.


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MR. COBB– If your view is correct– doesn’t it make the matter infinitely worse– wouldn’t you have Legislature after Legislature tinkering with the Constitution?

MR. DAVIS– I think, Mr. President, that the Legislature has been able to do some law-making in the past without having become a blot on the body politic, and I believe we can trust the Legislatures in the future to do some, especially when this safeguard of two-thirds majority vote in each house is required. I can see no danger arising from that situation. In fact, I think it makes it eminently safe, in view of the fact that this does not look like conferring the power to make a Constitution on the Legislature, and I , therefore, move to table the amendment.

MR. JENKINS– I will ask the gentleman to withdraw the motion.

MR. DAVIS- I will withdraw on condition you renew it.

MR. LOWE (Jefferson)– There is no man upon the floor in whose judgment I have a higher regard than the gentleman who has immediately preceded me, but this provision, Mr. President, it seems to me, is the very milk of the coconut. This provision means to confer upon the Legislature, to be assembled from year to year, the power to provide for the qualification of electors. Mr. President, if the gentlemen were are confident as their distinguished leaders have told us they were of the constitutionality of the provision that they submit to us, why would they have a provision here like this? Why would they say if they were sure that they were right– and they have told you that they are sure, and you cannot doubt that they believed at the time they told you they were sure, that they were sure– if they were confident of it, why would they put in a provision that conferred upon the General Assembly the right to prescribe the qualifications of voters? We declared before we came here that the result of our deliberations should be sent back to the people of their ratification, and yet you have a saving clause– the shrewdest suggestion in the whole plan ( I will never call it a scheme again) – the shrewdest suggestion in your whole plan is that when your plan has been declared unconstitutional, you will give to the General Assembly the right to prescribe the qualifications of voters and not send it back to the people; that is what id sone in Section 19. When your plan has been declared unconstitutional, and your distinguished lawyers get up before the people, they will have no other opportunity except to assail the court for fraud, or for not dealing fairly, and then your General Assembly will prescribe the qualifications for the voters of this State. Will the weigh on your consciences? Will that be a discharge of your duty when you have declared that the result of your deliberations should be submitted to the people? Will that clear the conscience of the delegates and each delegate of this Convention?


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And that is the proposition, Mr. President. The proposition is to make an election plan which, when declared unconstitutional, provides for the conferring upon the General Assembly of the power to make the qualifications of voter. Now, why do the majority here appeal for the previous question? Why do they constantly demand to cut off debate, and try to run over the minority horse foot and dragoons? There has not been a time in Alabama since 1861, when the majority of the white men in Alabama have not needed the minority of the white men in Alabama and that time is not coining. It is not in sight; yet, they will appeal for the previous question, and make motions to table, and deny the right of debate on these various provisions that come up.

Now, I ask the member of this Convention to consider that last provision Section 19 which is not only iniquitous in itself, but which throws light on the purpose of the whole plan. I do not want to be severe, I do not want to criticize the motives and purposes of my neighbors. I hope they are inclined to be as far and as honest, as I trust they will concede it is my purpose to be, and yet, standing here, I protest to you against this plan, and particularly against the nineteenth section of the plan.

MR. SANFORD (Montgomery) Could it be amended?

MR. LOWE (Jefferson) It can be amended, and should be amended or it should not be adopted. Now, why should I take this position? It is not because I am inspired simply by the pride of personal opinion. I have earnestly and anxiously, and I believe most of you will admit, worked to promote this Convention, to provide for fair elections, and yet right here this Convention is providing to perpetuate unfair elections in Alabama, and I shall continue to protest against it. I shall hold my opinion against the universal opinion of this Convention, when I see men around me today that I know to be the pink and flower of the Democracy of Alabama. When they almost universally decide one way, but I would be untrue and unfair to my constituents if I failed to protest against what I see in the plan, and, to my mind, which has been devoted, gentlemen of the Convention, to this matter of elections in Alabama for years, and to speak on this question, when I see in this plan a perpetuation of fraud in Alabama. I would be untrue to myself and to the people that sent nee here if I failed to protest against it. I think, Mr. President, that Section 19 should be amended. I think it should be stricken out. If the gentlemen who proposed the majority plan are satisfied with its constitutionality, why should they provide for a contingency of the courts deciding it unconstitutional. Give us a constitutional plan, a plan so plain and simple that the courts even could not be in any doubt about it. Give us a plan so plain that the common people can read it and interpret it and understand it, and which will not need the construction of your courts. Otherwise, gentlemen of the Con


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vention, our work here will have proved a failure, and disappointment to the people of Alabama. If you give them a plan for fair elections that needs the construction of your courts, you will have failed in the duty which the people sent you here to discharge.

THE PRESIDENT The time of the gentleman has expired.

MR. OATES– This is not a trivial question, but one which demands serious consideration. It is an innovation upon anything that we have had in Alabama. It has seemed to me all the time that it was, if otherwise free form objections, of doubtful propriety to be put in here. It seems to me that it advertises to the world an apprehension upon the part of this Convention that some other part of the Constitution may not stand the test of the court and may be overturned. The language is that if any part of it shall be held unconstitutional or inoperative by any court of competent jurisdiction, that then the Legislature shall be empowered to deal with it, and remedy the defect occasioned by such decision. A court of competent jurisdiction is not very definite. It is not as the gentleman who preceded me supposed, the Supreme Court of the United States. Some one suggests that a justice of the peace might pass upon it. That would scarcely be considered a court of competent jurisdiction, but our Circuit Court and our City Court, where the question may be raised as to the constitutionality of any clause in this instrument, would have the right to pass upon it. Then it will be subject to an appeal to the Supreme Court of Alabama, and might go on to the Supreme Court of the United States. Then, again, the illegality of the different clauses of the Constitution may be attacked before any of the courts of the United States. All of these are competent courts to pass upon this question. Now, sir, we attempt here to confer upon the Legislature the right to remedy the defect if one should come up by reason of the decision of the court, and it is not quite so broad as was supposed by my learned friend, the delegate from Macon.

MR. COBB– Was it or not the idea of the Committee that the action of the Legislature in the matter proposed here should become a part of the Constitution of Alabama– yes or no?

MR. OATES– In answer to that question, it anticipates just what I was entering upon in stating that I thought the delegate’s proposition was a little too broad. I do not think it would necessarily be enacting a clause of the Constitution. Though it would be an attempt to supply a defect in it, and I think that it is very questionable whether a Constitutional Convention can confer upon a legislative body to change or amend any part of the Constitution. This, for instance, provides that if one Section was declared to be inoperative and unconstitutional then the Legislature must supply it by some kind of legislation, possibly by a two-thirds vote, which is tantamount to making or remaking a clause of the Constitution so it would not be thus obnoxious. Now it is very ques-


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tionable in my mind whether this Convention would have any right to confer such a power as that upon the General Assembly.

MR. COBB Do you hold that the action of one Legislature under this provision could be repealed and revoked by a succeeding Legislature, or would it be subject to modification?

MR. OATES I doubt that, because the Constitution here authorizes the action.

MR. COBB It would not be subject to repeal or modification by the succeeding Legislature, would it?

MR. OATES That is a legal question

MR. COBB Let us deal fairly with each other, and then does not it become a part of the Constitution, and if it can be so repealed, are you not attempting to confer power upon the Legislature to disregard the Constitution, which is a limitation upon the power of that body.

MR. OATES I think if my friend will not consume any more of my time

MR. COBB They are pretty hard questions, I know.

MR. OATES This Section provides that upon any other section becoming inoperative by any subsequent adjudication of a court, the General Assembly shall have authority to remove the defects in like manner as there are herein provided. It is a sort of splicing, process that it attempted to be conferred. In the condition of my voice I cannot talk well, and I think the gentlemen understand it. While I would like to dwell upon it longer the hour is growing late, and I will conclude my remarks by moving to lay this Section on the table.

MR. WEATHERLY I move that we adjourn.

MR. OATES I move the previous question.

MR. O’NEAL I move we adjourn.

THE PRESIDENT The gentleman from Montgomery moves the previous question on the Section and amendment.

MR. WALKER I will ask the gentleman from Montgomery to withdraw that. The opponents of this Section have had the entire discussion, and those who favor it have not had an opportunity to present the question.

The motion was withdrawn.

MR. WALKER I move that we do now adjourn.

Upon a vote being taken the Convention adjourned.


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CORRECTION

Mr. Ashcraft is reported as saying:

We have also observed that the young man who has put forth energy and skill sufficient to have a capacity to read and write, although some of them had few opportunities, as a class, have the sense of responsibility which will insure a reasonable exercise of the elective franchise:

This report contains errors, he said:

We have also observed that the young men who put forth energy and skill sufficient to acquire the capacity to read and write, although some of them may be unworthy, as a class they have a sense of responsibility which will insure a reasonable exercise of the elective franchise.

In report of his remarks on July 31, 1901, Mr. O’Neal is reported as saying:

Now I say that if there was a man who deserted, let us throw over the man the broad mantle of charity and forgive. Then sentence is correct except the word forgive, which should be “forgiveness.”

Also, “What did he do when he deserted? Committed a crime against the laws of war, punishable with death, and to say that a man could have served honorably who deserted. The above sentence is incomplete. The sentence was as follows: “What did he do when he deserted? He committed a crime against the laws of war punishable with death, and to say that a man could have served honorably who had deserted would be to give no meaning, force or effect to the word ‘honorably.’”

Also the following sentence:

“The last words of the great Captain of the North.” The sentence was as follows : “In his last words– the great Captain of the North.”

The following corrections should be made in remarks of S. H. Dent on Wednesday, July 31:

It is really one of the curses of this country that we are afraid of it as I sometimes think. Begin the next word “When” with a capital letter. Strike out the period after “holy” and insert a comma, also strike out the period after the word “that.” Change “stretch” to “strip.” The sentence beginning with “We hear,” should be changed into “When I hear.” Strike out the period after the word “kept.” Change "if" in the sentence “if a man labors,” etc., into “when.”


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In proceedings of 58th day in remarks of Mr. Winn, should real as follows:

“In 1861 I enlisted “for the war” in the Barbour Grays, commanded by that splendid Virginia gentleman and brave Captain Eugene Blackford. now residing at Sudbrook Park., Md.”

__________

In the proceedings of the 59th day, note the following correction:

Mr. Reese is reported as saying “I believe if you were to go before the people as it is, I believe that it would create disgust among them.” What he did say was, “I believe if you were to go before the people as it is, I believe that it would create distrust.”

___________

In the remarks of Mr. Long in the proceedings of the 58th day the following sentences should have had quotation marks: “We will have softened ground and unrobed the spirit of party zeal and driven the bandit propensities skulking to their dens;” “a population of millions of immortal beings engrossed in a proportion far beyond and other in the world in the toils of agriculture, manufacturing and commerce,” and the closing words should be at last, at last danger's troubled night is o’er and the star of peace returned.”The words Missionary Ridge should be Cemetary Ridge. The remark as to timidity of capital, etc., is wrongly attributed to Mr. Jones of Montgomery.