Wednesday, May 22, 1901.
At 11 o'clock a. m. the Convention was called to order by Chief Justice McClellan in the following words: "Gentlemen, please be seated. The proceedings will be opened with prayer by the Rev. Dr. Patterson."
Dr. Patterson said: "Oh, Lord, God, our Heavenly Father; Thou who art the Maker of heaven and earth, and who doest Thy will among the armies of heaven and amongst the inhabitants of the earth, unto Thee we come this morning with prayer to Thee for guidance, for strength and for wisdom and for blessing. We acknowledge that Thou art King and Lord; that in Thy hands are the destinies of nations, and that Thou takest into Thy care the thoughts of the people; and we praise and bless Thee that Thou has assured us Thy interest and care over us is constant, and that Thou art more willing that souls should be blessed than we are willing even to receive blessings at Thy hands. We pray Thee, Heavenly Father, that Thou wilt cause Thy face to shine upon these Thy servants, who are met together from different parts of this State to engage in this undertaking which is before them, and we ask that Thou will give to them wisdom; that Thou will give to them clearness of mind, and especially that Thou
will give to them a sense of the responsibility resting upon them, and as they day by day meet for consultation and deliberation, may their minds and hearts, be so guided and controlled by Thy Holy Spirit as that the result of their labors will be of benefit to all the inhabitants and citizens of this State. We pray that Thou wilt restrain them from any unwise proceedings; that Thou wilt uphold them in all undertakings which are for the interest of the people, and that Thou wilt sustain all of their efforts to Thy name's honor and glory, and to Thee we shall give the praise, world without end . Amen."
The roll was here called.
CHIEF JUSTICE McCLELLAN - One hundred and fifty delegates have answered to their names. The business before the Convention this morning is the election of a temporary or permanent president as the Convention may desire.
MR. COLEMAN (Greene) - Mr. Chairman, as suggested by the Chair, I move that we proceed to a permanent organization at once, by the election of a permanent President of the Constitutional Convention of the State of Alabama; and I would put in nomination the name of the Honorable John B. Knox of Calhoun County.
Mr. Chairman, as there seems to be no opposition, I would move further that he be elected by acclamation, if I can secure a second.
MR. SANFORD (Montgomery) - I second the motion, Mr.Chairman.
CHIEF JUSTICE McCLELLAN - It is moved and seconded that the Convention proceed to the election of a permanent President, Mr. John B. Knox being put in nomination, the further motion is made that he be elected by acclamation.
The question was put and the Hon. John B. Knox was unanimously elected President of the Constitutional Convention.
THOMAS W. COLEMAN of Greene - Mr. Chairman, I move the appointment of a committee of three to notify Mr. Knox of his election.
The motion being duly seconded, was put and carried.
The Chairman appointed Hon. Thomas W. Coleman of Greene, Hon. William C. Oates of Montgomery, and Hon. Tennent Lomax of Montgomery to notify Mr. Knox of his election.
The committee escorted the newly-elected President to the Chair.
CHIEF JUSTICE McCLELLAN - Gentlemen of the Convention, I have the honor and pleasure of presenting to you the gen-
tleman whom you have elected to preside over your deliberations, the Honorable John B. Knox of Calhoun County.
MR. KNOX - Gentlemen of the Convention:
I thank you for the high honor you have conferred in electing me to preside over the deliberations of this Convention. Viewed from the standpoint of my profession, to which, up to this moment, my life's work has been devoted, it is a great honor, indeed; for I know of no higher honor that can be conferred upon a lawyer than to be made President of the Constitutional Convention, which represents the sovereignty of his people; and numbers among its delegates, in large part, the intellect and talent of the State - those who have in the past, and will in the future exert a potent influence in shaping and directing the affairs of the State.
In my judgment, the people of Alabama have been called upon to face no more important situation than now confronts us, unless it be when they, in 1861, stirred by the momentous issue of impending conflict between the North and the South, were forced to decide whether they would remain in or withdraw from the Union.
Then, as now, the negro was the prominent factor in the issue.
The Southern people, with this grave problem of the races to deal with, are face to face with a new epoch in Constitution-making, the difficulties of which are great, but which, if solved wisely, may bring rest and peace and happiness. If otherwise, it may leave us and our posterity continuously involved in race conflict, or what may be worse, subjected permanently to the baneful influences of the political conditions now prevailing in the State.
So long as the negro remains in insignificant minority, and votes the Republican ticket, our friends in the North tolerate him with complacency, but there is not a Northern State, and I might go further and say, there is not an intelligent white man in the North, not gangrened by sectional prejudice and hatred of the South who would consent for a single day to submit to negro rule.
If the negroes of the South should move in such numbers to the State of Massachusetts, or any other Northern State, as would enable them to elect the officers, levy the taxes, and control the government and policy of that State, I doubt not they would be met, in spirit, as the negro laborers from the South were met at the State line of Illinois, with bayonets, led by a Republican Governor, and firmly but emphatically informed that no quarter would be shown them in that territory.
One has studied the history of recent events to very little purpose who has failed to discover that race prejudice exists at the
North in as pronounced a form as at the South, and that the question of negro domination, when brought home, will arouse the same opposition in either section.
And what is it that we want to do? Why it is within the limits imposed by the Federal Constitution, to establish white supremacy in this State.
This is our problem, and we should be permitted to deal with it, unobstructed by outside influences, with a sense of our responsibilities as citizens and our duty to posterity.
Some of our Northern friends have ever exhibited an unwonted interest in our affairs. It was this interference on their part that provoked the most tremendous conflict of modern times; and there are not a few philanthropists in that section who are still uneasy lest we be permitted to govern ourselves and allowed to live up to the privileges of a free and sovereign people! Some of the same, in like missionary spirit, are greatly concerned about the condition of the Chinaman in China, but we do not find them appealing to Congress, or interfering with the local policy of California, a Northern State, for the protection of the Chinaman who is a resident there, or making any attempt to interfere with the right of that people to govern themselves, and to provide for a pure administration of government and for the protection of property.
If it is the negro who is the object of their solicitude, it would seem---not to speak of Africa itself--they would find an inviting field in Cuba and in our new acquisitions of Hawaii, Porto Rico and the Phillippines. The disinclination they exhibit to enter this field only serves to confirm the well grounded conviction in this section, that the point of their interference is not so much to elevate the black man as it is to humiliate the white man with whom they have been in antagonism.
But we may congratulate ourselves that this sectional feeling which has served to impair the harmony of our common country, and to limit the power and retard the development of the greatest government on earth, is fast yielding to reason.
While we may and do differ from him politically, there is not an enlightened and patriotic Southern man who fails to see that much of this result is due to the honorable and statesman-like policy of the present Chief Executive of these United States, who, by the consideration he has shown our section in many ways, notably in the Spanish-American war, and by refusing to lend his approval to any movement looking to the reduction of our representation in Congress or in the Electoral College, has shown himself capable of being President of the whole country and not merely one section of it and has been enabled to present the spectacle of a re-united country, and contributed much to place our government in the very front rank with the nations of the world.
The Southern man knows the negro, and the negro knows him. The only conflict which has, or is ever likely to arise, springs from the effort of ill-advised friends in the North to confer upon him, without previous training or preparation, places of power and responsibility, for which he is wholly unfitted, either by capacity or experience.
When it comes, however, to dealing with the negro, in domestic service, or in a business way, the Southerner is infinitely more indulgent to him than his Northern compatriot.
There came to us a well authenticated story from Kentucky, of an old darkey, who, after the war, influenced by the delusion that the only friends the negro had were in the North, wandered up into Illinois, hoping to find an easy fortune. But here he soon found that while the people had much to say to him about the evils of slavery, and the destiny of his race, every one with whom he did business held him to a strict accountability. Trained, as he was, to the slow movement of the mule in the Southern cornfield and the cotton patch, he could not handle the complicated machinery, or keep pace with the quicker methods of farming in the West, and so he was soon cast adrift. When he asked for help he was told to go to work, and so he wandered, foot-sore and weary, back through Indiana and Ohio until he reached again the old Southern plantation in Kentucky. Finding the planter comfortably seated upon his veranda, the old darkey approached, hat in hand, and asked for something to eat.
"Why, you damned black rascal, what are you stopping here for? Go into the kitchen and tell the cook to give you something to eat."
"Before God, Master," the old darkey said, grinning from ear to ear, "them's the sweetest wordy I'se heard since I left old Dixie."
The old man was home at last. He was among people who understood him, and whom he understood.
But if we would have white supremacy, we must establish it by law--not by force or fraud. If you teach your boy that it is right to buy a vote, it is an easy step for him to learn to use money to bribe or corrupt officials or trustees of any class. If you teach your boy that it is right to steal votes, it is an easy step for him to believe that it is right to steal whatever he may need or greatly desire. The results of such an influence will enter every branch of society, it will reach your bank cashiers, and affect positions of trust in every department; it will ultimately enter your courts, and affect the administrations of justice.
I submit it to the intelligent judgment of this Convention that there is no higher duty resting upon us, as citizens, and as delegates, than that which requires us to embody in the fundamental law such provisions as will enable us to protect the sanctity of the ballot in every portion of the State.
The justification for whatever manipulation of the ballot that has occurred in this State has been the menace of negro domination. After the war, by force of Federal bayonets, the negro was placed in control of every branch of our Government. Inspired and aided by unscrupulous white men, he wasted money, created debts, increased taxes until it threatened to amount to confiscation of our property. While in power, and within a few years, he increased our State debt from a nominal figure to nearly thirty million dollars. The right of revolution is always left to every people. Being prostrated by the effects of war, and unable to take up arms in their own defense, in some portions of this State, white men, greatly in the minority, it is said, resorted to strategemused their greater intellect to overcome the greater number of their black opponents. If so such a course might be warranted when considered as the right of revolution, and as an act of necessity for self-preservation. But a people cannot always live in a state of revolution. The time comes, when, if they would be free, happy and contented people, they must return to a Constitutional form of government, where law and order prevail, and where every citizen stands ready to stake his life and his honor to maintain it.
Upon the threshold of our deliberations. I will not undertake to indicate to you how you should solve this new and difficult question of Constitutional reform. At the outset of this movement, I ventured to suggest that delegates should be cautious in undertaking to define just what provisions would be or should be embodied in the Constitution; that the new Constitution, when made and placed before the people for ratification, would be and ought to be the result of the united action of the Convention; that if one came here with his mind made up and his Constitution in his pocket, he ,would hardly be in a fit condition to confer with his fellow-delegates on this important subject. I still hold this view. I fail to appreciate the idea of those who seem to think it the duty of the delegates to this Convention to write out and publish their views before the Convention meets. Under this plan, we would be liable to have as many constitutions as delegates. What the people want, in my judgment, is an earnest consideration of and consultation upon these important questions, so that the finished work will represent the united wisdom and experience of the Convention.
Mississippi is the pioneer State in this movement. In addition to the payment of a poll tax, there it is provided that only those
can vote who have been duly registered, and only those can register who can read, or understand when read to them, any clause in the Constitution. The decision as to who are sufficiently intelligent to meet the requirements of the understanding clause is exclusively in the hands of the registrars.
But to this plan, the objection has been urged with force that it perpetuates the very form of abuse which we are seeking to escape. Elections by managers or registrars is not what we want, our aim should be for a correction of all evils which threaten the purity of the ballot and the morals of the people.
The provisions adopted in South Carolina require the payment of the poll-tax assessed against him for the previous year six months before any election, and that the voter shall be duly registered. To be qualified for registration up to January 1st, 1898, voters must have been able to read a clause in the Constitution or understand or explain it when read by the registration officer; and all who register subsequent to that time must be able to both read and write any section of the Constitution, or else show ownership of property assessed at $300 or more, and the payment of all taxes assessed against him and collectable during the previous year.
In Louisiana and North Carolina, the methods of relief adopted are substantially the same, and require, in addition to the poll tax clause, that the voter shall register in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, and only those are authorized to register who are able to read and write any section of the Constitution in the English language, with the further provision, that no finale person who was, on January 1st, 1867, or at any time prior thereto, entitled to vote under the laws of any State in the United States, wherein he then resided, and no lineal descendant of any such person, shall be denied the right to register and vote at any election, by reason of his failure to possess the educational qualifications prescribed, provided he registers within the time limited by the terms of the Constitution, which, in Louisiana, is about six months, and in North Carolina, about eight years.
It is contended in defense of this provision, that while, in effect, it will exclude the great mass of ignorant negro voters it does not, in terms, exclude them, and applies generally to all classes of voters, without reference to their race, color or previous condition of servitude; that all negroes who were voters prior to January 1st, 1867, of whom, it is claimed, there were quite a number, could vote, and the descendants, whether slaves or not, of these free negroes were entitled to vote, and that these were quite numerous. And on the other hand, that white people born in other countries--emigrants, who cannot read and write, could not vote, nor could white people who were unable to vote in the State in which they lived prior to 1867, unless they were able to read and write. If it be said that this exception permits many more white
people to vote than negroes, the answer was that this would be equally true of any proper qualifications which might be proposed. It would be true of an educational qualification, and it would be true of a property qualification, the validity of which has never been questioned.
These provisions are justified in law and in morals, because it is said that the negro is not discriminated against on account of his race, but on account of his intellectual and moral condition. There is a difference, it is claimed with great force, between the uneducated white man and the ignorant negro. There is in the white man an inherited capacity for government, which is wholly wanting in the negro. Before the art of reading and writing was known, the ancestors of the Anglo-Saxon had established an orderly system of government, the basis in fact of the one under which we now live. That the negro on the other hand, is descended from a race lowest in intelligence and moral preceptitions of all the races of men. As was remarked by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Williams vs. Mississippi (170 U.S. 213), quoting the Supreme Court of Mississippi: "Restrained by the Federal Constitution from discriminating against the negro race, the Convention discriminates against its characteristics and the offense to which its criminal members are prone."
As stated by Judge Cooley, the right of suffrage is not a natural right, because it exists where it is allowed to be exercised only for the good of the State--to say that those whose participation in the affairs of the State would endanger and imperil the good of the State have nevertheless, the right to participate, is not only folly in itself, but it is to set the individual above the State.
The election laws in Massachusetts contain substantially the same provisions as are embodied in the Constitutions of Louisiana and North Carolina just referred to. The election law of that State, as it stands today, provides that the voter must be able to read the Constitution of the Commonwealth in the English language, and to write his name, except that "no person who is prevented from reading and writing as aforesaid, by physical disability, or who had the right to vote on the first day of May in the year 1857, shall, if otherwise qualified, be deprived of the right to vote by reason of not being able so to read or write."
While it is true that the provisions of this law do not extend to the descendants of the voter, yet it does not seem that on that account the principle involved would be affected.
The exception in the Massachusetts law was, no doubt, directed against illiterate and incompetent immigrants, whereas the provisions in the Constitutions of Louisiana and North Carolina
were directed against illiterate and incompetent negroes, as well as foreigners.
But it is beyond the province of courts, it is claimed, to inquire into the motives of the law-making power; their function is confined to ascertaining the meaning and effect of the law drawn in question. These views have been elaborated and ably defended by Mr. Semmes of Louisiana, and by Mr. Rountree and Senator Simmons of North Carolina, from whose able arguments I have greatly profited.
They find strong support in the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States, in the Mississippi case, where it is said "If weakness were to be taken advantage of, it was to be done within the field of permissible action, under the limitations imposed by the Federal Constitution, and the means of it were the alleged characteristics of the negro race, not the administration of the law by officers of the State. Besides, the operation of the Constitution and laws is not limited by their language or effect to one race. "--Williams vs. Mississippi, 170 U. S. III.
In Van Valkenberg vs. Brown, (13 Am. Rpts., 142), speaking of the limitation imposed upon the State by the recent amendments to the Federal Constitution, the Supreme Court of California says: "The mere power of the State to determine the class of inhabitants who may vote within her limits was not curtailed by the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fifteenth Amendment took away her power to discriminate against citizens of the United States on account of either race, color or previous condition of servitude, but the power of exclusion upon all other grounds remain intact.
Practically to the same effect is the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Minor vs. Happersett. 21 Wall.162.
The principle of inherited capacity is recognized even by the inspired Apostle, for you remember that Paul, in his epistle to Timothy, whom he was preparing to preach the glorious Gospel, refers to it even in the matter of faith, for he says: "I am persuaded that the unfeigned faith which dwelt in they grandmother Lois and in they mother Eunice dwells also in thee."
The great work before this Convention will be to study and carefully consider this question. It is for this purpose that so-many of the wise and conservative men of the State, including many of the ablest representatives of the bar, have been asked, for the time, to lay aside their business and the duties of an exacting profession, and consecrate to the service of the State all the talent, experience and ability they possess. I am not prepared to say whether or not this Convention will approve the form of relief which has been adopted in our sister States but I feel
confident that there is intelligence and ability enough here to settle this question to the satisfaction of our people. We have inaugurated the movement and we must succeed. It is not to be expected that a reform movement like this will meet with universal approval, but when your finished work is submitted, and you present, as I believe you will, a practical solution of the evil conditions under which we now live, it will be appreciated and accepted by our people.
There are other questions which might be considered, but to which I shall be able to give only a passing notice. In view of the fact that a large part of the State's bonded indebtedness will soon mature, it is important and necessary that some provision should be made for funding the indebtedness of the State. Very able lawyers have doubted if there be any authority in the State, under the present Constitution to fund the State's indebtedness. At the time of the adoption of the present Constitution the creation of debt on the part of the State, county and municipal authorities, had been abused to such an extent as to cause great alarm, and so the framers of the present Constitution, in their anxiety to curtail this evil, seem not to have provided as fully as might be for the payment or the funding of the State's indebtedness by the issuance of new bonds or obligations. The provision of the present Constitution on this subject is as follows
"After the ratification of this Constitution, no new debts shall be created against or incurred by this State or its authority, except to repel invasion or suppress insurrection, and then only by a concurrence of two-thirds of the members of each House of the General Assembly, and the vote shall be taken by yeas and nays and entered on the journal; and any act creating or incurring any new debt against this State, except as herein provided for, shall be absolutely void; provided, the Governor may be authorized to negotiate temporary loans never to exceed $100,000, to meet deficiencies in the Treasury; and until the same is paid, no new loan shall be negotiated; provided, further, that this section shall not be construed as to prevent the issuance of bonds in adjustment of existing State indebtedness."
The power to settle the State's then existing indebtedness has been exercised under the debt settlement acts, and a doubt has been raised whether, under the restrictive terms of the present Constitution, there be any power to issue new bonds to pay or fund the debt at its maturity.
There can be no doubt but that the State debt, under present conditions, can be funded at a greatly reduced rate of interest, and at such a rate as will save the State largely more than the cost of the holding of this Convention.
MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY INDEBTEDNESS
Then again, there is the question of the authority of county and municipal governments to create debts totally beyond the resources which must be looked to to provide payment. The framers of the present Constitution carefully stipulated a maximum rate of taxation, but made no provision against the creation of debt over and beyond the resources of the county or municipality. Consequently, improvident and unscrupulous officers have been able to impair the credit and fasten a load of debt upon cities and counties in different portions of the State, which has involved many of them in litigation and bankruptcy. Some just provision should be incorporated, limiting the power to create debt beyond the reasonable ability of the county or municipality to pay.
Then, again, there is the great question of education, which so vitally touches the interests of our people. I believe we should keep faithfully the pledges we have given not to increase taxation, but this should not deter us from making every effort to rid our State of the disgrace of its illiteracy. As Dr. Curry forcibly puts it, it will not do to say you are too poor to educate the people--you are too poor not to educate them.
Nothing has so retarded the rapid growth and development of our State as the absence of a well regulated system of public schools, so as to place within the reach of every child in the State, both rich and poor, the means of obtaining free of tuition fees, such instruction as will qualify him for the responsible duties of life.
The productive power of labor in Massachusetts is said to be nearly double that of the average for each inhabitant of the whole United States, and the reason assigned is the superior educational advantages she furnishes to her people.
You cannot expect skilled labor to enter our State, if by doing so their children are to be denied the means of a common school education. We must fight ignorance as we would fight malaria, for it is only by educating its people that a State can gain and maintain a proud position among the nations of the earth.
It has been urged in some quarters as a reason why this movement for a new Constitution should be defeated that we propose to adopt a suffrage plan which will offer to the negro an incentive to obtain an education, while the child of the white man will be without a like stimulus, because protected in his right to vote without regard to the density of his ignorance.
I do not understand that any delegate to the Convention is pledged to any such legislation. We are pledged, "not to deprive any white man of the right to vote," but this does not extend unless this Convention chooses to extend it beyond the right of
voters now living. It is a question worthy of careful consideration, whether we would be warranted in pursuing any course which would have a tendency to condemn any part of our population to a condition of perpetual illiteracy. Provisions of the Constitution prescribing educational qualifications for voters as they affect those who now have no right to vote but in the course of time will acquire the right are wisely intended to serve not as a curse, but as a noble stimulus to the acquirement of an education and to a proper preparation for meeting and discharging the duties of a citizen.
There is a strong reason why those who have fought the battles of the State - those who have been trained in the duties of citizenship, and possess character, judgment and intelligence which enables them to appreciate the responsibility it imposes, should not be denied the right to vote, even though they may lack the elements of and education, but it does not follow that it is to the interest of the State that the indulgence should be extended to the second generation - especially so when learning to read and write are within reach and so easy to obtain!
The States of Mississippi, South
Carolina, and Louisiana, in dealing with this great question,
have rightfully considered that the betterment of facilities for
securing an education for all the people was a necessary and essential
part of any just and wise scheme for the regulation of the right
of suffrage, and for the
purification of the ballot.
There are other matters of importance I might refer to, but I have already continued much longer than was intended. Your work is before you. The responsibilities it imposes are great, but I do not doubt that you will discharge them with courage and with fidelity. In my judgment it is better, far better, to have accomplished something for the permanent and everlasting good of your people than to possess any honor which the State can confer.
Abou Ben Adhem awakened from a dream, found an angel, writing in a book of gold the name of those whom love of God has blessed. "And is mine there?" he asked. But the angel answered, "Nay." "I pray thee, then," he said, "write me as one who loves his fellow men." The angel wrote and vanished. The next night it came again, with a great awakening light, and showed the names whom love of God had blessed. And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest."
THE PRESIDENT-The next business before the Convention will be the election of a Secretary.
MR.BROOKS -Mr. President, before proceedings to the election of a Secretary, I desire to submit a motion that the remarks of the Chair be spread upon the minutes, or on the journal,
in order that they may find a permanent place among the records of this Convention.
The motion being seconded, was put by Mr. Brooks and unanimously carried.
MR. ROBINSON--The Enabling Act does not provide for the subordinate officers of the Convention; therefore there will have to be some resolution creating those officers of this Convention.
MR. BULGER--Mr. President, I desire to offer a resolution.
The resolution was read by the Secretary:
Resolved, That the President appoint a committee, consisting of nine members, to be known and designated as a Committee on Rules, of which committee the President of the Convention shall be chairman.
MR. BULGER--I move the adoption of the resolution.
The motion was seconded.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers)--I would
like to amend that by saying two from each Congressional District.
I do not think that two from each Congressional District will
be too many, I move that as a substitute, or I would like to amend
the motion with the gentleman's consent, so as to read that two
shall be appointed
from each Congressional District instead of one.
MR. O'NEAL (Lauderdale)--I desire to offer a substitute resolution.
MR. LOMAX--I rise to a point of order. I submit that this Convention should complete its permanent organization before it proceeds to the consideration of any resolutions whatsoever.
THE PRESIDENT--In the opinion of the Chair the point of order is well taken.
MR. WEAKLEY--I desire to nominate for Secretary of this Convention Mr. Frank N. Julian of Colbert.
THE PRESIDENT--Mr. Colbert's Name is placed in nomination.
MR. deGRAFFENREID--I rise to a point of order. The act does not provide for a secretary. It says secretary or clerk, and I think that any nomination for any office will be out of order until this Convention determines what subordinate officers it shall have.
MR. ASHCRAFT--I desire to offer a resolution.
The resolution was read by the Secretary:
Resolved. That this Convention proceed with its further organization by the election of the following officers in the order named: Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Door Keeper, Assistant Door Keeper.
MR. SANFORD--I move to amend that resolution by adding Sergeant-at-arms.
MR. ASHCRAFT--This resolution, Mr. President, is in conformity with the action of the Democratic caucus of last night, and I therefore move it adoption.
The motion was seconded and the resolution unanimously adopted as read.
MR. WEAKLEY--I now nominate Mr. Frank N. Julian of Colbert for Secretary of this Convention.
THE PRESIDENT--The name of Mr. Frank N. Julian has been placed in nomination. Are there any other nominations?
MR. WEAKLY--I move that Mr. Julian be elected by acclamation.
MR. WATTS--I rise to a point of order. The present Constitution requires that all elections by those acting in a representative capacity shall be by viva voce vote.
THE PRESIDENT--In the opinion of the Chair that does not apply here. I overrule the point of order. The question is, upon the adoption of the motion to elect Mr. Julian by acclamation.
The question was put and carried unanimously and Mr. Frank N. Julian of Colbert declared elected Secretary of the Convention.
MR. LOMAX--For the office of Assistant Secretary of the Convention I place in nomination the name of Mr. W. F. Herbert of Montgomery.
THE PRESIDENT--The name of W. F. Herbert of Montgomery is placed in nomination for the office of Assistant Secrtary. Are there any other nominations?
MR. LOMAX--I move that Mr. Herbert be elected by acclamation.
The motion was seconded and carried unanimously, and Mr. Herbert declared elected Assistant Secretary of the Convention.
MR. GRAHAM (Talladega)--I desire to place in nomination Robert Hasson of Calhoun for Door Keeper, and move that he be elected by acclamation.
THE PRESIDENT--Mr. Hasson of Calhoun is placed in nomination for the office of doorkeeper. It is moved that he be elected by acclamation.
The motion was carried unanimously.
MR. SOLLIE--I place in nomination for the office of Assistant Door Keeper Mr. Thomas J. Fain of Dale, and move that he be elected by acclamation.
The motion was seconded.
THE PRESIDENT--The name of Mr. Thomas Fain has been placed in nomination for Assistant Door Keeper, and it is moved that he be elected by acclamation.
The motion was carried unanimously.
MR. SMITH (Mobile)--I have a resolution to offer.
The resolution was read by the Secretary:
Resolved. That the President appoint a committee on Rules, of nine members of which the President shall be the Chairman, to report the number of subordinate officers, manner of their selection, and their duties, the various standing committees, the order of business and the rules for the government of this Convention, and, until such rules are reported and adopted, the rules of the last House of Representatives, as far as applicable, shall govern.
MR. SMITH (Mobile)--I move the adoption of the resolution.
MR. JONES (Montgomery)--I move to strike out the last part of the resolution. We do not know what the rules of the House of Representatives are. They will get us in a tangle, and this committee will report in a day, and I think it will be better for the Convention to be governed by general parliamentary law, instead of the method proposed by the resolution.
MR. SMITH--I accept the motion to strike out the last portion of the resolution.
THE PRESIDENT--Those in favor of the adoption of the resolution as offered by the gentleman of Mobile as amended, will please say aye.
The resolution was adopted unanimously.
MR. BROWNE--I desire to offer a resolution.
The Secretary read the resolution:
Resolved. That until the report of the Committee on Rules, all resolutions shall be referred without debate to proper committees when raised.
MR. BROWNE--Mr. President, there will be some minor resolutions and motions which will be necessary to be passed without being referred. But, in every such instance the party making the motion of offering the resolution, can move to suspend
the rules and pass the resolution at once, such as a resolution providing for the seating of members, etc. I therefore move the adoption of the resolution.
Motion seconded, and carried unanimously.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers)--Mr. President, I move that a committee of nine, one from each Congressional District, be appointed on the arrangement of seats, and the seating of the delegates.
THE PRESIDENT--It is moved that a committee of one from each Congressional District be appointed for seating the delegates.
MR. BLACKWELL--I move as a substitute the following resolution in regard to seating.
The Secretary read the resolution:
Resolved. That in order to equitably assign the delegates seats in this Convention, that the names of all delegates be placed in a hat, and that one of the pages be blindfolded and draw out one at a time the names from the hat, and that the Secretary immediately read the name so drawn, and that the party whose name is read at once select his seat, and after all seats are so drawn, delegates shall have the right to exchange seats, if they so desire.
The motion was seconded.
A vote being taken, the substitute was adopted unanimously.
PRESIDENT--The question is now on the adoption of the original proposition as amended by the adoption of the substitute. Those in favor of the adoption of the original resolution as amended will say aye--
MR. BROWNE--I rise to a point of order. That resolution cannot be put, except on a suspension of the rules. There has been a rule just adopted that all resolutions--
THE PRESIDENT--The point of order is too late. Those opposed say no. The ayes have it, and the resolution is adopted.
MR. SMITH (Mobile)--I move that this Convention adjourn until tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock.
MR. OATES--I will ask the gentleman from Mobile to withdraw the motion for a moment.
MR. SMITH--I withdraw the motion for a moment.
MR. SANFORD--I desire to offer a resolution, that the Convention will entertain no motion--
THE PRESIDENT--Does the gentleman from Mobile withdraw his motion to adjourn?
MR. SMITH (Mobile)--I understood it was to swear in the officers and not for the purpose of considering further resolutions that the request was made.
MR. OATES--I think if the gentleman hears the resolution he would have no objection.
THE PRESIDENT--Does the gentleman withdraw his motion to adjourn?
MR. SMITH (Mobile)--No, sir.
THE PRESIDENT--The gentleman from Mobile declines to withdraw his motion. The gentleman from Montgomery is out of order.
The motion to adjourn was put, and declared lost.
MR. OATES--I now offer a resolution.
The resolution was read by the Secretary:
Resolved. That a special committee of nine members be appointed by the Chair to take into consideration the advisability of contracting with an expert stenographer to report the proceedings of this Convention in full, and the necessary cost thereof and report the same to the Convention at the beginning of tomorrow's session.
THE PRESIDENT--The question is on the adoption of the motion offered by the gentleman from Montgomery.
MR. SMITH (Mobile)--I rise to a point of order. This will have to be referred to a committee.
THE PRESIDENT--The points of order is well taken.
MR. SANFORD--I offer this resolution in order to avoid an accumulation of a mass of papers that may be lost on the Secretary's desk
Resolved. That the Convention will entertain no motion, resolution or ordinance having for its object the revision or amendment of the Constitution until the committees are appointed by the President.
THE PRESIDENT--The question is on the adoption of the resolution offered by the gentleman from Montgomery.
A DELEGATE--A point of order. It goes to the Committee on Rules.
THE PRESIDENT--I sustain the point.
MR. OATES--Mr. President the gentleman will certainly see the importance of immediate action on the resolution I offered, if it is going to be favorably acted upon at all. Therefore, I move to suspend the rules, and act upon that resolution at once.
THE PRESIDENT--It is moved by the gentleman from Montgomery that the rules be suspended and that action be taken upon his resolution at once, without reference to the Committee on Rules.
MR. BULGER--I ask the reading of the resolution.
The resolution was read by the Secretary:
Resolved. That a special committee of nine members be appointed by the Chair to take into consideration the advisability of contracting with an expert stenographer to report the proceedings of this Convention in full, and the necessary cost thereof, and report the same to the Convention at the beginning of tomorrow's session.
THE PRESIDENT--The question will be upon the motion of the gentleman from Montgomery to suspend the rules and put the resolution on its immediate passage.
MR. BULGER--It looks to me, Mr. President, that this is the resolution of all the resolutions offered here, that should be well considered by the Committee on Rules. It seems to me that that resolution should not go--
MR. WHITE--I make the point of order, Mr. President, that a motion to suspend the rules is not debatable.
THE PRESIDENT--The point is well taken. The question is on the motion of the gentleman from Montgomery to suspend the rules--
MR. LONG (Walker)--I wish to give notice that I will move to reconsider the motion at the next session of this Convention, offered by the gentleman from Morgan, (Mr. Blackwell.) I shall do so because it makes a gamble out of these seats; it ignores old Democrats that have been in the service of the party for years, and it gives Populists and Republicans a chance to take any seat in this House. I shall move to reconsider that at the next meeting.
THE PRESIDENT--The question is on the adoption of the motion of the gentleman from Montgomery to suspend the rules, and place on passage the resolution that has been read in your hearing.
MR. BULGER--I rise to a parliamentary inquiry. What vote does it require to suspend the rules of this Convention?
THE PRESIDENT--The chair would rule that it requires a two-thirds vote.
MR. LOMAX--We are acting under general parliamentary law.
THE PRESIDENT--There is a conflict in the authorities. Mr. Cussing seems to hold that it requires unanimous consent, but the other authorities hold that it requires a two-thirds vote. I think the general practice is to require a two-thirds vote.
The question being put, a division was called for, and resulted, yeas, 98 ; nays, 18.
So the motion was carried.
THE PRESIDENT--The question will be on the adoption of the motion of the gentleman from Montgomery. Those in favor of the adoption of this resolution will please say aye.
The motion was carried unanimously.
MR., EYSTER--I move, before proceeding any further, that the officers elected by this Convention be now sworn in.
The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
MR. BROOKS--I desire to call attention to the fact that the journal of yesterday has not been read. It should be read or a motion made to dispense with the reading.
THE CHAIR--The journal will be read immediately after the officers are sworn in.
The officers were here sworn in.
MR. BROWNE--I move that we dispense with the reading of the journal of yesterday.
MR. HEFLIN (Chambers)--It is very short.
THE PRESIDENT--The question is on the motion to dispense with the reading of the journal of yesterday.
MR. REESE--I rise to an inquiry. Is it not necessary that the President of this Convention should be sworn in as President of the Convention in addition to have been sworn in as a member?
THE PRESIDENT--I have not examined the provisions of the act, but I should think not. Unless the gentleman calls my attention to some provision in the act requiring it, I would rule that it is not necessary.
MR. REESE--My information is that it was done in the last Convention.
MR. SANFORD--I rise to a point of information. It is ruled that all resolutions should be submitted to the Committee on Rules; the rules have been suspended; now do those resolutions which were referred to that committee before the rules were suspended, are they now up for consideration or not?
THE PRESIDENT--The rules are suspended only for the purpose of placing on its passage the resolution offered by the gentleman from Montgomery. The clerk will please read the journal.
The journal of yesterday was read by the Secretary, and approved.
MR. HOWELL--I move that the rules be suspended and that this resolution be put on its passage.
The Secretary read the resolution:
Resolved. That a committee of three be appointed by the Chair to wait on the clergymen of this city and invite them to lead religious service at the opening of the morning sessions of this body.
MR. WHITE--I move the suspension of the rules and that the resolution be passed.
A vote being taken the rules were suspended and a further vote being taken the resolution was adopted.
MR. deGRAFFENREID--I move that the Convention adjourn until tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock.
MR. DENT--Before that is done, I ask indefinite leave of absence for the member from Barbour, Mr. Jere N. Williams, who is called home on account of the serious illness of his grandchild.
The leave was granted.
MR. LONG (Walker)--It has been suggested that my motion to reconsider the vote by which the motion made by the gentleman from Morgan was adopted, which makes the seats in this house a lottery, irrespective of Congressional Districts?
THE PRESIDENT--Let me state the question before debate. The question is on the motion of the gentleman from Walker to reconsider the vote by which the resolution of the gentleman from Morgan was adopted, providing for the distribution of the seats in this Convention.
A reading of the resolution was called for, and the resolution was again read.
MR. LONG (Walker)--That resolution is plain. It separates the members from the counties as well as the members from the Congressional Districts. It gives to the Populists and Republi-
cans a chance to select the best seats in the House. This is a Democratic House and a Democratic measure.
MR. FITTS--I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT--The gentleman will state his point of order.
MR. FITTS--Under general parliamentary law, a motion to reconsider can only be made before other business. Business has intervened and this is out of order.
MR. LONG (Walker)--I gave notice that I would make that motion.
MR. FITTS--The proper time to make the motion was then; but now business has intervened, and it is out of order.
MR. LONG--I ask a ruling.
THE PRESIDENT--The Chair is inclined to think that the gentleman from Walker is out of order.
MR. BLACKWELL--I rise to a point of order.
THE PRESIDENT--The gentleman will state the point.
MR. BLACKWELL--The gentleman did not vote for the original resolution when it was adopted.
MR. LONG-- I make the point of order that he does not know what he is talking about. Besides, then was the time he should have made his point of order; and I ask the President to rule him out of order.
THE PRESIDENT--Did the gentleman vote for the resolution?
MR. LONG--I don't know that I should be challenged on that. I make the point that then was the time to make the challenge.
THE PRESIDENT--I think the challenge does come too late, after the Chair has stated the question to the Convention, and the gentleman from Walker will proceed.
MR. LONG--It would be an injustice to many gray-haired delegates to adopt that resolution. It is a slap at the church to turn this Convention into a gambling association the first day we meet. If we are going to turn this into a gamble, I think we had better shoot craps for the seats. The Democrats have won the victory and they are entitled to the advantages of the seats in the House. I think it would be wise to reconsider that proposition and let one or two from each ongressional District be appointed by the Chair and I take it that it would be wise for the Chair to select the oldest Democrats to select these seats. The oldest Demo-
crats in it should have the best seats, and I move a reconsideration of the vote by which the motion of the gentleman from Morgan was carried, and on that I call for the previous question.
THE PRESIDENT--The previous question is moved. The question is whether the main question shall be put.
MR. WHITE--The call for the previous question has not been sustained, and I submit that while this may appear to be a matter of little--
MR. LONG--I rise to a point of order. The previous question has been called and it is the duty of the Chair to put that question before there is any other argument made, pro or con.
MR. WHITE--But the call has not been sustained.
THE PRESIDENT--I think the point of order is well taken.
MR. WILSON (Clarke)--There is no special rule providing for the previous question. In the absence of a rule calling for the previous question, the previous question is out of order.
THE PRESIDENT--The Chair will over-rule the point of the gentleman from Clarke, and the question is shall the main question be put.
MR. WHITE--Can't I speak to this question.
THE PRESIDENT--The question is not debatable.
MR. WHITE--Then I hope the previous question will be not ordered, and I move to indefinitely postpone it.
MR. BROOKS--I rise to a point of order. A motion cannot be made to indefinitely postpone a call for the previous question.
THE PRESIDENT--The point of order is well taken.
A vote was then taken and on a call for a division the result was announced: Yeas, 51; nays, 62.
So the motion was lost.
The Chair then recognized Mr. White.
MR. WHITE--This proceeding, as I was going to say, is a matter of little concern, but as I understand it, we are here, not as partisans, but are here representing the people of Alabama. (Applause) And the question of the adoption of what we do must be submitted to the people of Alabama, and if our proceedings on the first day of our organization are characterized by partisanship and injustice, how can we expect the people of Alabama to think well of and ratify what we do?
And now we are told that the resolution which has been adopted should be reconsidered, because it is a lottery. I deny,
Mr. President, that there is anything immoral or improper in the selection of seats by lot. If there were I would be one of the last men in this Convention to stand by it and sustain it. In Congress the seats are selected by lot. We have that splendid example beginning with the formation of our government and extending down to the present time. In nearly all of the States of the Union, seats in their legislative bodies are selected by lot, and we have that to justify our conduct. Upon our own statutes, where men are running for office under the laws of Alabama when they tie, it is provided that it shall be decided by lot. So that the proposition is sanctified by law, and the law of Alabama at that.
Now, Mr. President, and gentlemen of the Convention, about the other matter.
MR. OATES--Will my friend allow me to suggest that this is the plan that prevails in Congress, and has prevailed for one hundred years.
MR. WHITE--I understand that, but I could not say it like the gentleman from Montgomery.
We are told today that some scheme must be arranged by which delegates elected to seats upon this floor must be discriminated against because they belong to a party other than our own.
For one, I confess that I am a partisan; but I am not such a partisan as that. One delegate elected to this Convention has the same rights upon this floor that every other delegate has. He ought to be given the same opportunities and the same advantages to represent his constituency that every other delegate has. For one, I am not ready now to insult or to discriminate against any delegate upon the floor of this Convention and I am not ready to insult or to discriminate against the constituency behind him. They are Alabamians and they have interests and rights, and these delegates are here to reflect their will and protect their rights, and they have a right to be heard with equal advantages and with equal opportunities with the rest of us.
I want, Mr. President, when we have finished the Constitution, that Populists and Republicans and all may welcome and vote for it.
Mr. President, if I had my way, and it were controlled by my voice or by my vote, I would not adopt a Constitution for Alabama that would perpetuate indefinitely the partisan rule of any party. We are not looking forward to the interests or to the welfare of any political organization; but we are looking forward to the development and the growth and glory of Alabama as a State. (Applause.) While I love the Democratic party, while I have faced the front in its ranks from the days of my boyhood until now, while I expect to fight its battles while I live, I love my country better than I do my party. A party with me is but the implement
by which great ends can be accomplished. I do not believe it should ever become my master, and I its slave. And I say, Mr. President, if this resolution is adopted, backed by the speech of my friend--my good friend from Walker, in whose fields I labor and labor not in vain--if that resolution is adopted. I can say to you "Farewell to every Republican vote in Alabama looking to its ratification." You can say farewell to every Populist vote in Alabama looking to its ratification.
I know something of the task we had to perform in securing the holding of this Convention, and I can see something of the duties, the responsibilities, the labors and the uncertainties that will confront us in its adoption if we undertake by any such partisan methods as this to deny upon the floor of this Convention equal rights and equal opportunities to every delegate upon this floor, and I hope, Mr. President, that the resolution of the gentleman from Walker to reconsider the vote will be laid upon the table, which motion I now make.
MR. LONG--As the mover of the resolution, I have a right to conclude.
THE PRESIDENT--A motion to lay on the table is not debatable.
MR. LONG -- I ask the gentleman from Jefferson to withdraw it. He is certainly not afraid of a discussion of this question before the house.
THE PRESIDENT--A motion to lay on the table is not debatable.
MR. LONG--I ask the gentleman from Jefferson to withdraw it. He is certainly not afraid of a discussion of this question before the house.
MR. WHITE--My brother, I would like to do it--
MR. LONG--Oh, don't do it if you don't want to.
MR. WHITE--On your account I would do almost anything, but I do not think it is conducive to the best interests of the people of Alabama or to the high standing of this Convention, that this discussion along these lines should proceed. (Applause).
THE PRESIDENT--The question is on the motion of the gentleman from Jefferson to lay on the table the motion of the gentleman from Walker.
MR. LONG--I want to see how many of the members of this House are in favor of gag law on a question of this kind. If this is an insult to the Republicans, they have been insulted ever since the Democratic party came into power in this hall in 1874.
THE PRESIDENT--The gentleman is out of order.
A DELEGATE -- One delegate can't demand a roll call.
THE PRESIDENT -- The Chair knows of no general parliamentary rule that requires any particular number of votes. In the absence of some special rule to sustain a call for an aye and no vote I think the rule is that any member may call for it, and the Secretary will call the roll.
MR. BURNETT -- I would like for the Chair to state the question.
THE PRESIDENT -- The gentleman from Walker moved to reconsider the vote by which the resolution offered by the gentleman from Morgan was adopted, and now the gentleman from Jefferson moves to lay that motion on the table, and a yea and nay vote is demanded.
The roll being called resulted as follows:
|Messrs. President,||Graham, of Talladega,||Murphree,|
|Almon,||Greer, of Calhoun,||Norman,|
|Browne,||Jones, of Hale,||Parker (Cullman),|
|Bulger,||Jones, of Wilcox,||Parker (Elmore)|
|Carmichael, of Colbert,||Leigh,||Pillans,|
|Carmichael, of Coffee,||Locklin,||Pitts,|
|Cunningham,||Lowe (Lawrence),||Reynolds (Chilton),|
|deGraffenreid,||McMillan (Baldwin),||Rogers (Lowndes),|
|Fitts,||Merrill,||Smith, Mac. A.,|
|Foshee,||Miller (Marengo),||Smith, Morgan M.,|
|Bethune,||Graham, of Montgomery,||Long (Walker),|
|Cardon,||Greer, of Perry,||Robinson,|
|Cobb,||Heflin, of Chambers,||Sanford,|
|Coleman, of Greene,||Heflin, of Randolph,||Searcy,|
|Coleman, of Walker,||Hood,||Selheimer,|
|Davis, of DeKalb,||Jenkins,||Tayloe,|
|Davis, of Etowah,||Jones, of Bibb,||Watts,|
|Duke,||Jones, of Montgomery,||Willett,|
|Bartlett,||Lowe (Jefferson),||Smith (Mobile),|
So the motion to table prevailed.
During the roll call.
MR. JONES (Montgomery) -- I vote "no" simply from the fact that I think my friend from Walker ought to have a chance to be heard. Otherwise I would vote aye.
MR. WILLIAMS (Marengo) -- I vote "no" but it is not indicative of my feelings. I think, though, that this is an open question, and this is as good a time to discuss it as any. Therefore, I vote no.
MR. BURNS -- I ask leave to explain my vote.
The leave is given.
MR. BURNS -- I was heartily in favor of the resolution to reconsider, but on account of reason assigned for it, I shall vote aye.
MR. deGRAFFENREID -- I move to adjourn until tomorrow at 11 o'clock.
Cries of "Seats."
MR. LONG (Walker)--The resolution under which those seats are to be drawn provided for a page to be selected by the President. This Convention is without pages, and how can we do that until pages or a page is selected?
A vote being taken on the question to adjourn and a division being asked the vote resulted, yeas, 57; nays, 65. And the Convention refused to adjourn.
MR. BLACKWELL--I now move that the Convention proceed with the business of selecting seats.
MR. LONG (Walker)--I suggest that you send out and get a deck of cards and let the Chaplain deal out the cards and the high spade get the choice.
MR. LOWE (Lawrence)--I don't understand how we can possibly proceed now.
A DELEGATE--The President can appoint a boy to act as page.
MR. BURNETT--I rise to a point of order. There is other business before the Convention. The motion of the gentleman from Montgomery to appoint a Committee of nine was carried. The President has not appointed that committee. Then there was the motion to appoint two members from each Congressional District on the Committee on Rules. That is the next business in order.
THE PRESIDENT--The Chair is not ready to announce those committees, and the point is well taken.
MR. CUNNINGHAM--The question of seating is very important. The names have to be written and put into a hat and there are many delegates absent, not knowing that this important business was to come up. I therefore move that the selection of the seats be made a special order immediately after the reading of the journal tomorrow morning and in the meantime the Secretary can prepare the names and the Door Keeper number the seats.
THE PRESIDENT--The gentleman from Jefferson moves as a substitute that this be made a special order the distribution of seats--immediately after the reading of the Journal tomorrow morning.
MR. OATES--It is not necessary to go to the trouble of numbering the seats. When the name of a delegate is drawn, it can be pasted on the seat.
MR. CUNNINGHAM--I withdraw that part of the motion then.
MR. OATES--I am in favor of the motion, but I merely want to say that much because the gentle man did not seem to exactly
understand the method. The seats will be vacated and when a gentleman's name is called he will be allowed to go and select any seat not occupied and his name will be put on it.
A vote being taken, the motion was carried.
On motion of Mr. Proctor, the Convention then adjourned until tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock.