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viction of its truth, that while a few misguided and deluded people, perhaps unconscious of the illegal ground on which they tread, are disposed to raise excitement out of this question, the great body of the intelligent of the community, are free to admit, and openly act upon the admission, that it is a subject, which, whether fraught with good or evil consequences, is peculiarly our own, and with which, rightfully they have nothing to do. We are bound to be . lieve the declaration, for being frankly offered, it would be practised and manifest injustice, to do otherwise. We should confide in it moreover, in as much as self-interest, a motive which ever has controlled and governed all mankind, affords an abundant guarantee, that they are sincere, and that their declarations are offered in good faith.When it is borne in mind that the largest portion of our exports are the product of slave labour, and that the abstraction of it, would sensibly affec: the mercantile, the navigating, and manufacturing portion of the community, none can believe, that more than ourselves, they would be disposed to throw away, for imaginary conscience sake, those valuable agricultural products which are reared by the slaveholders of the Souih.
Yet notwithstanding, all these well grounded and just expectations, vigilance and a firm reliance in behalf of our acknowledged rights, should be regarded and maintained, that if insurrection come, resting and depending on ourselves, we may be prepared to meet the conflict, and to work out our own security. Already from this source, and from this cause, mischiefs have arisen, which are greatly to be deplored. Under a high state of excitement, and to restrain what was perceived to be an increasing and encouraged evil, individuals have associated, taken the law into their own hands, and inflicted summary and severe justice, in despite of the civil authority. I need not say to you, how objectionable and hazardous, is a resert like this : and how, if it be tolerated, the innocent and the guilty may alike become victims to the code.
If our statutes be not sufficiently broad to meet and put down those busy meddlers, who for the sake of humanity, would rouse the slave to rebellion and ruin, it is surely within the range of our mental faculties to prescribe a mode of punishment correspondent to their high offences; and if we cannot do so, then it is better to bear the ills complained of, grievious as they may be, than permit any individual power to grasp in his hands the authority and majesty of the law. To say nothing of the wrong done,---of the outrage committed, or the deep wound inflicted on a country, which fails to protect its citizens, the admission of such a course, or an acquiescence in it, corrupts the feelings ; and must necessarily impair the dignity and character of our institutions. To your judgment is submitted then, the task of providing a remedy with prompt and severe penalties, against any who shall trample on the laws and undertake to constitute themselves umpires between the country and its citizens.
It is advisable also to inhibit any postmaster withir this Territory, or other persons from delivering out of his of. fice, or from forwarding therefrom, exciting incendiary papers, knowing them to be such; and to place under severe penalties, any, who for malicious purposes, and with intent to excite to revolt, shall distribute papers, or hold conversations having such tendency. Should Congress think there is wanting in this Territory a right to interfere with the Post Office Department, they can repeal the law; but such an apprehension need not prevent the action of the Legislative Council, and should not prevent it.--It is but a doubtful exercise of power, and if ascertained to be wrong, the corrective can be had elsewhere than here,
Those charters which have been granted for the purpose of constructing Rail-roads, demand from you some further consideration. Roads of this description occasion despatch, which no other mode of conveying intelligence can equal. Being in the hands of chartered companies, none others can obtain the facilities they afford, without permission from the owners, which will never be given : hence, whenever important information such as may affect the price of staple articles, is at hand, those companies will be the first to receive and obtain the benefits of it. Does some passenger hurry rapidly from the North, with a view to the same object, speculation-some pretext or plan, can be easily arranged to delay him in his progress, and hurry the information in advance of him. It is surmised, that the Postmaster General through the exercise of official Power, possesses a right to compel all Rail-read owners to carry the mails along their lives, at a price which may be considered equitable. It is a subject on which no opioion, by me, will be obtruded. I feel confi. dent, though, as to the Rail-roads in Florida, that so far as the construction, and even location is concerned, nothing has been done, and of course the infringement of no vested right and interest can be asserted. islature may amend the privileges which they have granted, and compel the mails to be conveyed, after some equitable mode, for example, at a price per mile not greater than may be paid for carrying it in post coaches. The necessity for this is obvious, in as much as it will place the entire community on an equal footing; and deprive the
few of the opportunity of speculating on the many. It is material also, that provision be made to prohibit exhorbiant demands being made upon the Government for transporting troops, arms, and munitions of war, in cases of insurrection, rebellion, or threatened invasion. There is nothing in the shape of monopoly, which so well recommends itself to favorable cor.sideration as the constructing of Rail-roads. Towards them a liberal spirit should be entertained, as their tendancy is to aid and assist com. merce and agriculture ; and cause the community at large to participate in the many advantages they dispense, But while benefits so important are produced, care ought to be taken to guard against those inconveniences which are suggested to you; and as they were overlooked at your last session, they are recommended to your consideration now, under an entertained confidence that you possess au. thority over the subject.
By the charter authorising a road from Pensacola to Columbus, as will be seen by reference to the act, it is provided, that it shall be run from, or to the “ waters of Pensacola Bay." This is quite an indefinite term, and affords, as regards the termination of the road, a large extent and range of the Bay. In the town many persons own property, the value of which will be materially injured, should the company terminate their line of consti uction at some point above it. This should not be permitted. It would not be right, I admit, to compel them to carry their improvements to a point where their judgment might not approve, but in justice to the rights of those who reside in the city, the privilege should be authorised, through an amendn.ent of the charter, that, if desired, the corporate authorities of Pensacola, or individuals who may wish it, shall be at liberty to connect a road from where the company terminates theirs, to Pensacola, at the expense of the company. There is no imposed injustice in this. By the provisions of the charter, the Territory is to advance certificates to the amount of ten thousand dollars, for each mile of road that may be completed. It is to be constructed then, upon the credit and faith of the Territory, and of course, the citizens to be affected, have cause to demand, nay, a right to demand, that their interest and property be not destroyed by this contemplated improvement. One of the reasons which last year was urged in favor of granting the charter, was, that it would greatly benefit the town; but without this amendment it must be materially injured.
A perplexing subject of Legislation heretofore most charitably and unlimittedly entertained by the Council, was at the last session disposed of, and I hope finally. Much of your time, in past periods, was occupied in receiving petitions and granting divorces, until your Legislative Chamber promised to become the rendevouz of nemerous complaints from those, who not being citizens of the Territory, could rightfully assert no claim to your indulgence. That you permitted it, is ainple proof of a liberal and generous, and commendable feeling. But the enlarged act passed by you, which concedes to the Superior Courts, a right to take jurisdiction of all such matters, should now exclude from your deliberations all enquiries of the kind, unless it shall be intended to assert for the Courts and for the Council concurrent jurisdiction. Such applications ought now to be refused, unless it be one, the particulars of which may not be embraced in the law.
Wherever a statute is in force, the provisions of which are calculated to meet the exigencies of particular cases, matters coming within its range and scope, ought there to be referred. To pursue a different course, will be to render superfluous the law, and occasion imporlant decisions to be made upon ex parte testimony, to the injury of persons who may have no notice, no information of the enquiry. While none should be the advocate for retaining incongruous hearts in bondage to each other, care should be taken least the door for separation be so widely opened, that all the endearing ties of such associations, may be rent assunder, as satiety shall suggest, or caprice demand. To the Courts, all matters of this description have been referred, and there ought they to be permitted to remain, undisturbe ed by any concurrent legislative action.
The state and condition of the fiscal concerns of the Territory, will appear by the Auditor's Report, which will shortly be laid before you. Since your last meeting, the amount received has materially improved ; and hopes are entertained, that with care and vigilance, and a bestowed attention on your part to the collection of the Revenue, still further advantages may accrue.
It is a subject, permit me to say, which should engage your early attention, that some more accurate system may be devised and matured. To collect from the people not more than can be disposed of, under a useful, necessary and economical disbursement, is a mean whereby to render the governed contented and prosperous ; and cause them to be satisfied with those who may have the care and management of their affairs. Reasonable demands they are a'ways wil. ling to meet, and a proper and fair disbursement of their funds they have a right to expect and to require from their agents in return.
As yet you have no jails, or very insufficient ones, consequently heavy expenses to the Treasury are incurred in rendering compensation to guards. I submit to you, if
some measures should not be adopted to remedy this condition of things, by authorising the County Courts to impose a sufficient tax for the purpose, and by compelling them to construct edifices of this description so soon as a sufficient amount can be raised to effect the object.
By resolutions passed at the last session, two duties were assigned to the Executive, the one discretionary, the other imperative.--Neither have been performed.
The first anticipated that the revised code of laws would be ready for delivery by the month of August, and a bond to that effect was given by the compiler. In the event of failure, it was placed at the discretion of the Governor to institute a suit and give the work for comple!ion into other hands. Indulging a hope that the compilation would certainly be ready for delivery by the day of your meeting, and being desirous to avoid any such resort as the resolution contemplated, the discretion which you assigned, was forborne to be exercised. I regret to say the work is not yet ready. The imperative direction given, was to appoint Commissioners to seek some situation for the Seat of Government on the Suwannee River, and lo draw upon th3 “Tallahassee Fund” for their compensation. The land whence this fund was obtained, was granted by Congress " for the erection of public buildings at the Seat of Government.” To make this fund applicable to the seek
out some other and new place with a view to locate the Seat of Government, is evidently not within the intent and meaning of the grant by Congress. It seemed to be an application of the fund to a purpose different from what was intended, and hence the commissioners were not appointed.
JOHN H. EATON: Which on motion of Mr. Blount, being read, was on motion of Mr. Wood, laid on the table, and 800 printed. copies ordered.
Mr. Blount presented the petition of John L. McKinnon, contesting Henry G. Ramsay's seat in the Legislative Council - which, on his motion, was read, and with the accompanying documents, referred to a select committee-Messrs. Blount, Morton, Hawkins, Wood, and Johnson, were appointed the committee. Mr. President laid before the House, sundry papers in relation to the same subject, which were also referred to the same com. mittee.
On motion of Mr. Blount, the House then adjourned until to-morrow at 12 o'clock.
Thursday, January 7. The House met pursuant to adjournment, a quorum